# What Happened To MH17?: As the UN Security Council unanimously calls for a "full, thorough, and independent international investigation" into the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 with 298 people on board over Ukraine, audio recordings have emerged of purported conversations between militants in eastern Ukraine that Kyiv believes proves they received powerful Buk-M antiaircraft weapons and the crews to man them from Russia. This follows a social media boast immediately following MH17's crash (since removed, but a screenshot remains) of a separatist leader claiming that insurgents had shot down an aircraft. Amid allegations on both sides, a look at what the evidence suggests so far. Meanwhile, the vast majority of Russians continue to get their news about the world from Russian state television, so what did they see in the reports and what do they think about MH17? And, in an exclusive interview with Radio Svoboda, Gennadi Kernes, Kharkiv's mayor who is recovering from an April 28 assassination attempt, said his city is preparing to accommodate 400 relatives of the victims (note: In Ukrainian).
# Pulled Apart, Coming Together: Ukraine's pro-Russia separatists say they won't give up their stronghold of Donetsk, and they are digging in for a battle. (Related: A firsthand account of what it's like to be a separatist fighter in Ukraine.) Nadiya Savchenko, the Ukrainian military pilot held by Russia and accused in the deaths of two journalists, is reported to be in good health. But family members and Ukrainian officials continue to be denied access to her holding cell in Voronezh, a fact that some observers worry is just the start of a Russian pressure campaign. And despite the violence around them, some still find love on the barricades.
# Crackdowns On And In Russia: The United States has unveiled a major, third wave of sanctions on Russia and the EU announced that it would also strengthen its sanctions against Moscow. What effect will the new round of sanctions have, and will the EU be able to better manage this crisis the 2008 conflict between Russia and Georgia? (And will it be resolved before Russia hosts the next FIFA World Cup in 2018?) Comparing Vladimir Putin to Slobodan Milosevic is all the rage these days, but what does the Milosevic experience really show us about Putin's Russia? Finally, just like fellow Russian activists Aleksei Navalny and Sergei Udaltsov, former student Aleksandra Dukhanina has spent time under house arrest and talks with Radio Svoboda about her experience.
# Dialing Up Corruption In Azerbaijan: RFE/RL and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project have connected the dots between Azerbaijan's ruling family, specifically the two daughters of President Ilham Aliyev, and the country’s mobile phone companies, raising questions about monopolization.
# Feeling Lucky, Uzbekistan?: Better have your lucky charms ready if you want to do banking in Uzbekistan, where people are being forced to buy lottery tickets in order to collect much-needed remittance money sent by relatives working in Russia.