The Day The Soviets Blockaded Berlin
Seventy years ago, on June 24, 1948, amid a currency dispute with the Western Allies, the Soviet Union cut off road, rail, and water access to Berlin's Western sector, setting in motion a massive response by the West that would become known as the Berlin Airlift.
Red Army Choir Plays To Thousands In Belgrade
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic received members of the Russian military's famed Aleksandrov song-and-dance ensemble, also known as the Red Army Choir, on June 23 in Belgrade.
Moldovans Protest Annulment Of Mayoral Vote
Moldova's Supreme Court has upheld a decision to invalidate mayoral election results in Chisinau that had shown a victory for a pro-Western candidate. Thousands of people have protested the ruling, chanting “Revolution” in the city’s center.
Russian Billionaire’s Firm Moves To Dismiss U.S. Election Meddling Case
Concord Management, a firm that prosecutors say is controlled by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman close to Russian President Vladimir Putin who is accused of helping fund an influence campaign targeting the 2016 U.S. presidential election, has asked a U.S. judge to dismiss the case brought against it by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
U.S. Needs To ‘Up Its Game’ In Arctic Amid Russian, Chinese Development
As Russia embarks upon its biggest military push in the Arctic since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union, the United States needs to "up its game," the U.S. defense secretary has said.
Moscow Court Extends Navalny's Suspended Sentence
A Moscow court has extended by one year, until July 8, 2019, the five-year suspended prison sentence given to opposition leader Aleksei Navalny on an embezzlement conviction in the so-called Kirovles case.
Kadyrov Loyalist Appointed As Putin Climate Adviser
Ruslan Edelgeriev, Chechnya’s prime minister and a Ramzan Kadyrov loyalist, has been named Russian President Vladimir Putin’s advisor on climate issues. In his previous post, Edelgeriev was responsible primarily for managing the region’s investments. Some observers say the appointment is a concession by Putin to Kadyrov. (in Russian, Caucasus Realities website)
Deadly Attack Escalates Violence Against Ukrainian Roma
There were at least 10 attackers with knives, hammers, and other makeshift weapons. They struck under the cover of darkness, just before midnight on June 23, swinging their weapons and shouting obscenities, and jolting the 14 Romany campers -- including four children -- from their sleep.
Why Ukraine Surrendered Its Nuclear Weapons
Ukraine relinquished its sizeable nuclear arsenal in exchange for security guarantees under the Budapest Memorandum in 1994, but some observers question whether retaining the weapons might have helped deter Russia from its aggression on Ukrainian territory. The original decision was based on five main considerations: control of the weapons and all the keys were in Moscow; the weapons were in poor condition; maintenance was costly; the stocks included long-range strategic missiles but no tactical weapons that could be deployed against neighboring states; and retaining the arsenal could bring diplomatic isolation. (Ukrainian Service)
UN Rights Envoy Laments Lack Of Change In 'Kafkaesque' Belarus
Belarusians continue to live under severe restrictions on freedom of assembly and other rights after nearly a quarter-century under President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, UN special rapporteur Miklos Haraszti has told RFE/RL.
Azerbaijan's Supreme Court Upholds Anticorruption Blogger's Sentence
Azerbaijan's Supreme Court has upheld the two-year prison sentence handed down to anticorruption blogger Mehman Huseynov on a libel conviction last year. Huseynov refused to take part in the June 25 hearing in Baku in protest.
Aliyev Wants Peaceful Resolution on Karabakh, But ‘War Not Over’
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev talked tough at a military parade on June 26, calling the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region "primordially Azerbaijani territory" and saying Baku will never accept its "occupation."
EU Official Warns Against Delaying Membership Talks With Albania, Macedonia
A top European Union official urged the bloc to give a green light to the start of membership talks with Macedonia and Albania later this week, stressing the importance of giving a "positive signal" to the whole Western Balkan region.
Karimova Lawyer Says She’s Open To ‘Concessions’
Gregoire Mangeat, the lawyer for Gulnara Karimova, the elder daughter of the late Uzbek President Islam Karimov, has spoken about his first meeting with Karimova in over a year. He shed light on her current state of health, and discussed developments in a Swiss money-laundering investigation into her business dealings that led to the seizure of more than $700 million that could soon be repatriated to the Uzbek state.
Speculation On Kazakh Elections 2020 Heats Up
Speculation has begun on Kazakhstan’s presidential elections planned for 2020. Chairman of the Senate Kassym-Jomart Tokayev told media last week President Nursultan Nazarbayev is unlikely to run. Some experts say that a change in his status from president to head of the Security Council would allow him to leave office formally while continuing to rule the country. (in Russian, Kazakh Service)
HRW Urges German Tech Firm To Disclose Dealings With Turkmenistan
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on a German technology company to publicly disclose whether it is considering sales to Turkmenistan, and how it is addressing the possibility that its technology will be used by the Turkmen government to block websites and carry out surveillance in violation of human rights.
INFOGRAPHIC: 'He Just Kept Digging' The Ultimate Man Cave
His wife wanted a potato pit. But once this Armenian villager started digging, he just couldn’t stop.