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Chronology - 30 October 2015
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Events behind shifts in national and international policy in Russia and Eurasia.
29 Oct. In Kyrgyzstan, four parties out of the six represented in parliament form a majority coalition of 80 in the 120-seat parliament. / In a parliament guarded by hundreds heavy armed policemen, 65 Moldovan deputies out of 101, from the opposition Socialist and Communist parties as well as the ruling Democratic Party, vote to dismiss the government of Prime Minister Valeriu Strelet elected on 30 July 2015; 18 deputies vote against. / Russian investigators open a criminal case against the head of the Library of Ukrainian Literature in Moscow on suspicion of inciting ethnic hatred; an ‘absolute nonsense’ according to her deputy. / President Vladimir Putin signs a decree setting up "The Russian Schoolchildren's Movement", a public-state organisation to bring up the oncoming generation on the basis of ‘the system of values inherent in Russian society’. / Unprecedented security measures are taken in Samarkand as US Secretary of State John Kerry starts, in Uzbekistan, his first-ever visit to the five Central Asian countries, on 29 October- 3 November.

28 Oct. Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei says that the establishment of a Russian Air Force base in a country with so many air bases already would not relieve military and political tensions in the region - even if the Russian authorities believe it will. / Moldova’s President Nicolae Timofti signs a decree subordinating to parliament the National Anti-corruption Centre controlled until recently by the government. / Moldova and Ukraine agree to exercise joint control over the movement of citizens and transport on the Transdniestr stretch of their border. / The Russian Defence Ministry launches a probe into the first death of a serviceman in Syria, a technical specialist under contract, who committed suicide at the Humaymim air base. / Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Riabkov sees the 'US judicial machine’s initiatives’ behind some international lawsuits opened against Russia; these actions are ‘a new direction for projecting American might’.

27 Oct. In Milan, Georgian Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze holds another meeting with Gazprom representatives to discuss the extension of existing contracts on the transit of Russian gas via Georgia and commercial supplies to the country. / Russian presidential spokesman Dmitri Peskov complains of a ‘shortage of co-operation with our colleagues’ over identifying moderate forces in Syria. / Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov says that the Russian Reserve Fund will be exhausted by the end of 2016, and that the state budget will then need to be adapted to a new economic reality. / Odessa governor Mikheil Saakashvili denounces the rigging of a mayoral election in Odessa which resulted in the victory of incumbent Henadi Trukhanov with 52.9% of the votes in the first tour.

26 Oct. Parliament Speaker Oqtai Asadov says that Azerbaijan is under western pressure, as it did not join in anti-Russian sanctions, another demonstration that many do not like the independent policy of president Ilham Aliev. / Belarus Defence Minister Andre Ravkov praises the Russian air campaign in Syria for 'doing more in three weeks than the Americans’, who ‘having their own interests there’, have achieved in a year. / On an official visit to Qatar, Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbaev speaks of the potential for boosting cooperation in view of the diversification of the two countries' economies. / Saudi king Salman Al Sa’ud phones Russian president Vladimir Putin to discuss bilateral ties, regional issues and world development. / The Russian foreign ministry signs an Agreement on Co-operation with Rosneft, such as it has made with other organisations; foreign minister Sergei Lavrov describes the deal as recognition that the ‘intertwining of business, underhand dealings and actual public interests requires greater coordination between state entities, executive authorities and businesses’.

25 Oct. Moldovan Our Party opposition leader Renato Usatii, detained for 72 hours on charges of illegal surveillance and disclosure of telephone conversations of former prime minister Vlad Filat (himself under arrest for corruption) urges thousands of supporters gathered outside the court to continue protests. / Ukrainians go to the polls for a total of 20,000 elections of mayors and local councils. / Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov and visiting Japanese Prime Minister Abe sign agreements on joint investment projects worth more than $8.5bn. Nearly $5bn are Japan's contribution.

24 Oct. A Russian parliamentary delegation discusses with Syrian Prime Minister Nadir al-Halqi the possibility of establishing a unified coordination centre for cooperation with Russia for rebuilding the Syrian economy and infrastructures. / Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that Jordan and Russia have agreed to coordinate their military actions on Syria by setting up a ‘special working mechanism’ in Amman.

23 Oct. Presidential press secretary Dmitri Peskov says that deciding which opposition forces in Syria Russia may help is not something it can take alone as it requires‘an exchange of opinion with the legitimate government and extensive consultations with other countries of the region’. He says Russia is ready for contact with ‘all forces which are not terrorists’ in order to resolve the crisis. / As former Yukos company shareholders multiply moves to freeze Russian assets abroad, the Duma passes a bill that would restrict immunity of foreign countries on Russia's territory to court action over the ‘unlawful seizure’ of property abroad. / At talks in Vienna on a Syrian settlement, US, Russia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia disagree on the future of president Assad but decide to continue talks; they support a Russian initiative to convene a meeting of the Middle East quartet of international mediators on a Middle Eastern settlement.

22 Oct. Visiting Dagestan, President Ilham Aliev says that Azerbaijan's relations with Russia guarantees stability in the region. / The head of the Board of Muslims of the Caucasus, Azerbaijani cleric Sheikh Pasazade voices support for Russia's military actions in Syria against ISIS whose actions ‘discredit the name of Islam by trying to link it with terrorism’; Russia's supreme mufti Talgat Tajuddin condemns the USA and the West for its ‘assistance’ to ISIS and criticises the appeal by 50 Saudi clerics for jihad against Russia. / Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov calls for Iran, Egypt, Jordan, the UAE and Qatar to be included in talks on Syria. / Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova salutes as a positive gesture the action of former US president Jimmy Carter in giving the Russian embassy in Washington maps showing the location of ISIS militants groups, even if the material has already appeared on the website of the Carter Centre.

21 Oct. Syrian president Bashar al-Asad pays a working visit to Moscow, where he hold talks with President Putin. / Russian Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov opens an Arctic emergency and rescue centre in Murmansk, ‘to ensure the safety of vital activities of the polar regions' population and of all the Russian and foreign companies that will work, invest and develop production there. / The Russian defence ministry says it intercepted the start of negotiations between ISIS and the commanders of several large terrorist groups belonging to Al-Nusrah about uniting forces against Syrian army operations. / By telephone, Russian president Vladimir Putin briefs Turkish president Erdogan, Saudi King Salman, President al-Sisi of Egypt, and King Hussein of Jordan on his talks with Syria’s president Assad.

20 Oct. Presidential spokesman Dmitri Peskov says that Russia will continue coordination and an exchange of information with Iraq to fight terrorism. / The Russian defence minister hails the signature with the US of an air safety memorandum regulating the actions of aircraft and drones in Syrian airspace. / The Russian defence minister denies a Reuters report quoting ‘Syrian pro-government sources’ to the effect that three Russians fighting alongside government troops have been killed, and several more wounded, in the province of Latakia. / Ukraine’s Central Electoral Commission invalidates some 900,000 ballot papers printed in the Transcarpathian Region.

19 Oct. The speaker of Russia’s Federation Council, Valentina Matvienko, tells PACE chairwoman Anne Brasseur that Russia will resume work in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe only after its powers are fully restored. / The British law firm representing former Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych confirms he is suing Ukraine in the European Court of Human Rights over ‘regular violations of his human rights’. / A poll by the sociological group ‘Rating’ indicates that 53% of Ukrainians are ready to take part in protests in the event of a significant deterioration of living conditions in the country, and that 28% believe it is worth to experiences financial difficulties in order to preserve order in the country. (Both figures match those of December 2013); during the same period, support for the dissolution of parliament and fresh election has increased from 34% to 47%, while that for new presidential election has grown from 31% to 43%.

18 Oct. Dozens of Syrian Armenians stage a rally outside the Russian embassy in Yerevan to express their gratitude for Moscow's military involvement in Syria. (Syria hosted over 60,000 ethnic Armenians before the conflict. About 15,000 have applied for asylum in Armenia and have been granted citizenship). / A Chisinau district court prolonged the detention of former Moldovan prime minister Vlad Filat for 30 days at the request of prosecutors. / Two more Russian warships pass through the Turkish straits heading for the Syrian port of Tartus. / The Russian defence ministry says that, due to mass desertion under Russia’s bombing, ISIS and Al-Nusrah are drafting local residents over the age 14, under threat of killing their families, in the provinces of Raqqa, Idlib and Hama. / The Ukrainian interior ministry announces the detention of the captain of the boat which sank in the Odessa region with 36 on board, when it was licensed to carry only 12. Fourteen people died and 8 are missing.

17 Oct. Addressing a forum on security in China, Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoli Antonov says that ISIS may use the territory of Afghanistan to penetrate countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and China. / Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Maj-Gen Igor Konashenkov says that locals in ISIS controlled areas are helping Russian air forces by passing on intelligence which is then double-checked. / Foreign fighters participating in the ‘anti-terrorist operation’ in Donbass picket the presidential administration in Kiev asking to be granted Ukrainian citizenship; the majority of the thousand men engaged there are Russians or Belarusians who say they fear persecution home.

16 Oct. Azerbaijan's consul-general in Istanbul confirms that a national is among the suspects in the 10 October Ankara’s terrorist attack. / In Kazakhstan, the CIS heads of state sign 16 documents, including a declaration on fighting international terrorism and a blue print for military cooperation between the organisation's member states till 2020. They want the UN Security Council to be more representative / Pakistan and Russia sign an agreement for the construction of a gas pipeline from Lahore to Karachi. / Prime minister Dmitri Medvedev says that the government is struggling with reformatting of Russia's economy from raw-material to innovative; he qualifies the US refusal to hold talks with a Russian delegation on Syria ‘foolish behaviour’ because strong heads of state do not refuse talks even if they hold a different position. / The Syrian ambassador to Russia Riyad Haddad says that Damascus welcomes Russia's decision to set up a single military base in Syria with naval, air and ground elements to fight ISIS.

15 Oct. Belarus foreign ministry says that Belarus hopes that the EU will fully abolish its sanctions as soon as possible as they proved their inefficiency and futility. / In his address to the international conference "Russia and Turkey: Strengthening multidimensional partnership”, Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov says that Russia is ready to cooperate with Ankara in the fight against terrorism. / Russia and Kazakhstan presidents Vladimir Putin and Nursultan Nazarbaev sign four pacts, including joint drilling in the Caspian Sea. / The Russian ministry of defence announces that Russian and Israeli military pilots have started training to ensure flight safety over Syria. / Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk accuses the ministry of energy of jeopardising an EBRD $300m loan to the national joint-stock company Naftohaz Ukrainy. / In his address to the nation, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko describes the election of his country a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council as a sign of ‘deep international solidarity with Ukraine’ as it undergoes an ‘external aggression from a permanent member of the UN Security Council’.

14 Oct. At a reception marking the Islamic New Year, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov greet the ambassadors of the member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, representatives of major Russian religions, scholars, and all those who make a noticeable contribution to promoting relations between Russia and Muslim countries; he speaks of the mutual needs ‘to reject attempts to portray lawless extremists as part of a religious battle, no matter if that battle is between Islam and other religions, or within Islam itself’. / Addressing the Duma, foreign minister Sergei Lavrov says that Russia is prepared to resume relations with the EU and USA after they drift away of the policy of ultimatums and sanctions; that Russia is ‘keeping track of the Democratic Forces of Syria and calls the West to help Moscow to establish contact with these formations as it can cooperate with them if they reject terrorism; Russia sees good prospect for integration of the Eurasian Economic Union with China's Belt and Road initiative,via its cooperation with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Shanghai.

13 Oct. The Russian diplomatic mission says that two shells hit the embassy in Syria with no casualties. / Eduard Basurin, the deputy defence minister of the Donetsk People's Republic repeats once again that east Ukrainian insurgents did not have access to a Buk missile system at the time when Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down. / During talks in Moscow with the UN special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that ‘there cannot be a military solution to the conflict in Syria’, but that fighting terrorism is something different; it is a fight that ‘should not be limited by any conditions’; he is concerned by ‘attempts made by a number of its partners to delay the creation of a united front to fight terrorism in Syria’. / Russian president Vladimir Putin says that US air strikes on an electric power plant in Aleppo are ‘incomprehensible’. / Russian presidential spokesman Dmitri Peskov says that the report of the Western investigation onto the shooting-down of the Malaysian airliner over Ukraine cannot be objective because Russian specialists have not been involved.

12 Oct. OSCE observers declare that Belarus presidential election was still a long way from democratic practices. / The FSB announces that people detained in a Moscow flat on suspicion of preparing a terrorist action on the city’s public transport system had been trained at ISIS camps and arrived in Russia long before the start of the operation in Syria. / A poll by the Levada Centre shows that 77% of Russians believe their country is in an economic crisis; 23% think the crisis will last a year or a year and a half, 24% that it will continue for no less than two years; 23% that its consequences will be felt over many years; 34% that the crisis was caused by external factors such as falling oil prices and the global downturn and 26% by internal problems; and 57% that the government is doing a poor job fighting the crisis.

11 Oct. Belarus President Alexandr Lukashenko is re-elected for a fifth term with 83.6% of the vote; hundreds of protesters march in central Minsk to denounce the ‘falsification that allowed “the tyran” to stick to power’. / Former Finance Minister, and head of the Civic Initiatives Committee, Alexei Kudrin says that Russia's government should decrease subsidies to state companies in the next three years. / In a long TV interview, President Putin says that Russia pursues a peaceful foreign policy, it does not need anyone else's territory or resources because it has all in abundance’; Russia has no intention to recreate the Soviet Union but will protect its own sovereignty and independence. / After meeting Saudi defence minister, Prince Muhammad Al Sa'ud, President Vladimir Putin says that Russia and Saudi Arabia ‘understand each other much better on Syria after an exchange of views. / Russian political exiles in Ukraine hold the founding congress in Kiev of their ‘Russian Centre’; some members are fighting alongside the Ukrainian Volunteer Corps against the rebels; they want to form a Russian revolutionary movement to ‘liberate their country’.

10 Oct. Russian president Putin chairs a Security Council meeting, essentially to discuss operations in Syria and the global fight against terrorism. / Representatives of the Russian and US military authorities hold a second video conference on flight safety over Syria. / Ukrainian MP Serhiy Kivalov withdraws his candidacy from the 25 October local elections and for the post of mayor of Odessa after a grenade is thrown at his house; he says ‘human lives are not worth an election’.

9 Oct. In an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro, Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbaev calls on the EU to lift sanctions against Russia as they hit mostly people who have nothing to do with the conflict in Ukraine and are politically ineffective; he says that the destruction of Syria’s state power is unacceptable and dangerous, witness the fact that ‘the bulk of the military wing of ISIS is made up of remnants of Saddam Hussein's army after the destruction of the Iraq’s state’. / Russian presidential spokesman Dmitri Peskov says that the operation in Syria will continue as long as the Syrian armed forces carry out their offensive. / In Astana, visiting Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko and president of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbaev sign a ‘road map’ agreement; it includes projects for Ukraine to buy Kazakhstan uranium and energy, despite ‘the complication over transport’ (by rail, via Azerbaijan and Georgia, and then by sea), and for Kazakhstan to buy privatised assets in Ukraine, especially in the energy field.

8 Oct. The Russian Defence Ministry announces it has reinforced its military base in Tajikistan with Mi-24P ‘Crocodile’ helicopters and Mi-8MTV combat-transport helicopters. / A poll published by the Levada Centre indicates that Russians are indecisive, and sometimes contradictory, about the campaign in Syria. 46% think it will likely turn into a new Afghanistan; 46% support parliament’s decision to allow Russian troop to fight abroad; 46% say Russia should support president Asad against ISIS; 49% believe that Russia, Asad and the West could find common ground to settle the Syrian crisis; 72% feel ‘positive about strikes’ against ISIS; and 14% ‘react with indignation’. / TV presenter and director general of Rossia Sevodnia, Dmitri Kiselev says that ‘the Russian media's goal is to offer an alternative to the view of the US mainstream’. / Specialists of the Concern Almaz-Antei, manufacturer of the BUK air defence missile involved in the downing of the Malaysian airliner publishes a report saying that the plane was shot down by a missile launched from Ukrainian-controlled territory. / The Russian president's special representative for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, says that the number of ISIS militants in Afghanistan has increased to 3,500 within a year.

7 Oct. Belarus President Alexandr Lukashenko stresses the importance for him to defeat his rivals in the ongoing presidential election by a wide margin (he got more than 80% of the vote in 1994 on the second round; 75.7% in 2001, 83% in 2006 and 79.6% in the 2010 all in the first round). / Presidential press secretary Dmitri Peskov says that Russia is ready to coordinate operations with other countries in Syria and to hold consultations through military channels, including Turkey; he adds that a mechanism for coordination between the military authorities was reached at a recent meeting between Vladimir Putin and Binyamin Netanyahu. / Russian TV channels show footage of cruise missiles launched from ships in the Caspian Sea hitting targets in Syria. / The Russian Investigations Committee launches a criminal case of support for terrorism against Ukrainian MP and adviser to Syrian Interior minister Anton Herashchenko, who urged social network users to disclose personal data of Russian military personnel in Syria.

6 Oct. / The Russian presidential spokesman Dmitri Peskov says that Russia will not support volunteers who may travel to Syria to fight alongside the forces of President Bashar Al-Asad. He says that the Kremlin salutes as ‘another example of a flexible and constructive approach towards the implementation of Minsk Agreements’ the postponement of elections in the Donestsk and Luhansk ‘Republics’. / Gazprom announces it will halve the capacity of the gas pipeline Turkish Stream, with the fall of gas supplies to Europe compensated by doubling the throughput of North Stream. / The Russian Foreign Ministry says that Moscow cannot join the US-led coalition in Syria because it is ‘illegitimate’, not being backed by UN nor having the endorsement of the Syrian authorities.

5 Oct. The Russian defence ministry blames the bad weather for ‘a few seconds’ violation of the Turkish Republic's airspace by a Russian military aircraft and says that necessary measures have been taken to prevent similar incidents in the future. / Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that the possibility of deferring the deadline for implementing the Minsk agreements on east Ukraine is a secondary matter; the most important thing is what the parties have signed on or implemented. He says that Russia has not received official requests from Iraq for air strikes on its territory. / The deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, Kostyantyn Yeliseev, says that during the meeting of the ‘Normandy four’ in Paris, Kiev refused Russia's demands that it pass laws on amending the constitution to include a special status for Donbass, amnestying militants and holding local elections. / The Sherkhan Bandar checkpoint at the Tajik-Afghan borders, which has been closed following the Taleban attack on Kunduz, is blocked by 500 trucks carrying goods and essential foodstuffs from Pakistan to Tajikistan.

4 Oct. First results of Kyrgyzstan parliamentary elections show that six parties will get seats in the new assembly; the pro-presidential Social Democratic Party comes first with 27,45% of the votes; real opposition votes are less than 10%. / Special police forces prevent a group of 300 protesters from the opposition pro-European Dignity and Truth Civic Platform from entering the Moldovan parliament to hand the deputies a petition demanding the government’s resignation. / Russian deputy foreign minister Igor Morgulov says that Russia will not recognise North Korea as a nuclear power, and insists that it will continue efforts to resuscitate six-party talks on ending North Korea's nuclear ambitions. (He is the Russian top envoy to the talks). / Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko describes Vladimir Putin as a ‘sponsor of terrorism’ who, having failed to create a Novorossia in eastern Ukraine, is now attempting to create a Novosyria.

3 Oct. The Russian foreign ministry says there is ‘still an ongoing war’ against World War II Soviet soldiers' graves in Poland, after an incident at the Szczecin cemetery, where over 3,000 Red Army soldiers are buried. / Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev says that Russia's air strikes against targets in Syria are intended to protect Russians from the threat of terrorism ‘because it is better to do that abroad than to fight terrorism inside the country’. / The Secretary-General of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, Nikolai Bordiuzha, accuses the Western media of siding with ISIS in an information attack against Russia to discredit its action in Syria. / Russian president Vladimir Putin congratulates Germany on Unity Day, recalling that German reunification put an end to the Cold War, and appealing for the maintenance of its cooperation with Moscow. / The head of Rosneft , Igor Sechin, appeals to the Russian government to undertake a domestic and foreign borrowing programme in order to cover the 2016 budget deficit, rather than increasing taxes on oil companies. / President Putin's spokesman dismisses criticism of Russian air strikes in Syria, saying that ‘no one has managed to explain to Russia what is meant by the term ‘moderate opposition’ in that country. / The OSCE observes a start of the withdrawal of sub-100-mm calibre weapons from the contact line in the Donbass by both separatists and Ukrainian forces. / Criminal procedures are launched against 23 members of the recently banned Islamic Rebirth Party of Tajikistan.

2 Oct. In New York, Moldovan Prime Minister Valeriu Strelet discusses an action plan for reforms and ways to solve the country’s political crisis with US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland; rallies have been held since September by pro-European and Pro-Russian opposition parties, both demanding the removal of oligarchs from power, the dismissal of the president, a snap parliamentary election by March 2016 and the return of about $1bn illegally withdrawn from banks. / The Head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, appeals to Putin, ‘as a Muslim, a Chechen and a Russian’, for Chechen troops to be sent to Syria to fight against Islamic State. / Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev warns that the government faces a difficult task in putting together a ‘very tough’ budget and says that Russia will return to the practice of 3-year budgets / In Paris, Russian president Putin holds talks behind closed doors with France’s president Hollande; both leaders also participate in ‘Normandy-Four’ talks on the Minsk agreements with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko; the four leaders agree to postpone local elections in areas under rebel control.

1 Oct. The Russian defence ministry announces that the Russian Air force has carried out strikes against 4 Islamic State facilities in Syria, notably near Idlib and Hama; he says ‘there were no plans for Russian armed units to take part in ground operations on Syrian territory’. / At a session of the presidential human rights council, President Vladimir Putin calls on businessmen and entrepreneurs to help the development of civil society by giving support to Russian non-commercial organisations, including for the human rights. / Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov says that Russia does not consider the free Syrian army a terrorist organisation; he believes it should be part of a political settlement. He also says that Russia is giving weapons to Kurds who oppose Islamic State, through the Iraqi government; and that Kurds are represented in the newly created information centre in Baghdad, together with Russia, Iraq, Iran and Syria. / Russian commentators and deputies qualify Western media reports of civilian casualties caused by Russian strikes as ‘just another element of an information war’ against Russia.

30 Sep. Unanimously, the Russian Council of Federation supports the motion submitted by president Putin on sending a military contingent to Syria ‘following a request from Syrian President Bashar al-Asad for military assistance in its fight against ISIS terrorists’; this concern only the Air Force. / The Russian Orthodox Church and the Supreme Mufti voice support for the Kremlin's decision to authorise air strikes to resolve the crisis in Syria ‘which turns out to be a problem for the whole world. For the Muslim leadership, the ‘so-called Islamic State … aims to discredit both Islam and Muslims’.

29 Sep. Russia's Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Supervision (Rosselkhoznadzor) temporarily restricts deliveries of Polish fish products because its inspectors were refused full access to enterprises. / Russian presidential press secretary Dmitri Peskov says that ‘unfortunately’ US military experts rejected an invitation to participate in the activities of a Baghdad-based joint information centre set up by Russia, Iran, Iraq and Syria to coordinate efforts against ISIS. / Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vitali Churkin, says that Moscow does not support the initiative proposed by US President Barack Obama for an anti-terrorist summit because it ‘draws a blanket over the activities of the UN and take on functions of the United Nations’; a single Russian diplomat will attend the summit ‘to monitor the event’. / Tajikistan’s Supreme Court follows a request by the Prosecutor’s Office to ban all activities of the Islamic Rebirth Party, which is considered a terrorist organisation involved in recent action by former deputy defence minister Abduhalim Nazarzoda; the party has been the second most influential in Tajikistan, part of a UN-brokered peace agreement ending civil war in 1997, and the only legal Islamic party in Central Asia.

28 Sep. Participants in the Belarusan-American Association protest in front of the UN, where president Lukashenko is due to speak, repeating their call for action to prevent the establishment of a ‘regionally destabilising’ Russian air force base in Belarus. / After a year of preparation, Estonia launches a Russian-language TV channel. Sceptics point to its low budget and being seen as an attempts to counter ‘Russian propaganda’. / In a symmetrical answer to a Ukrainian decision, Russia bars Ukrainian airlines from its airspace from 25 October. / Russian president Vladimir Putin addresses the 70th session of the UN General Assembly. In his speech he calls the UN body ‘unique in terms of legitimacy, representation and universality’, from which nobody at the moment of its creation expected unanimity. He says Russia is ready to work with its partners to help the UN to ‘undergo a natural transformation’ on the basis of a broad consensus; but also that ‘any attempt to undermine its legitimacy is extremely dangerous’. He urges cooperation with the Asad government and the Kurdish militia since they are the only forces really fighting ISIS terrorists. He deplores that ‘some of our counterparts are still dominated by their Cold War-era bloc mentality and the ambition to conquer new geopolitical areas’. This is preventing the creation of a ‘space of peace’ in Europe and Eurasia, including the possibility of economic cooperation. / He says his meeting with president Obama was ‘very useful’ and ‘very sincere’.

27 Sep. The Russian Foreign Ministry rejects the claim of the French prime minister that French air strikes in Syrian were an act of self-defence; Moscow sees them as a ‘violation of a country's sovereignty and international law’. / The majority party United Russia concedes victory of the communist candidate for the governorate of Irkutsk Region, with more than a 15% lead. / In New York, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov agrees with the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States Nabil al-Arabi that the Syrian situation requires an increase of collective efforts toward a political-diplomatic settlement. / Criminal procedures are opened after an explosion hits the directorate office of the Security Service of Ukraine in central Odessa.

26 Sep. Russia and Estonia swap officers convicted of espionage on a bridge across the Piusa River in Pskov Region.

25 Sep. Transdniestr president Yevgeni Shevchuk says that the Moldova-EU trade deal puts extra pressure on the region’s companies because they will have to pay full customs levies, making goods more expensive and less competitive. / Ukrainian prime minister Arseni Yatseniuk announces that the government has decided to ban Russian airlines from flying over Ukraine.

24 Sep. The Belarus foreign ministry says that the government hopes the EU will lift ‘unacceptable’ sanctions soon, paving the way for the normalisation of relations between Minsk and Brussels; due to expire on the end of October / In bilateral talks in Tokyo, Russian and Japanese security chiefs Nikolai Patrushev and Shotaro Yachi voice ‘concern’ over US plans to deploy nuclear weapons abroad, including in Europe. / Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova regret that Western interests disappeared as soon as British journalists were put off Kiev’ sanctions lists and asks them to show solidarity with their Russian colleagues who remain on the list. / Russian warships head for firing drills in eastern Mediterranean. / By decree, Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev sets the gas price for Ukraine for the rest of 2015 at $252 per 1,000 cu.m, the same price as for EU countries neighbouring Ukraine, but with a $20 discount. Gazprom will suspend the take-or-pay clause from 1 October 2015 to 31 March 2016, but maintains all its other rights regarding the contract. / Ukraine says that one of the country’s priorities at the UN General Assembly will be its election as non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2016-2017.

23 Sep. At a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin says he is ‘extremely pleased’ with the state of their countries’ bilateral relations, and hopes for diversification of their economic partnership ‘despite a certain decline, caused by a number of objective circumstances’. / The Ukrainian government introduces a new procedure to allow foreign journalists and activists to enter Crimea with a special permit. Which up to now was regarded by Kiev as an illegal form of entry to the peninsula.

22 Sep. The presidential spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, says that the setting up by Russia and Israel of a coordination mechanism in Syria is not related to the presence of Russian personnel there but is due to the worsening of the situation in the country; he refuses to comment on Western reports that Russia is planning to deploy 2,000 servicemen near the Syrian port city of Latakia. / At a joint briefing with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Kiev, Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk says that at the forthcoming NATO summit in Warsaw, Ukraine expects to see ‘specific decisions’ in line with the Bucharest summit decision of 2008 regarding its future in NATO; he expresses confidence that Ukraine would restore its territorial integrity with NATO's help.

21 Sep..At a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin says he is convinced that Syrian army’s shape excludes the opening of a second front against Israel; but he does understand Israel’s concern. / Russia and Japan restore direct contact at a meeting in Moscow of their foreign ministers, Sergei Lavrov and Fumio Kishida; Lavrov says that the question of the northern territories ‘are not a subject of our dialogue’; that a peace treaty depends on Japan accepting ‘post-war political realities’; and that president Putin has accepted an invitation to visit Japan. / The Ukrainian general staff says that 1,915 servicemen have been killed since the start of the ‘antiterrorist operation’, 1,757 in combat; 7,053 have been injured and 271 are counted missing. / Ukrainian activists stage a ‘warning blockade’ on Transdniestria ‘in support of the Crimean Tatars who are blocking the border with Crimea.

20 Sep. South Ossetia holds a military parade to mark the 25th anniversary of its secession from Georgia, attended by delegations from Abkhazia , the Luhansk and Donetsk people's republics, the Nagorny Karabakh region and some Russian officials. / Several thousand people attend an opposition rally in the south-east Moscow suburb of Maryino addressed by anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny and opposition leader Ilia Yashin. The speakers tell them to ‘resist and not emigrate’. / Tailbacks of lorries form at three checkpoints at the border between Ukraine and Crimea as some hundreds of Crimean Tatar activists led by Ukrainian parliamentary deputy Refat Chubarov start a food blockade of the peninsula to bring about its ‘de-occupation’ and the restoration of Ukrainian territorial integrity.

19 Sep. Belarus president Alexandr Lukashenko says it is time to stop speculation that Belarus is turning away from Russia in favour of the West.

18 Sep. The Armenian government announces it will pay over $2m in subsidies to cover the increase in electricity prices, which this summer caused large-scale protests in Yerevan. / Azerbaijan parliament vice-speaker Bagar Muradova explains that her country’s delegation did not attend the autumn session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Mongolia because of the OSCE’s refusal to monitor Azerbaijan parliamentary elections, due on 1 November. / Russian’chief mufti Ravil Gainutdin declares the support of Russian Muslims for the government’s efforts ‘to stabilise the climate in Syria and to counter terrorism’, at a meeting with the Syrian envoy to Moscow. / The head of Rosatom, Sergei Kirienko, says that the portfolio of orders for the Russian state company’s nuclear corporation exceeds $300bn, a five-fold increase over recent years. / Meeting president Vladimir Putin, the chairman of the Russian Federation of Independent Trade Unions Mikhail Shmakov expresses concern over suggestions by the Finance Ministry that the coming year’s state budget plan should include an increase in the retirement age and an reduction of pensions to half the inflation rate. / During a telephone conversation, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter agree to co-ordinate efforts to counter international terrorism. / Ukrainian Trade and Economic Development Minister Aivaras Abromavicius announces a one-year postponement of large-scale privatisation plans. / A deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, Kostyantyn Yeliseev, says that president Poroshenko will discuss ‘hybrid wars’ at the forthcoming UN assembly session, and will proposes a restriction of the right of veto at the Security Council.

17 Sep. The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, downplays the impact of Ukrainian president Poroshenko’s 16 September decree extending sanctions on Russian companies, saying ‘there is no vacuum, and it is filling up quickly’. The Russian foreign ministry summons the Ukrainian charge d’affaires to protest at the decree. / Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova says that the US should understand that the only way to fight ISIS is in a united front with the participation of the Syrian government; also that Russia is helping the Syrian state against ISIS, which poses a threat to Russia’s security, not to President Assad’s regime. / The Ukrainian parliament approves the restructuring and partial write-off of foreign debts. / The Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council backs president Poroshenko’s proposal to remove European journalists from the government’s sanctions list, ‘given the great public interest in, and strategic importance of, relations with European Union’; it bars Italian ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi from Ukraine for 3 years because of his visit to Crimea to meet president Putin.

16 Sep. The presidents of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan meet ‘informally’ in President Putin’s residence in Sochi to ‘synchronise watches’ on the functioning of the Eurasian Econonomic Union. / Energy Minister Alexandr Novak says that Russia is still opposed to the artificial reduction of global oil production despite regular approaches by producers such as Venezuela, Algeria and Ecuador. / Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennadi Gatilov says that the first task for a Syrian settlement should be the start of a political process, not the destiny of president Asad; he rejects calls for fundamental reforms, or for finding an alternative to the UN, even if it needs a limited reform and an enlargement of the Security Council to reflect the present world. / After meeting the head of Naftohaz Ukrainy, Andriy Koboliev, Russia’s Gazprom CEO, Alexei Miller, says that winter gas supplies to Ukraine will resume from 1 October, ‘in strict compliance with the existing contract’ after a trilateral agreement with EU Commission. / A poll by the Razumkov Centre indicates that 48.3% of Ukrainians think that existing political parties do not represent their interests. Asked about the performance of the ruling Petro Poroshenko Bloc, 24.7% call it negative and 24.3% ‘rather negative’. More than 30% give a ‘rather negative vote’ to the People's Front party of Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk and 28.6% a ‘negative vote.

15 Sep. Inaugurating a new school in Baku, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliev invites youth to be on guard from ‘alien influences’ and ‘so-called Western values’ that the West seeks to impose on them while displaying such immoral attitude towards poor Muslim refugees. / A court in Chechnya starts the trial of two Ukrainians charged with killing 30 soldiers in Grozny during the first week of January 1995; the men were members of the ultra-right Ukrainian organisation UNA-UNSO, banned in Russia as an ‘extremist group’. / The Russian foreign ministry complains about its journalists being barred from Baltic states despite ‘constant lecturing in the EU about freedom of speech’. / At a summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) in Dushanbe, Russian president Vladimir Putin calls for joint efforts with the West to resolve the Syrian problem and says that Russia will continue to supply arms to Damas. / Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko tells members of the government and representatives of parliamentary factions that he has decided against further troop mobilisation as the cease-fire is largely holding in the east.

14 Sep. The Azerbaijan parliament says it sees the hand of the Armenian lobby in a European Parliament resolution criticising Baku’s human rights record; it recommends the government to review its participation in the EU Eastern Partnership. / In Georgia, opposition and majority leaders accuse each other of politicising a protest by farmers in the eastern Kakheti province. The farmers block the main highway to Tbilisi, denouncing the low prices offered by wine-makers to their grapes. Georgian wine exports have fallen by 60% because of the world crisis in international relations, including between Russia and Ukraine. / Russia launches a military exercise, called Tsentr 2015, in the country’s central regions, to assess the combat readiness of CSTO forces.

13 Sep. The European Union extends by six months a visa ban and asset freeze targeting 149 persons and 37 entities associated with of President Putin, plus others involved in events in Crimea or eastern Ukraine. / Protesters in Chisinau, led by the Dignity and Truth Civic Platform, adopt a call for general strike and civil disobedience to back the formation of a ‘government of national confidence’.. / The Russian Central Electoral Commission rejects figures published by NGOs and opposition parties claiming 1,500 breaches of the electoral law during the regional and local elections.

12 Sep. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry condemns the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to ‘the temporarily occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol’ without Kiev approval. / Ukrainian Interior Ministry, Arsen Avakov, says that the latest attempt on his life, by the commander of the Slobozhanshchyna battalion, is the sixth or the seventh against him.

11 Sep. Azerbaijan officials a resolution by the European Parliament calling for sanctions against Azerbaijani individuals responsible of human rights violations; they point that Azerbaijan, not being an EU member, is not bound by a biased ‘piece of paper’ . The Azerbaijan foreign ministry postpones a visit by a EU Commission delegation due to discuss the Azerbaijani-EU strategic partnership. / Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbaev appoints his eldest daughter Dariga a deputy prime-minister. / After talks with EU Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic in Vienna, Russian Energy Minister Alexandr Novak says that Russia and the EU have reached an agreement on conditions for supplying gas to Ukraine during the winter; according to Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller, Ukraine will receive $500m in assistance from the EU to pay the bill.

10 Sep. The Belarusian Central Electoral Commission registers four presidential candidates, including incumbent Alexandr Lukashenko, and opens the electoral campaign. / The Russian president's press secretary, Dmitri Peskov, says that the costs of Middle East refugees should fall, ‘to a greater extent’, on countries whose actions led to the destabilisation of the region. / The political head of Kabarda-Balkaria , Yuri Kokov, announces the arrival there of some 2,000 refugees, most of them Syrian Circassians, whose ancestors lived in the Caucasus.

09 Sep. Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili says that Georgia's European aspirations do not prevent it from developing close cooperation with other countries of the world, including Russia, and that it wants to become a trade hub between Europe and Asia. / Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Riabkov says that Russia expects it will have to live with sanctions regardless of events in eastern Ukraine, because its ‘separate and independent foreign policy is like a thorn in the flesh of our opponents’. / ‘[Mikhail] Khodorkovsky ‘becomes a brand name for 150 products, services and shops in Russia and other countries, selling garments, footwear, computer games and other goods. It will also shortly be used by charity and political funds, services for financial and property transactions.

8 Sep. President Ilham Aliev accuses ‘foreign forces’ of attempting to destabilise Azerbaijan on the eve of presidential election, witness the ‘tens of millions of dollars’ that Azerbaijan uncovered due to be spent to break the support of the population to the government. / Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov says that Bulgaria must explain its decision to close its air space to Russian aid flights to Syria from 1 to 24 September, because it lacked adequate information concerning their content; Bogdanov also points to Washington pressure behind the Bulgarian decision; he denies any Russian plans to upgrade the logistic centre of Tartus into a full-fledged Russian military base. / An electronic petition which collected 25.000 signatures is published on the site of Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko asking him to appoint the head of the Odessa regional state administration, Mikheil Saakashvili, as prime minister.

07 Sep. At a two-day security conference in Tbilisi organised by the McCain Institute for International Leadership, the Georgian defence minister Tinatin Khidasheli welcomes a statement by US general Ben Hodges on the need the to ‘speed NATO troops’ mobilisation, in order to slow down Russia’s actions’. / All major markets in Dushanbe resume operation after a day of closure following ‘terrorist actions’ in which up to 26 people, including 9 security force members and 17 suspected militants, have been killed since 4 September. The Tajikistan prosecutor-gereral’s office launches criminal proceedings against fugitive general and former Deputy Defence Minister Abduhalim Nazarzode, allegedly heading the group which clashed with government forces.

06 Sep. Thousands of people take part in an anti-government rally in Chisinau organised by the opposition pro-European Truth and Dignity platform. Demonstrators demand the dismissal of Moldova’spresident Nicolae Timofti, early parliamentary election, and the return of $1bn illegally withdrawn from the banking system in 2014. Police stop a delivery of tents to be installed on the main square. / The pro-Kremlin All-Russia People's Front releases a report criticising the organisation of the country’s health care system which it says makes care less available to the general public. / The Turkmengaz state corporation begins engineering work on the $10bn TAPI (Turkmenistan- Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) gas pipeline project, which has been delayed by administrative issues and unrest in Afghanistan. The pipeline is due to deliver gas by 2018 if it can attract the interest of foreign companies. / At a joint press conference with visiting IMF head Christine Lagarde, President Petro Poroshenko says that Ukraine will not default on foreign loans, and that Russia will not receive preferential terms over the repayment of its $3bn loan given under the presidency of Viktor Yanukovich. Poroshenko denies any talk of a change in the Ukrainian governing coalition, or of a personal conflict between Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk and Odessa governor Mikheil Saakashvili.

05 Sep. Airborne troops from Russia, Serbia and Belarus hold antiterrorist manoeuvres as part of the Slavic Brotherhood military exercise being held near Novorossiisk. / Russian Agriculture Minister Alexandr Tkachev says that imports of embargoed food are down tenfold since the introduction of the 6 August decree ordering the destruction of confiscated food. / Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko salutes the first week to pass without firing on the front since the signature of the Minsk agreements; he says the Minsk deal is the only way to settle the conflict in the east.

04 Sep. The parliament of the Donetsk People's Republic confirms the dismissal of speaker Andrei Purgin for ‘issuing a number of statements contradicting state policy’ and his replacement by his deputy, Denis Pushilin. Purgin was stopped by border guards on his way back from Russia, amid reports of an attempted coup in the separatist region. / Ukrainian investigators question four far right Freedom Party members, including its chairman PM Oleh Tyahnybok about fatal clashes in front of parliament on 31 August. All four claim law agencies are working under political orders. / Four policemen are killed during an attack on their building at a road junction on the way to Dushanbe airport, and nine people in other incidents near the capital. The police sees the hand of sacked Tajikistan deputy defence minister Abduhalim Nazarzode, reacting to attempts to ban of the Islamic Rebirth Party, the country's largest in opposition .

03 Sep. The Holy See's apostolic nuncio to Belarus, Claudio Gugerotti, says that the release of six prisoners in Belarus on 22 August was at the ‘personal request of the pontiff’ but that it was entirely unconnected with a possible visit of President Alexandr Lukashenko to the Vatican / The head of b>Gazprom, Alexei Miller, announces the signature of a memorandum on gas supplies with China, using a third route, i.e. a new pipeline to be built from the Far East. / The governor of the Odessa Region, Mikheil Saakashvili, says he has no ambition to become prime minister, and ‘only wants prime minister Arseni Yatseniuk to act in the interests of the Ukrainian people, not of Kolomoisky, Akhmetov or other oligarchs’.

02 Sep. Russian Justice Minister Alexandr Konovalov says he does not rule the possibility of a prisoner swap with Ukrainian pilot Nadia Savchenko but the matter must be settled via diplomatic channels. / Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov regrets that Washington rejected Russia's proposals, supported by Beijing, for the resumption of six-party talks to resolve the Korean Peninsula’s nuclear issue. / The secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council (NSDC), Olexandr Turchynov, accuses Russia of helping radical organisations to ‘undermine Ukraine from the inside’ after failing to breach its defences in the east. / Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko convenes a meeting of the NSDC to approve a new military doctrine, which names Russia as a military adversary and proposes a redeployment of units and infrastructures from the west of the country to the southern and eastern regions. The doctrine also calls for bringing the military system into line with NATO standards.

01 Sep. After meeting visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev praises ties with Russia as bilateral links make for co-operation, including with international organisations, which ‘are the key to solving regional issues’ / Belarus president Alexandr Lukashenko leaves for China on a two-day working visit and to join representatives of 49 countries in celebrating the 70th anniversary of victory over Japan and the end of World War II. The five presidents of Central Asian republics depart too. / Clashes in front of Ukrainian parliament between police and ultra-nationalists lead to death of three policemen hit by a grenade explosion. / The governing coalition in Ukraine says that the withdrawal of the Radical Party faction led by Oleh Liashko and the resignation of deputy prime minister Valeri Voshshevsky are not greatly destabilising factors. / Some 1,500 servicemen from 12 countries join the Ukrainian-US exercise Sea Breeze, starting in Odessa.


31 Jul. In Moldova, opposition pro-Russian and pro-EU parties stage protests against the new rates of electricity and gas rates which will increase by 35 and 15% to meet foreign donors’ requests. / Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov says that, In accordance with the cease-fire declared in Donbass, Chechen volunteers who fought on the side of the separatists have returned home. / The Russian president's press secretary, Dmitri Peskov, says that the Kremlin finds it ‘strange and hard to explain’ the Estonian government's decision to recommend that country's officials do not talk to journalists working for the Russian federal mass media; also that Russia has taken a time-out regarding the Turkish Stream gas project, while Turkey completes the formation of its government. / Russia's Aviakor aviation plant announces it has temporarily suspended production of An-140 passenger/cargo aircraft because it is no longer receiving parts from Ukraine..

30 Jul. The Moldovan parliament approves the country's second government this year, led by Valeriu Strelet, the deputy leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

29 Jul. At a reception in the Kremlin marking the 1000 years since the death of St Vladimir, Russian president Vladimir Putin salutes the ‘ the great Prince who became a true’ and whose ‘spiritual sources continue to nourish the fraternal peoples of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus’. / At a conference in Yaroslav attended by 92 delegations from 64 countries, as well as delegations from the UN, SCO, CIS and EU, the director of the Russian FSB Alexandr Bortnikov calls on all special services to join forces to combat ISIS which ‘has taken the training of terrorist rebels to the assembly line’ and ‘is recruiting new supporters across the world’. / Russia's permanent representative at NATO, Alexandr Grushko, says that the organisation’s role in the Ukraine crisis is ‘utterly destructive’ and ‘creates an illusion of permissiveness’. / Russia opposes the UN Security Council’s draft’s resolution to set up a tribunal to investigate the crash of the Boeing over Donbass ,repeating its position that it is better to wait for the end of the investigation. / A nun and a priest, both members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Partriarchate, are killed in Kiev, the first strangled and the second shot.

28 Jul. Russia's Economics Ministry publishes figures showing that the GDP shrank by 4.2% in June, under the joint effects of drop in oil prices and Western sanctions. The gas production at Gazprom is expected to decline to 414 billion cubic meters this year due to sluggish demand and a decline in upstream investments. / On the 1000th anniversary of the death of prince Vladimir, the medieval ruler of the Kievan Rus, the patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill sends a letter to Russia and Ukrainian presidents to join forces to stop the bloodshed in orthodox lands of eastern Ukraine. At the same time, the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate, Filaret, calls on the faithful to pray for the liberation of Ukraine from ‘foreign invaders’ and decried attempts to appropriate history in order to denigrate Ukraine.

27 Jul. The State Oil Fund of the Azerbaijani Republic (SOFAR) says it received only $3.9bn in the first half of 2015, half what it received during the same period last year. / After signing a protocol of adhesion to the WTO in Geneva, Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbaev notes the move’s accordance for his country’s strategy ‘Kazakhstan-2050’, but also that ‘a sanctions policy, which mixes economy with politics, hinders trade and does not meet the WTO principles’. / Russia's Prosecutor-General Yuri Chaika puts at $128m the amount embezzled during the construction of the Vostochny space launch facility. / Russia's Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev says it is up to EU to decide how the Russian gas will be transported onwards after it arrives at the border of Turkey and Greece via the Turkish Stream pipeline. / A poll by the Levada Centre reveals that nearly 50% of Russians support the idea of establishing an international tribunal to prosecute those responsible for downing the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine's Donetsk Region in 2014; more than 40% say the Ukrainian army was responsible, about 20% blame the USA, 3% blame rebels in the Donetsk Region and 2% accuse Russia. / The Security Service of Ukraine announces it has frustrated attempts to create a ‘people's republic’ in the Kirovohrad Region, based on a Russian social networking site.

26 Jul. The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill says that the Church has never been as free as it is today, but insists on unity, seeing the root of ‘all misfortunes in Ukraine as dissent within the Church which then infected the whole of society.’ / At his personal initiative, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoganhas a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin about bilateral cooperation, the situation in the Middle East and the threat of the Islamic State. / Naval parades are held in several Russian cities including Vladivostok, Astrakhan, Sevastopol, Severomorsk, St Petersburg and Baltiysk to mark Navy Day; President Putin approves a new naval doctrine, described by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin as increasing Russian naval activity, including in the Antarctic; entrenching Russia as a great maritime power at a time of NATO expansion; and creating an infrastructure next to our borders’.

25 Jul. The deputy prime minister of Crimea, Ruslan Balbek, describes the Tatar congress prepared in Turkey as a ‘fake’ and an ‘attempt to launch a hybrid war against Russia on behalf of the Crimean Tatars’. / Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambaev sets 4 October 2015 as the date for parliamentary elections. / On Ukrainian television, President Petro Poroshenko praises ‘progress’ in a Donbass settlement thanks to the ‘Normandy format’ involving the leaders of Ukraine, Germany, France and Russia; progress and in the delivery of IMF funds.

24 Jul. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu says that the 12 July collapse of a barracks in Omsk Region, which killed 24 servicemen, was due to ‘poorly-laid brickwork during its construction in 1975’ - aggravated by repairs in 2013. / A Moscow court sentences ultra-nationalist Ilia Goriachev to life in prison for the murder of human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov and the journalist Anastasia Baburova in central Moscow in 2009; it is the third conviction in the case. / Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev says he believes that US may keep up sanctions for years, as it did with the Jackson-Vanuk amendment, but Russia will run its economy and trade accordingly. / The Communist Party of Ukraine announces that it will take part in the next election despite the decrees signed by Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko cancelling its rights in conformity with the laws condemning Nazi and Communist totalitarian symbols.

23 Jul. Russia’s Emergencies ministry announces the arrival of the 33rd convoy with ‘aid’ for eastern Ukraine including essential food and medicines. / The head of the Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos), Igor Komarov, says that the Russian government has extended the operation of the International Space Station until 2024, and that ‘political disputes between the partner countries do not affect the programme’. / Russian presidential press secretary Dmitri Peskov denies Italian media reports that President Putin has offered a ministerial role to former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, ‘which is of course impossible’ despite the two men’s well known friendship. / Minority shareholders of Radio Ekho Moskvy, including the station’s journalists, block the receipt of a $1.75m six months loan from Gazprom Media (the station’s majority shareholder) fearing its effect on editorial independence.

22 Jul. After his meeting with the visiting president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev expresses hope for more international pressure on Armenia to settle the Nagorny Karabakh conflict, and for the EU to distinguish ‘between the aggressor and the victim of aggression’; he also hails energy cooperation with EU. / In Moldova, three pro-European parties sign an agreement to form a new ruling alliance. / The Lipetsk Region Arbitration Court dismisses the Russian Federal Tax Service's tax avoidance claims against the confectionery producer Roshen, owned by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. / Ukrainian tycoon Ihor Kolomoysky, a minority shareholder in Ukrnafta, files a $5bn lawsuit against Ukraine with the Stockholm arbitration court, alleging its restriction of the company’s rights of the company to sell left-over gas in 2006-2014.

21 Jul. At a ceremony in Shanghai, officials from the world's largest emerging nations launch the New Development Bank (the ‘BRICS bank’), first proposed in 2012, as an alternative to existing institutions such as the World Bank; its initial capital of $50bn, equally funded by the five members who will have equal voting rights, will double in the next couple of years. / President Ilham Aliev accuses the ‘Armenian lobby’ of orchestrating a smear campaign against Azerbaijan in the Western media; the latter recently exposed flaws in provision for human rights- something which Baku has rejected. / The Kyrgyzstan government revokes a US cooperation agreement signed in 1993 in protest at the US State Department award to Azimjan Askarov, an ethnic Uzbek human rights activist sentenced to life imprisonment for organising mass riots and for his complicity in the murder of a police officer during the June 2010 clashes between Kyrgyz and Uzbek people in southern Kyrgyzstan's. / The Russian FSB breaks up a gang smuggling arms from EU countries and Ukraine to Russia; three acting police officers are among the 14 people detained in different regions. / The office of Transcarpathian regional administration says that participants in the Mukacheve shoot-out will be tried for banditry, risking up to 15 years in jail; among the 13 arrested, 12 are residents of the Region. / At its congress in Kiev, the Ukrainian Right Sector far-right party announces its refusal to take part in 25 October local elections; it calls for a referendum regarding confidence in parliament, the government and the president; the revocation of the Minsk accords, and the legalisation of volunteer battalions.

20 Jul. Arriving in Georgia from Armenia on a tour of the South Caucasus, European Council President Donald Tusk reaffirms EU support for Georgian territorial integrity; he salutes Georgia as ‘a real frontrunner in the Eastern Partnership’. / Georgian and South Ossetian officials discuss the repercussion on villagers of the new line designating their borders; South Ossetians say Tbilisi is wrong to put the border changes in the framework of Russian-Georgian relations as it is only a defensive move of South Ossetia. / Russia's permanent representative at the UN, Vitali Churkin, confirms that Russia has proposed its own draft resolution on a UN investigation into the downing of flight MH17. / A two-week multinational military exercise, Rapid Trident 2015, starts in Lviv Region involving 1,800 men from NATO states, Georgia and Moldova, the National Guard of Ukraine and cadets of the Hetman Petro Sahaydachny Army Academy. / A survey by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology shows that, if parliamentary elections were held in July, they would be won by president's Petro Poroshenko Block (with 23.5% of the vote); the Fatherland party, led by former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko would take (22.7%), and the People's Front headed by premier Arseni Yatseniuk, would come ninth with 2.8%.

19 Jul. Defence Minister Tinatin Khidasheli says that Georgia will not let itself taken into a conflict by Russian provocations, such as its recent ‘artificial’ drawing of the administrative border between parts of South Ossetia and Georgia. / The Ukrainian SBU announces that stepping up fights against smuggling in the Transcarpathian Region has enabled Ukrainian law enforcers to uncover clandestine storehouses and seize large quantities of counterfeit cigarettes.

18 Jul. Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko expresses concern to German Chancellor Angela Marker, French president François Hollande and Russian president Vladimir Putin over the recent escalation of fighting the Donbass. He says Kiev is respecting its obligations under the Minsk agreements while others do not.

17 Jul. Energy Minister Alexandr Novak says that Russia and Iran will soon discuss joint energy projects but Russian companies will have no special preferences. / The Russian Navy General Staff announces it has disbanded the crews intended for the French-built Mistral-class helicopter carriers. / The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) demands that the Russian acting consul-general in Odessa leaves the territory of Ukraine for ‘incompatibility with his diplomatic activity’. / Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk announces that Kiev will cooperate with the UK to ‘counter Russian propaganda’; that he is holding talks with a UK company about taking over several customs offices; and that US companies are entering the energy market including the construction of a LNG terminal in Odessa. / Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko attends the launching ceremony of a new furnace in ArcelorMittal steel mill where the company will invest $1.2bn. / At a briefing in Kiev, leader of Right Sector party Dmytro Yarosh says that the party’s earlier demands for the dismissal of Interior Minister Arsen Avakov remain unchanged; he says he plans new rallies in Kiev to raise the question of dissolution of parliament and the dismissal of the president and government; and he reiterates the readiness of the Ukrainian Volunteer Corps Right Sector to join the Ukrainian Armed Forces, but ‘only if its structure is preserved’; he did not order the militants in Mukacheve to surrender ‘because he did not believe they would treated with fairness’.

16 Jul. Kyrgyzstan’s chief of staff, Iskender Mambetaliev, says that the only threat on the border with China is posed by Uighur extremists. / Russian presidential spokesman Dmitri Peskov says that President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Barack Obama had a ‘very constructive’ telephone conversation focused on the Iranian nuclear deal; but that the conversation did not address the missile defence issue or the Ukrainian situation. / During a telephone call at the initiative of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, President Vladimir Putin clarifies Russia’s position on the initiative to establish an international tribunal concerning the shooting-down of Malaysian Airways flight MH17, saying it would be ‘premature and counterproductive’. / Energy and Coal Industry Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn says that Ukraine is ready to buy gas in Kazakhstan and in Turkmenistan, and is ‘to ask the European Commission for assistance in talks with Russia regarding Central Asian gas transit’. / By 288 votes to 58, the Ukrainian parliament sends the draft law on decentralisation to the Constitutional Court; but separatists in the Donbass say the bill is at odds with the Minsk accords.

15 Jul. SOCAR's vice-president, Elsad Nasirov, denies any rivalry between Turkish Stream and the Southern Gas Corridor projects, for taking Caspian and Central Asian gas to European markets via Azerbaijan. / The Georgian special representative for relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigori Karasin held a three-hour meeting in Prague to discuss the latest border incident - over the shifting by 1km of border markings into Georgian-controlled territory near South Ossetia. The affair is feeding anti-government criticism by the Georgian opposition. / Russian President Vladimir Putin signs the law moving Duma elections from December to September 2016; he also signs a decree abolishing the Ministry for Crimea set up on 31 March 2014 because ‘his specific job has been done’. / Rossia Segodnia's describes as ‘censorship’ the decision by Barclays Bank to close its UK account allegedly because its director Dmitri Kiselev is on the EU sanctions list; the Russian government asks for clarification from London. / Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says that Israel should set aside its ‘emotional reaction’ to the Iranian nuclear deal until all states have studied the agreement. / Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko arrives in Uzhhorod to introduce Hennadi Moskal, the governor of Luhansk Region, as the new governor of Transcarpathian Region and the ‘president’s man’. The heads of the regional police, the regional SBU, several border posts and some departments of the customs service are replaced. Poroshenko describes the 11 July incidents in Mukacheve as ‘a knife in the back of the Ukrainian state’.

14 Jul. Armenia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Edvard Nalbandian welcomes the Iran nuclear deal as paving the way for regional stability and economic cooperation. / Azerbaijan's Energy Minister Natiq Aliev says that the lifting of sanctions on Iran will revive the energy sector and pave the way for new partnership in the region. / Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says he hopes that the Iran deal ‘eliminates any pretext for the use of force against Tehran’ and will make it possible to remove barriers, including artificial ones, to the formation of a broad coalition to fight Islamic State. He also hopes the deal will change American plans for a missile defence system in Europe, mentioned by President Barack Obama in a speech in Prague on 5 April 2009. / Officers of the Security Service of Ukraine conduct dozens of searches at the houses of people from both sides involved in the Mukacheve shooting. Four commanders of volunteer battalions affiliated with the Interior Ministry of Ukraine condemn the shooting, saying all patriotic forces are needed in the east. / The Right Sector ultra-nationalist party denies its involvement in explosions near police stations in Lviv, describing them as part of a dirty information campaign by anti-Ukrainian forces in a struggle for power within the ruling regime.

13 Jul. A spokeswoman for BP Azerbaijan dismisses as ‘groundless’ Georgian media allegations that Russia's shifting of its border by one kilometre near Georgia's breakaway South Ossetia threatens the security of segments of the Baku-Supsa pipeline. / Moldova hosts the international military exercise Joint Effort 2015 involving 800 servicemen from Moldova, the US, Poland and Georgia. / A presidential decree orders the Russian Interior Ministry to cut the number of personnel by 110,000 from 1.113,172 to 1,003.172; cuts will mainly affect management. / The Ukrainian interior ministry announces the release of a 6-year old child who has been taken hostage by two people from the Right Sector and hidden in the woods around Mukacheve. / Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko chairs a security meeting on the situation in the ‘antiterrorist operation zone’ and in Mukacheve. He sees a link between tensions in the Donbass and attempts to destabilise the situation 1,000 km away. Contraband is also involved. All customs officers in Transcarpathia region are dismissed.

12 Jul. Fuel and energy minister Alexandr Novak says that Russia is working on a plan to supply energy directly to Greece and expects a decision within weeks as a way to support Greece’s economic revival. / More than 20 Russian servicemen die when part of their barracks collapse at an Airborne Troops training centre in Omsk. / Right Sector men barricade themselves near Mukacheve; they reject the security forces’ calls to disarm, saying that they have received no order from the group founder and MP Dmitro Yarosh. Supporters of Right Sector rally in different cities (Dnipropetrovsk, Zhytomyr, Kharkiv, Lviv and in Kiev near the presidential administration building) demanding the dismissal of Interior Minister Arsen Avakov. / Ukrainian Security forces surround all the Right Sector training camps in the Lviv region to prevent them to ‘going to help’ their comrades in Mukacheve. / The Right Sector's spokesman Artem Skoropadsky says that claims they acted in self-defence; the Right Sector ‘is ready to deploy all of its reserve battalions to Kiev if need be; others are setting up checkpoints on the roads leading from Kiev to Transcarpathian Region.’

11 Jul. US support for the Trans-Adriatic gas pipeline project. / The chairman of the Council of Muftis of Russia, Ravil Gaynutdin, suggests using the name ‘Da'ish’ (terrorist state in Arabic) when referring to the group calling itself Islamic State (IS, ISIS or ISIL) because ‘an Islamic state cannot be a terrorist one’. / The Russian Defence Ministry denies media reports that dozens of soldiers are being prosecuted for going absent without leave in order to avoid being sent to fight in Ukraine. / In a shoot-out between members of the ultra-nationalist group Right Sector and the police, two people are killed and 10 wounded in Mukacheve, a small Ukrainian town in Transcarpathian Region.

10 Jul. In Ufa, Russian and Chinese Presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping co-host the 15th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO); participants adopt a development strategy for the organisation until 2025; they grant observer status to Belarus; provide for a start to the process of admitting India and Pakistan as members; and grant dialogue partner status to Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia and Nepal. / During their first ever bilateral meeting, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Russian President Vladmir Putin agree to speed up the process of finalising the North-South gas pipeline agreement. / The US State Department welcomes a meeting between Pakistan and Indian Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi on the sidelines of SCO Summit. / Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev says that Russia is interested in the euro being a healthy currency if only because it keeps part of its foreign exchange reserves in euros. / By 60 votes to 4, after two failed attempts and a heated debate, members of the Kharkiv city council recognise Russia as an aggressor state.

09 Jul. Foreign Minister Vladimir Makey says that Belarus is dissatisfied with the pace of integration within the Eurasian Economic Union which has paradoxically led to a fall in trade with Russia and Kazakhstan, but an increase in trade with Africa and Asia. / The EU delegation in Moldova announces that EU budget support payments for Moldova (40.7m euros in 2015) can only be processed once the IMF programme is approved; as a programme cannot be requested by an interim government, it urges the parties concerned to accelerate agreement on a new governing coalition. / Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov says that ‘contrary to speculation’, Russia has no interest in fuelling the Greek crisis and wants to see a swift resolution to the problem; he accuses the OSCE Parliamentary session of engaging in scandalous ‘propaganda matters’ in the absence of Russia, whose delegates were denied visas to enter Finland. / Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Riabkov says he believes that the West will never lift some of its sanctions against Russia. / The BRICS Summit opens in Ufa, attended by heads of states from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa under the theme ‘BRICS partnership: a powerful factor for global development’. / During the BRICS summit, Russian president Vladimir Putin meets heads of state, including his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani; they speak of a ‘positive development’ in bilateral relations’ and ‘difficulties in the global economy’. / Ukrainian state arms trader Ukroboronprom announces it signed export contracts worth $1bn in the twelve month July 2014-July 2015, up by 17% on the same period in 2013-14.

08 Jul. US embassy in Baku denies rumours that it is plotting a coup in Azerbaijan, instructing or funding political parties; it says such rumours do an injustice to America’s constant support to help Azerbaijan to reach stability and prosperity. / / At the end of a visit in Kazakhstan, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sign a series of cooperation agreements, including a contract for the delivery of 5,000 tonnes of uranium supplies in the next 4 years. / The Russian Federation Council passes a law on ‘the right to be forgotten’ online. / Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk says that parliament should renounce his country’s energy agreement concerning the construction of two units at the Khmelnitsky nuclear power plant. / The Ukrainian culture ministry gives the Security Service a list of 117 artists from Russia identified as ‘threatening state security’.

07 Jul. Azerbaijani experts conclude that the Greek crisis will have no impact on the Trans-Adriatic gas pipeline. / Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif confirms that he is scheduled to meet his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Ufa, Russia. / The Russian Federation Council speaker Valentina Matvienko says that all decisions taken by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe without the Russian delegation are illegitimate. (Earlier, PACE decided not to annul the Russian delegation's powers but retained sanctions voted in January linked to voting rights, participation in statutory bodies' meetings and in monitoring missions). / The Russian Foreign Ministry says it is seeking a ‘compromise text acceptable to everyone’ in a draft UN Security Council resolution marking the 20th anniversary of the mass killings in Srebrenica; Russia rejects the use of the word ‘genocide’ in the draft tabled by Great Britain. / Gazprom's CEO Alexei Miller and German Vice-Chancellor and Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel discuss the implementation of the Nord Stream-2 project. / On his first visit to Central Asian countries, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi signs with Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov three pacts enhancing strategic, economic and energy ties; the two leaders review key regional issues including the situation in Afghanistan.

06 Jul. Commenting on a $200m Russian loan to Armenia to buy Russian weapons and modernise its armed forces, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry says ‘our resolute position is that such weapons must not be deployed in Azerbaijan's Armenian-occupied territories’. / The Georgian opposition urges the government to learn lessons from the Greek debt crisis and take measures to protect the financial deposits of tens of thousands of Georgians working in Greece. (They are the second largest source of remittances, after those from Russia). / Ukraine announces its intention to have Naftohaz Ukrainy set up a $1bn ‘energy stabilisation fund’, ‘according to agreements with foreign creditors’.

04 Jul. The head of Naftohaz Ukrainy, Andri Koboliev, calls for an international inquiry into supplies by Russia's Gazprom to ‘terrorist-like organisations’ in the rebel-held parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. / Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko insists that the Donbass conflict must be settled by political means but not ‘at any cost’.

03 Jul. At a meeting of the Russian Security Council, President Vladimir Putin says that Westerners have introduced sanctions against Russia because it insists on pursuing an independent domestic and foreign policy; the secretary of the Council, Nikolai Patrushev, says that the sanctions are designed to reduce Russian economic potential and topple the Russian government; he also says that the conflict in Ukraine will continue unless the US decides to stop it. / Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko slams ‘populist’ MPs for voting, on 2 July, a law on restructuring foreign-currency loans; he is ‘unlikely’ to sign it. / More than 3,000 activists march in Kiev, holding the flags of Ukraine, of Pravy Sektor, and of the National Guard's Azov regiment, as well as a banner proclaiming ‘Freedom to the Patriots’; the demonstrators demand the release of two of their people arrested as suspects in the murder of pro-Russian journalist Oles Buzyna; they also call for a conclusive offensive in the East.

02 Jul. According to a poll by the Vilnius-based Independent Institute for Social, Economic and Political Studies, just over half Belarusians (51%) would vote against EU accession and 25.1% in favour; 62.3% view Russia's annexation of Crimea as the ‘recovery by Russia of a Russian land and a restoration of historical justice’ and 21.5% as an ‘imperialistic usurpation and occupation’; 47.4% support the independence of ‘Novorossia’ and 27% Ukraine's territorial integrity. Asked what they would do if Russia attempted to annex all Belarus or a part of it by military force, 19% say they would ‘resist with arms in their hands’, 52.8% would try to ‘adapt to the new situation’, and 12.1% would welcome the attempt. / Japan’s government regrets Russia's ban on environmentally damaging drift-net fishing in its waters from January because it could have a serious impact on Japanese fishermen operating in the north. / The Russian Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsia) says it received the draft final report on the investigation into the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which contains ‘more questions than answers’; he hopes that additions and comments by Russian specialists will be reflected in the final report expected in October.

01 Jul. Activists who have been holding non-stop protests in the Armenian capital since 22 June against the rise in electricity tariffs create an initiative group and coordination committees; parliament speaker Galust Sahakyan praises the No To Plunder group for holding rallies in a ‘peaceful’ and ‘orderly’ manner, he calls for inquiry into methods used by the police to disperse crowds and urges protestors to leave Bagramian Avenue. / In Baku, the Karabakh Liberation Organisation urges Azerbaijan to resume hostilities with Armenia. / At the meeting of the board of governors of RFE/RL in Prague, editor-in-chief Nenad Pejic salutes the organisation’s rapid growth and the multimedia expansion, with as a ‘top priority’ the launch of a Russian-language programme ‘providing independent reporting on Russia and the region’. / Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller says that it will stop gas deliveries to Ukraine as it has not made its prepayment for July; earlier Naftohaz Ukrainy announced that from 1 July it would receive gas only from Slovakia. / The Kremlin, through the voice of presidential spokesman Dmitri Peskov, distances itself from calls by two MPs from the pro-presidential One Russia party to check the legality of the Baltic states' gain of independence; the general prosecutor’s office says this request is ‘devoid of common sense’ and has no ‘legal prospects’. / Russian presidential spokesman Dmitri Peskov says that the refusal by Finland to grant an entry visa for Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin to attend a session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Helsinki on 5-9 July is ‘outrageous’; Finland says it respects the EU sanctions list, while Russia says the meeting is an international event, not a bilateral talks session. / Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin unveils his plans for asking the Duma to change the citizenship law in a way to allow residents of the Transdniester, born after 1991, to obtain Russian citizenship. / Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko says that no special status for the rebel areas is included in the new constitution; the lion’s share of power will go to communities and the power of regional authorities reduced; he needs 300 votes to support it.


30 Jun. The Belarus parliament schedules the presidential election for 11 October (the term of president Lukashenko ends on 21 January 2016). / Russian presidential spokesman Dmitri Peskov says that the Kremlin is concerned about the possible negative consequences for the EU countries of the Greek financial crisis, but that the crisis is ‘exclusively a question for Greece and its creditors, and not our issue’. / In an interview to RIA Novosti, Li Hui, the Chinese ambassador to Russia, says that Beijing has no plans to form a military alliance with Moscow but hopes to develop ‘all-inclusive and broad cooperation’; all those military links are no threat to third parties, he says. / Russian president Vladimir Putin introduces a two five-year term limit for governors. / The Ukrainian interior ministry says that a wildfire in Chernobyl exclusion zone does not threaten the power station building itself. / The Petro Poroshenko Bloc in the Ukrainian parliament urges the government to probe the activities of Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, Health Minister Alexandr Kvitashvili and their deputies in connection with reports of abuse and frauds.

29 Jun. The Communist Party of Belarus announces that it will support Alexandr Lukashenko throughout the election campaign because the Party values his policy of building a ‘socially orientated state for the people’, which demonstrates that Belarus is more stable than neighbouring states, despite its lack of energy and natural resources. / Belarus KGB head Valeri Vakulchyk tells President Lukashenka of his concern about NATO’s increased military presence in neighbouring countries, and the growing accessibility of firearms in the region due to the conflict in Ukraine. / Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev says that Russia has agreed to Ukraine’s request for a $40 discount on the price of gas during the third quarter of 2015; Ukraine will pay $247 per 1,000 cubic metres. / Meeting Syria's foreign minister, Walid al-Mu'allim, Russian president Vladimir Putin says that the entire Middle East must unite against Islamic State, and that Russia is ready to assist in the dialogue between member states; Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov says that Moscow intends to help Syria to deal with socio-economic problems and enhance its defence capability.

28 Jun. While protestors claim victory in Yerevan after the Armenian president’s promised an audit of the national electricity company, villagers block the main road connecting the capital with the north of the country. Georgia and Russia asking for the cancellation of the same price increase. / The 17-day Baku 2015 European Games end with a $133m ceremony addressed by the wife of president Ilham Aliev, who was also chairwoman of the Organising Committee. / Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov calls for a support to the Syrian government and a global fight against ISIS ‘because air strikes alone cannot eradicate global terrorism’.

27 Jun. Ukraine Interior minister Arsen Avakov announces the freezing of 86 properties belonging to gas tycoon Dmytro Firtash accusing him of inflicting $300m losses to the state by colluding with the state oil and gas company Naftohaz Ukrainy; properties will be put up for sale if he does not return his debt to the state . / Canadian and Ukrainian defence ministers, Jason Kenney and Stepan Poltorak, announces the arrival of 150 Canadian military instructors by this autumn.

26 Jun.. Belarus announces it will adopt the same attitude at the 5-9 July OSCE Parliamentary Assembly session as at the UN General Assembly and at the Riga’s summit of the Eastern Partnership by refusing support to a resolution condemning the annexation of Crimea. / Agriculture Minister Alexandr Tkachev says Russia has no plans to ban European wine and confectionery as it could negatively affect the local consumers. / Sochi airport is reopened, gas and electricity restored as water begins to recede after floods that submerged part of the Black Sea resort. / The head of the Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev says that by adopting the 24 June ‘anti-Russian’ resolution extending sanctions on the Russian delegation the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe sacrificed its proclaimed principles under pressure by EU and NATO members’ states of the Assembly. / The head of Gazprom, Alexei Miller, says he has been instructed by president Putin to negotiate with Ukraine over the Russian gas transit after 2019, when the current transit contract expires; but Gazprom will never sign on unfavourable terms (Naftohaz Ukrainy wants to increase transit rates from 2.7 to 5 dollars per 1,000 cubic metres transported over 100 km). / A poll by Levada Centre shows that 86% of Russians (77% in June 2013) believe that the USA is using Russia's current difficulties to turn it into a second-rate country and a ‘raw material appendage’ of the West. / Paying tribute to his predecessor, Yevgeni Primakov, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov says he was ‘the first to formulate the principle of multipolarity, which has proved today that it has no alternative’; and Primakov did so ‘at a time when it seemed that an era of unipolarity had set in, and that history had come to an end’. / The Russian Ministry of Justice announces it has carried out the payment of 26.000 euros to opposition activists Alexei Navalny and Ilia Yashin for their administrative detention after a demonstration in 2011, as ordered by the European Court of Human Rights.

25 Jun. President Alexandr Lukashenko says that Belarus is making no attempts to play any geopolitical role and only wants to live in peace with its neighbours. / The secretary of the Russian Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, says that given progress in the settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue, NATO should given up its project for a European missile defence – otherwise, it would be clear that, from the start, the project was devised against Russian and China. / Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov says that defence spending will be cut by less than 10% next year and efforts made towards ‘optimising’ of spending. / Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk says that Ukraine cannot afford servicing its foreign debt, and financial stabilisation will depend on debt restructuring. / Ukrainian Finance Minister Natalia Yaresko says that a default on foreign obligations is theoretically possible this July, as allowed by a new law; and that Ukraine still regards its $3bn debt to Russia like debt any other Ukrainian Eurobond debt, despite Russia’s contrary attitude.

24 Jun. Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian proposes increasing social benefits to help Armenians cope with a planned increase in the price of electricity due, according to him, to a lack of water resources and a 20% currency devaluation over the past 3 years. A’ ‘No to Plunder’ group says it will change the ‘tactics of struggle’. / The Levada Centre publishes a poll showing that 66% of Russians would like to see Vladimir Putin as remain president after the next election; (The figure has risen from 26% in April 2013 to 32% in March 2014, after the Sochi Winter Olympics; to 49% in April 2014, after the annexation of Crimea; and 55% in December 2015). According to the poll; 14% would choose ‘a successor chosen by Putin’, 7% would choose another politician and 13% are undecided. / President Putin signs an order extending for a year ‘special economic measures to ensure Russia's security’.

23 Jun. The US and UK embassies in Armenia express concern about reports of excessive use of force by the police against demonstrators, and urge the authorities to respect freedom of assembly and freedom of speech; Russian presidential press secretary Dmitri Peskov says that Moscow is closely watching the situation and hopes the situation can be solved rapidly in ‘strict accordance to the law’. / Crimean minister of fuel and energy, Sergei Yegorov, details plans for a new $371m Krym-Kuban gas pipeline to be laid on the Kerch Strait seabed. It is due to reduce the peninsula’s 70% dependency on Ukrainian power supplies. / At the meeting of the national reform council, Ukrainian President Perto Poroshenko rejects any possibility of federalisation during constitutional changes toward decentralisation. / Ukrainians queue in front of foreign consulates delivering Schengen visa as new rules come into force, requiring applicants to go in person to submit fingerprints and a digital photo; a procedure to be repeated every 5 years.

22 Jun. The Belarus KGB says that a series of ministries are holding an antiterrorist exercise at the facilities of Gazprom Transgaz Belarus, a subsidiary of Russia's Gazprom that operates the national gas supply network. / Moldovan president Nicolae Timofti appoints Foreign Minister Natalia German acting prime minister. / Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbaev rejoices that the talks on the country’s entry into the WTO has been completed after 19 years, saying it opens new horizons. / Former Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin says that the extension of EU sanctions will not significantly affect the Russian economy, because Russian businessmen have anticipated it; however, he is concerned about the effect on national business of possible new sanctions being taken against the West. / The Interior Ministry of Ukraine announces that it ‘has decided to relocate the personnel’ of the recently disbanded Tornado special-purpose company ‘in order to calm the population’; investigations continue into cases of the torture of civilians. / b>Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk says he has instructed the government to hire the best lawyers to file ‘as many lawsuits as possible’ against Russia over losses incurred by the annexation of Crimea and hostilities in the Donbass region.. / Internally displaced people from the Donbass rally in Kiev against restrictions on travel to the Antiterrorist Operation Zone which cut links with their families; they also complain of bribery at check points.

21 Jun. During his talks with Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius on boosting bilateral relations, Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli says that Beijing is willing to participate in the construction of the Rail Baltic project and sees the Baltic region as a platform for cooperation with EU. / Ukrainian presidential aide Yuri Biryukov announces the reception of another 55 UK armoured vehicles, at the cost of £51.000 each paid from the national budget. / The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry's ambassador-at-large, Dmytro Kuleban, says that Ukraine plans shortly to sign a contract with NATO to ‘counter Russian propaganda’; he also says that a report being prepared the MH17 crash will be ‘a disaster for Russia’.

20 Jun. The head of the Russian presidential administration, Sergei Ivanov, unveils an agreement to establish a separate bilateral Russia-US channel to resolve the Ukrainian internal crisis by political means; it is named the Karasin-Nuland format (after the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and the Assistant Secretary of State). Ivanov says he sees no sense in organising earlier presidential elections, but that there are political grounds for advancing parliamentary elections. / Several dozen unknown armed men block the Kiev appeals court for a whole day, and refuse to let the head of the court leave the building.

19 Jun. The head of Belarus State Customs Committee, Yuri Sanko, announces it will step up customs controls on border with Ukraine because of arms smuggling. / Former Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovsky ‘rejoices as a Russian citizen’ at the decision to arrest Russian state assets in Belgium and France as a signal ‘that pillage will not remain unpunished, no matter how all powerful the thief is.’ / Russia and Greece sign a memorandum providing for Greece to build a new gas pipeline to connect with the planned Turkish Stream project. / Russian president Vladimir Putin addresses a St Petersburg International Economic Forum dinner emphasising the high level of international interest in Russia ‘despite all the complications in the global economy, politics, and individual markets’ - and the will of his country to create an easy flow of capital throughout the globe. / Russian foreign ministry Sergei Lavrov says that retaliatory measures are ‘inevitable’ in order to reciprocate for the seizure of Russian assets in some European countries. He condemns the UN draft resolution marking the 20th anniversary of the events in Srebrenica as risking additional ethnic tensions in the Balkans instead of reconciliation. He also says that the West was mistaken in ending cooperation on topical global issues over the Ukrainian crisis, but that Moscow is ready to resume cooperation; and is ‘not interested’ in breaking up Ukraine.

18 Jun. Moldova prime minister Chiril Gaburici, who resigned on 12 June, refuses to stay in office until his successor is elected as requested by President Nicolae Timofti. / Russian officials declare ‘unjust’ and ‘politically motivated’ court decisions in France and Belgium, in connection with a lawsuit filed by former shareholders of Yukos, authorising the seizure of Russian state assets. / Russian state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom announces the signature of an agreement with Saudi Arabia to cooperate in the field of civil nuclear energy.

17 Jun. President Vladimir Putin meets businessmen and numerous heads of States attending the St Petersburg Economic Forum; a larger attendance than last year is presented by Russian official and commentators as further evidence that sanctions and other attempts to isolate Russia have failed. / By 248 votes, at the request of President President Poroshenko, the Ukrainian parliament dismisses the head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), Valentyn Nalyvaychenko; he denies corruption allegations involving RosUkrEnergo. / Former governor of Dnipropetrovsk, oligarch Ihor Kolomoysky, receives the official registration of his party Ukrop in time to take part in October local elections. / Tajikistan says that remittances from Russia fell 42% during the first quarter of 2015 compared with 2014.

16 Jun. Georgian Defence Minister Tina Khidasheli signs an agreement with France for an ‘air defence advanced system’. / Moldovan President Nicolae Timofti welcomes the ‘pro-European choice’ of a majority of voters as preliminary results of local election show that four pro-European parties collectively hold enough seats to form majorities in 22 out of 32 district councils. / President Putin says that Russia will add more than 40 intercontinental ballistic missiles to its nuclear arsenal this year in reaction to proposals by the US to increase its military presence in Eastern Europe. / Ukrainian state guards step up security at Mariupol port amid sabotage fears.

15 Jun. Belarus starts a command post exercise on the border with Ukraine in the Gomel region ‘to check the system for strengthening the southern sector’. / A two-day Belarusian-Chinese anti-terrorist military exercise begins near Brest within the framework of the Defence Ministry's action plan for international military cooperation in 2015. / Odessa governor Mikheil Saakashvili tells a news conference that he wants to enhance security measures on the border between Ukraine and the Transdniestr, but that he will not provoke a conflict with that region. / Russian Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin recommends advancing the next Duma election from December 2016 to September 2016 in order to ‘reinforce budget accountability’. / At a meeting on the development of small and medium-size business in Crimea, Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev announces that a fund of $13bn has been approved by the government for the development of the peninsula.

14 Jun. Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili announces a day of mourning for 12 persons who died due to heavy rain and floods in the capital Tbilisi in the night of 13-14 June; 24 people are missing, 266 left without shelter, and 37 hospitalised. / The newly appointed Odessa governor, head of the Ukrainian Supervisory Council for State Enterprise Reform and former Georgian president, Mikheil Saakashvili, says that the Odessa region is starved of investment due to corrupted local business clans, and that he wants to establish ‘new rules’.

13 Jun. In Baku, after attending the opening ceremony for the European Games, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Erdogan discuss Ukraine, trade and the Turkish Stream gas pipeline project. / The daughter of murdered Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov, now living abroad, announces the setting up of a foundation to ‘help Russia develop as a civilised and prosperous state’; the project is in memory of her father but is not due to support the work of his party RPR-Parnas. / A poll by the Sofia Centre for Social Research indicates that 61% of Ukrainians are ready to give up the rebel-held territories in Donbass as a price for ending the war there; 22.9% want the war to continue until Ukraine regains control of the area.

12 Jun. At the opening ceremony for the Baku 2015 First European Games, President Ilham Aliev highlights the opportunity it represents for boosting the international image of Azerbaijan; Western countries refrain from sending their heads of state, in protest at the human rights situation. / Russia lifts its embargo on the importation of fruit from Moldova, including Transdniester, introduced in July 2014 citing quality concerns. / Moldova approves the composition of its delegation at the Joint Control Commission, to resume work in the security zone between Moldova and Transdniester after a near one-year break. / In his speech marking Russia’s national day, president Putin insists on the country’s inter-ethnic dimension as an important cultural as well as social element.

11 Jun. In Baku, police intervene to disperse rallies the outside EU office and the UK embassy against the ‘double standards’ critics of Azerbaijan ahead of the European Games. / The Belarus foreign ministry says it ‘sees no point’ in criticising US President Barack Obama’s decision to extend by one year sanctions against President Alexandr Lukashenko and nine other officials, as the extension ‘contains nothing new’. The ban was instituted by President George W. Bush in June 2006. / Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk says his position is unchanged regarding the restructuring of Ukrainian debt by private creditors. / A two-day international conference on water adopts what it calls the ‘Dushanbe Declaration’ on prolonging the action plan ‘Water for life 2005-2015’; Tajikistan will submit it to the UN General Assembly during its 70th session.

10 Jun. The opposition United Civic Party calls on voters not to boycott forthcoming Belarus presidential election. / The head of the Russian presidential administration, Sergei Ivanov, predicts that the 2018 Football World Cup will take place in Russia because ‘there is nothing to find fault with’ on the way this was decided, and says US allegation regarding FIFA ‘smack of imperialism’. / After opening the Russian pavilion at the Expo 2015 fair in Milan, president Vladimir Putin has ‘good talks with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’ and meets Pope Francis to discuss the Ukraine conflict and threats to Christians in the Middle East. / Ukraine's representative to the trilateral contact group, former President Leonid Kuchma, rejects Russia's proposal to include rebel representatives – unless they take part ‘as consultants rather than as a party’.

9 Jun. China and five Central Asia countries hold their third cooperation forum in Rizhao, attended by over 300 delegates. / The Belarus opposition says that changes of dates for the 2015 presidential election (the latest being on 11 October) show the nervousness of President Alexandr Lukashenko. / Moldovan Prime Minister Chiril Gaburici confirms that he ‘invited former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's team of reformers on the advice of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’, who recently named him governor of Odessa. / Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoli Antonov says he has demanded an explanation from the US about alleged plans to deploy ballistic and cruise missiles in Europe; which would mean a US exit from the INF treaty. / During a meeting with the Ukrainian community in the US, Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk hails G7 support for his country and calls for pressure on Russia to continue. / Newly appointed governor of Odessa, and former Georgian president, Mikheil Saakashvili, announces plans to reinforce the Ukrainian border with the Transniestr region. / Security forces in Uzbekistan launch a campaign against women wearing the hijab in the country's capital.

8 Jun.

7 Jun/

06 Jun. In an interview with Italian media ahead of an official visit to Italy, President Vladimir Putin says that Russia and the US are ‘allies’ in some areas of international relations such as counter-terrorism and non-proliferation, despite their differences in others; also that EU should fulfil its promises and provide more aide to Ukraine; and that some countries are taking advantage of people’s fears of Russia. / The Russian Ministry of Defence announces the start of Friendship Bridge 2015, a joint naval exercise with Egypt in the Mediterranean. / Over 2.000 people rally in Moscow in support of aid to science and education after the authorities threaten the activities of the Dynasty Foundation, founded by telecommunications magnate Dmitri Zimin, by putting it on the list of ‘foreign agents’. / Liu Jieyi, China's permanent representative to the UN, calls for dialogue and consultation as the only solution to the Ukraine issue. / The leadership of the Luhansk People's Republic expresses hope that the Minsk contact group will continue its work despite the resignation of the OSCE's special representative for Ukraine, Heidi Tagliavini. / During a visit to Kiev, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan promises $1.5bn of credit guarantees and $1bn of credit to modernise the Bortnychi sewage treatment plant; he promises to back Ukraine in discussions by the G-7. / Visiting Kiev, Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper promises more military aide to Ukraine, and more discussion about trade and liberalisation of the visa regime; he says he wants sanctions against Russia to continue.

05 Jun. The OSCE Secretary General, Lamberto Zannier, tells OSCE member states that the Azerbaijan government has given it’s co-ordinating office e in Baku a month in which to close down. / Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitri Peskov denies that the Kremlin is employing so-called ‘trolls’ to post pro-Russian and anti-Western comments online. / The Ukrainian foreign ministry organises a video conference for accredited diplomats of EU, OSCE, G7 member countries in which to give Moscow’s version of recent ceasefire violations around Donetsk and Luhansk for which national forces and rebels accuse each other. / Reacting to a power cut in districts in the Luhansk People’s Republics under Kiev’s control, Luhansk governor Hennadiy Moskal orders a complete cut off of water supplies to the ‘occupied’ territories’. / Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says Ukraine has no legally binding obligations to ensure Russian transit to the Transdniester region, including by the Russian military, he says he is ready to transfer his shares in the Roshen confectionery company to the Rothschild wealth management and trust business; and to sell his factory in Lipetsk (Russia).

04 Jun. Armenia’s opposition criticises the government’s decision to sell to Gazprom the 40-km-long section of the Armenia-Iran gas pipeline, because it might limit independence if pipeline were to provide Iranian gas to Europe. / President Putin's spokesman Dmitri Peskov says an aggravation of the situation in east Ukraine is linked to the approaching EU summit. / Russian Sports Minister Vitali Mutko says that the resignation of Sepp Blatter and investigations into corruption in the football world do not threaten Russia’s hosting of the World Cup, because the aware was a decision by FIFA and not Sepp Blatter. / Meeting his Tajikistan colleague Sherali Mirzo in Dushanbe, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu says that security in Central Asia depends to a large extent on co-ordinated actions of the armed forces of both their countries. / Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Riabkov says that Russia is not asking to be re-admitted to the G-8, and is more interested in other international formations such as the G-20 or BRICS. / At the Conference on Security and Stability in the SCO Region, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov calls for co-ordinated assistance to restoring peace and stability in Afghanistan as an SCO priority, together with fighting terrorism. / In his annual address to parliament, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says that 50,000 ‘heroes’ are fighting in eastern Ukraine; that he, and the Ukrainian people, are not happy with the performances of national officials; that Ukraine has managed to avoid financial default thanks to aid from foreign states and international organisations; that Ukraine’s efforts to gain independence from Russia are succeeding; that a EU visa-free regime is possible within a few months; that Russian plans for a ‘Novorossia’ in the east have failed; that he rejects federalisation; that the state ought to finance political parties as part of ‘de-oligarchisation’; that joining NATO is a priority for Ukraine, though this is not the moment to raise the issue because it splits the country; that defence budget will increased next year; and that he does not rule out a cabinet reshuffle in the autumn. / The National Bank of Ukraine revokes the Nadra Bank's banking licence and liquidates the institution owned by tycoon Dmytro Firtash since 1993.

03 Jun. Azerbaijan's Energy Minister Natiq Aliev says that Iran may join the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline project (TANAP) in the future and export its gas to Europe. / Belarus and India sign a road map for co-operation including in the textile, clothing and fashion industries. / Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin says that Russia cannot build new surface ships for the Navy because Ukraine no longer supplies the necessary gas turbine engines, and that it needs to accelerate the programme of substitution. / By 262 votes, the Ukrainian parliament meets a request from the general prosecutor and strips MP Serhiy Melnychuk of his immunity from criminal prosecution, but not of his immunity from arrest; the former commander of the Aydar volunteer battalion is suspected of setting up a criminal gang, and of kidnapping and robbery.

02 Jun. Special purpose troops of the armed forces of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia start joint military exercises in Turkey. / Forty-three of the businessmen detained on 12 May for large loan debts to the International Bank of Azerbaijan are released after paying a total penalty of $105m. / Belarus President Alexandr Lukashenko orders a security exercise on the Ukrainian border to test the efficiency of measures taken to increase the capability of the Gomel region's territorial defence system. / Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller says that it has no plans to supply pipeline gas to Japan because China is its priority. / Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov describes US Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to Sochi as a ‘return to normal level’ in bilateral ties, not as a reset; he says he does not share the view of some Western participants in talks on the Iranian nuclear programme who believe that all military facilities of Iran should be open to inspection. / Deputy Prime Minister Arkadi Dvorkovich says that Russia will not lift the embargo on European food food iompots as long as EU keeps up sanctions - though 'just a few amendments are possible’.

02 Jun. Special purpose troops of the armed forces of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia start joint military exercises in Turkey. / Forty-three of the businessmen detained on 12 May for large loan debts to the International Bank of Azerbaijan are released after paying total penalty of $105m. / Belarus President Alexandr Lukashenko orders a security exercise on the Ukrainian border to test the efficiency of measures taken to increase the capability of the Gomel region's territorial defence system. / Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller says that the company has no plans to supply pipeline gas to Japan because China isitrs priority. / Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov describes US Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to Sochi as a ‘return to normal level’ in bilateral ties not as a reset; he does not share the view of some Western participants in talks on the Iranian nuclear programme who believe that all military facilities of Iran should be open to inspection. / Deputy Prime Minister Arkadi Dvorkovich says that Russia will not lift the food embargo as long as EU keeps sanctions - just ‘some amendments are possible’.

01 Jun. President Alexandr Lukashenko says that Belarus economy lost almost $3bn because of shrinking demand in Russia and economic sanctions. / Commenting on the appointment of Mikheil Saakashvili as Odessa governor, the foreign minister of Transdniester, Nina Shtansky, says that relations with Ukraine are becoming more unpredictable, with increasing number of troops and hardware at the common border and customs restrictions jeopardising trade and making the region more dependent of Russia aide.


31 May. Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili describes his predecessor’s move (taking Ukrainian citizenship and accepting appointment as governor of Odessa) as ‘incomprehensible’ and the abandonment of his Georgian citizenship a ‘betrayal’. Saakashvili vows to return as soon as Georgians needs him and calls his critics ‘backyard provincials filled with anger’ as his new appointment has been ‘top news in the world media’. / Tajikistan succeeds in putting the ex-commander of the OMON (the country’s special-task police unit), Gulmurad Galimov, on Interpol’s wanted list after he announces on a video that he has joined ISIS. Galimov was trained by Russians and by Americans.

30 May. The director of the foreign affairs department of the Azerbaijan presidential administration, Novruz Mammadov, says that votes in favour of the re-election of Stepp Blatter as head FIFA were primarily ‘an act of protest against the US and Europe’. / On a visit to Odessa, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko introduces the new governor – former Georgian president Saakashvili, who just received Ukrainian citizenship. Poroshenko says the new governor’s first mission is to ‘de-oligarchise’ the region and that ‘oligarchs will not be allowed to exercise a threat in the city’.

29 May. Belarus president Alexandr Lukashenko and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif sign a declaration partnership in Islamabad; other memoranda are signed at ministerial levels. / The president of South Ossetia, Leonid Tibilov, says that his people are waiting for ‘historic’ integration with North Ossetia but that this is not the right time to implement so as it would harm Moscow's geopolitical interests. / In Caracas, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov says that Venezuela is among Russia's key partners in Latin America. / The father of Russian opposition activist and journalist Vladimir Kara-Murza, who has dual Russian and British citizenship, says that the Israeli doctor who examined his son, rumoured to have been poisoned, confirms the Russian doctors’ diagnosis of intoxication of the kidneys, perhaps due to anti-depressants. / President Vladimir Putin signs an order obliging federal officials and governors to declare and surrender gifts within three days. / Russia's envoy to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, calls on ‘countries and forces that openly support Ukraine to stop ‘the party of war’ in Kiev launching a new offensive in the Donbass. / An explosion destroys a confectionery shop of Roshen, the company of president Poroshenko, in the Kiev metro. / Ukrainian Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak says the escalation of fighting in the Donbass is likely due to the increased Russian military presence in the ‘occupied territories’. / One of the largest Ukrainian steel mills, Zaporizhstal, suffers a power cut-off after the regional power distribution company stops supplying electricity due to £4.7m debts.
30 May.

28 May. During a tour in the Middle East and Cyprus, ArmenianForeign Minister Edvard Nalbandian meets Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to discuss the conflict and the fate of the Syrian Armenian community which arrived there a century ago to escape Turkish massacres; he visits members in Aleppo. / Russian President Vladimir Putin classifies as state secret the Defence Ministry's information about personnel losses during special operations in time of peace, and not only, as previously, during military actions. / Gazprom head Alexei Miller says that Naftohaz Ukraina’s total gas debts have now reached $29bn, including 8.2bn for gas which Ukraine failed to accept in 2014; the later bill will be presented on 28 May and a claim will be sent to the Stockholm Arbitration Court. / Meeting Ukrainian border guards, President Petro Poroshenko reiterates that the conflict in the Donbass is not ‘internal’ and that the country is ‘stronger than ever’. / In Seoul, Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov and South Korean President Park Geun-hye sign nine documents on energy cooperation and other matters.

27 May. President Ilham Aliev makes a surprise declaration that Azerbaijan will mainly export its own gas to the Turkish market in case the TAP (Trans-Adriatic Gas pipeline project) faces problems. / Russia's permanent envoy to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, says that ‘the EU is trying to do what it usually accuses Russia of - namely politicising the energy issue.’ He also questions the timing of the European Eastern Partnership summit in Riga saying it may have been organised on order to keep the initiative afloat. / Russia Sports Minister Vitali Mutko and other sport officials say that FIFA arrests will not affect the 2018 World Cup due to be held in Russia , and not even the choice of Qatar. Russian sports officials perceive a US-led anti-Russia conspiracy in the scandal. / Prime minister Dmitri Medvedev says that Russia will mirror the West’s decision on extending or not extending sanctions on agricultural produce. / By 92 votes out of 103, the Dnipropetrovsk regional council backs the address of the Ukrainian parliament to international organisations on recognising the Russian Federation as an aggressor state and the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics as terrorist organisations.

26 May. During the 4-day visit of Belarus Defence Minister Andrei Ravkov, China signs an undertaking to continue providing gratuitous military assistance to Belarus and to increase military co-operation. / Georgia marks its independence day with an exhibition of military equipment and a parade by a small number of Georgian and US troops in central Tbilisi. / In the framework of the meeting of the Industrial Commercial Dialogue between Egypt and Russia, President Abd-al-Fattah al-Sisi and Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov discuss projects in infrastructure, industry, agriculture and other fields. / Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev warns other BRICS member-states of numerous non-military threats such as ‘information, artificial aggravation of ethnic, religious and cultural antagonism’ and the use of international financial institutions for leverage. / The Russian foreign ministry says that the Eastern Partnership summit in Riga missed an opportunity to stop the growing divide in Europe because of the anti-Russian complex of some member countries. / Speaking to media after talks with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Russian foreign ministry Sergei Lavrov underlines the importance in bilateral relations in co-operation between regions of Russia and Azerbaijan; he thanks Baku for ‘its balanced position on Ukraine’.

25 May. The executive director of SOFAZ (the Azerbaijani State Oil Fund), Sahmar Movsumov, says it has signed an agreement with the Chinese Central Bank to invest $500m in the bonds in Chinese yuan. / Kazakhstan Foreign Minister Yerlan Idrisov is holding talks with Syrian opposition groups that appealed to Astana to mediate talks about solving the crisis. / Russian President Vladimir Putin sends a telegram congratulating Andrzej Duda on his victory in the Polish presidential election and expressing hope for constructive bilateral relations. / The Russian president's special representative on Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, says Moscow is bewildered by NATO's intention to set up a military base in Kabul and will ask for an explanation. / The Mufti of Moscow, Ildar Aliautdinov ,calls for polygamy to be legalised for Muslims under certain conditions, so as to give a chance of happiness to the millions of women left without home and family, and because already several hundred polygamous marriages are concluded every year in Moscow, mostly among migrants having a family home. / Deputy Defence Minister Anatoli Antonov says that Russia has notified Europe about a snap check of the combat readiness of its air defence units in the Central Military District on 25-28 May, ‘despite the fact that provisions of the 2011 Vienna document on confidence and security-building measures is not applicable to this particular exercise’. / Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin says that relations with Poland do not depend on elections but on a common past and a common European future. / The Ukrainian press marks the first year in office of president Petro Poroshenko, quoting as successes the signature of the association agreement with EU and the adoption of reformist laws. As failures it mentions the situation of Donbass and Crimea, and his not having sold his own business. / A 21m-high gold-braided bronze statue of Turkmeninstan’s president, Gurbanguli Berdimukhamedow, is unveiled in the country’s capital.

24 May. The defence ministry of the Donetsk People's Republic says that Ukrainian ‘occupation forces’ have created 85 sabotage groups intended to destabilise the Donbass, including plans to carry out attacks wearing Russian uniforms; he says 19 of them are manned with foreign citizens. / The Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty website takes down a story published on the previous day alleging corrupt business dealings by Vladimir Putin and others in the 1990s. It says this is for ‘the safety’ of the interviewee, a Russian businessman living abroad.

23 May. Azerbaijani foreign minister Elmar Mammadiarov explains Baku’s discontent with the Eastern Partnership summit's final declaration, which it signed ‘with reservation’, because it did not mention the UN resolutions on the Nagorny Karabakh conflict. / Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev says that Russia acted ‘honourably’ in gas dealings with Ukraine, ‘trying not to put a spanner into’ on an economy already going downhill, despite the fact that Ukraine is paying Gazprom ‘in dribs and drabs’. He says that the Russian government will decide in August whether to extend, restrict, or partially lift restrictions on European agricultural imports, depending on the West’s actions and Russia’s national interests / Russian president Vladimir Putin signs the controversial law on ‘undesirable’ foreign NGOs operating in Russia; these will be liable to administrative or criminal prosecution, and their assets could be frozen.

22 May. Armenia and Belarus demand that the final declaration of the Riga summit of the European Eastern Partnership abandon a reference to the’ illegal annexation of Crimea’ before their representatives have an opportunity to sign it. (They do not attend the relevant session in person.) / Belarus Foreign Minister Vladimir Makey says the Partnership has failed to enhance regional security. / President Petro Poroshenko says that Ukraine and the EU have swept aside all political obstacles in order to receive a visa-free regime and that only technical matters remain to be done by 2016; he attends the signature of a memorandum on 1.8bn euro worth of macro-financial assistance. /. Foreign Minister Natalia Gherman describes the final declaration of the Eastern Partnership summit as ‘an acceptable compromise’ and ‘a positive result for Moldova’. / The head of the Russian Audit Chamber, Tatiana Golikova, says that a check of the budget of b>Roskosmos (the Russian Space Agency) uncovered $1.84bn financial violations. / In Kiev, police arrest a dozen activists of the Financial Maydan who refused to dismiss their picket after parliament failed to pass a law on restructuring currency loans. / Ukrainian deputy foreign minister Natalia Halibarenko blames Russian manoeuvres and ‘Czech communists’ for the Czech parliament’s failure to ratify the Ukraine-EU association agreement.

21 May. At Riga, during the European Eastern Partnership summit, Armenian president Serzh Sargsian says that his government gives priority to EU cooperation in line with its ‘balance policy’; Belarus first deputy economy minister, Alexandr Zabarowsky calls for a ‘pragmatic approach’ by the EU on developing efficient and comfortable cooperation with each member of the EEP. / Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambaev signs his country’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union. / After the meeting between Iraqi Prime Minister Haydar al-Abadi and President Vladimir Putin, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov says that b>Russia will deliver as many weapons as Iraq needs to defeat ISIS without adding new conditions. / By 249 votes, the Ukrainian parliament adopts a declaration in favour of departing from Kiev’s obligations on human rights in the Donbass until the ‘full end of Russian aggression’. / The Ukrainian parliament denounces five military agreements with Russia. The president of Transdniester, Yevgeni Shevchuk, says that this undermines the foundation of the existing Moldova-Transdniestr peace-keeping operation which is observed by Russian and Ukrainian forces. The Russian foreign ministry says that it will suppress the right of transit of Russian military units stationed in Transniestr across Ukrainian territory. / Ukraine’s First Deputy Minister of Justice Natalia Sevostianova says that Ukraine os demanding $48.1bn from Russia due to the loss of its enterprises in Crimea.

20 May. The deputy defence minister of ‘Donetsk People's Republic’, Eduard Basurin, calls on Ukrainians to replace their president, because he preaches war and not peaceful settlement. / In a session of CSTO heads of security, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev says that an increase of US and NATO activities near Russia's borders threatens not only threatens Russia itself but also its allies; that the threat includes indirect activities’ ‘such as using private military companies’ and denying the possibility of popular protest. / Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov plays down as ‘hot air’ a statement by the Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council (NSDC), Olexandr Turchynov, about the possible deployment of US missile defence system elements on Ukrainian territory. / Deputy Foreign Minister Gennadi Gatilov says that Russia is prepared to study a UN draft resolution on setting up an EU mission to defeat illegal immigration in the Mediterranean; that Russia ‘realises how acute this problem is for Europe’, but that for approval it should not go beyond the arrest of vessels. / Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev says that Russia should use all available means, including legal, to protect state and commercial interests, following the Ukrainian parliament’s vote authorising the government not to pay off external debts to private creditors; President Putin calls the decision ‘strange’ and evidence of a lack of professionalism. / Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk announces the termination of the military-technical cooperation with Russia - ‘an aggressor country’- signed in 1993.

19 May. After holding a number of meetings in Iran, Georgian Economy Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili says that his country is ready to intensify cooperation. / The Duma passes, on the third and final reading, a bill banning foreign and international organisations deemed undesirable in Russia, if they pose a threat to constitutional order, the country's defensive capacity or state security. / President Putin chairs a meeting on how to ensure a balanced and efficient language policy, the role of Russian and minority languages in strengthening statehood and in preserving a diversity of languages, with an accent on education and culture. / Rapid Reaction Forces of the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organisation) complete a snap exercise in Tajikistan, involving more than 2,500 troops repelling a mock invasion by terrorist groups totalling up to 700 people. / The Deputy Prime Minister of the Crimean government, Ruslan Balbek, says that Crimean Tatars living in Ukraine's Kherson Region are willing to move to Crimea. / For a third day, over 200 Afghan police are involved in clashes with some 1000 Taleban near the border of Turkmenistan. / The Ukrainian general staff says that Russia is hurrying to withdraw GRU servicemen from the Luhansk Region and sending them back to their permanent deployment base in Samara after the capture of two of them. / The Ukrainian parliament authorises the government to suspend external debt payments until a deal is reached with creditors regarding a change of conditions. Addressing creditors from the rostrum, prime minister Arseni Yatseniuk says: ‘Help us, not with a word but with a dollar, or better a billion.’

18 May. Russia and Azerbaijan launch a major operation on their border to jointly combat transnational organised crime, illegal migration, and illegal drug and arms trafficking on the border areas of the two countries. / After meeting visiting Austrian President Heinz Fischer, Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili says that sanctions against Russia should remain in force as long as their goal (a Ukrainian settlement) is not reached, even if Georgian economy is suffering; he expects good news from he Riga’s summit, especially on visa-free regime. / The parliament speakers of Moldova and Transdniestr meet at the OSCE mission’s office in Bender for the first time in 13 years to discuss the creation of a joint group for dialogue. / Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev signs a decree stopping the transit through Russia of military hardware to Afghanistan ‘in accordance with the termination of relevant articles of UN Security Council resolution 1386’. / Referring to his meeting with the European Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmstroem, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin says that Brussels is positively reacting to Kiev's view that, in order to establish the comprehensive free trade zone with the EU, it needs to receive the same aid as provided to new EU members.

17 May. Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili lauds security measures that allowed a few dozen people rally to be held peacefully ,‘as in a civilised country’, in Tbilisi on ‘International Day Against Homophobia’; the Georgian Orthodox Church marks "Strength of the Family Day" (created last year in opposition to ‘Homophobia’ Day) with a procession and a special service; religious radicals protest against ‘gay Europe’ outside the EU delegation office. / The commander of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry's Aydar battalion announces the hand over to the Security Service of two wounded Russian servicemen captured following a battle in the Donbass; the servicemen are later described of members of a sabotage and reconnaissance group; Russia denies that they were regular soldiers.

16 May. Another Georgian national from the Pankisi Gorge populated by ethnic Chechens dies fighting in Syria, the 12th to do so. / The Russian space industry suspends future Proton launches until it can establish the cause of the second accident in 24 hours, when a Proton rocket carrying a Mexican telecommunications satellite failed 497 seconds after its launching from Baikonur.

15 May. Moldovan Prime Minister Chiril Gaburici confirms his intention to invite former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili as an adviser on reforms, despite Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili’s saying that this will affect Georgian-Moldovan relations. / The Russian defence ministry rejects Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko’s statement that 11,000 Russian troops are present in south-eastern Ukraine. / Russia's permanent representative to NATO, Alexandr Grushko, says that the US would contribute to European stability by withdrawing its nuclear weapons from the continent; he deplores NATO’s failure to resume cooperation with Russia and its continued expansion to the east – by which ‘the alliance has shot itself in the foot’ / Tajikistan temporarily prohibits foreign citizens from visiting eastern Badakhshan due to difficult situation in the bordering districts of Afghanistan. / In Kiev, US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland meets prime minister Arseni Yatseniuk to discuss ‘the situation in the Donbass, economic reforms, the fight with corruption and US assistance in these processes’. / Prime minister Yatseniuk says that Ukraine is currently buying 70% of its gas from the EU at cheaper price than from Russia. / Ukrainian First Deputy Prosecutor-General Volodymyr Huzyr says no evidence has been found that the current leadership devised schemes causing losses to the state, as claimed by a former head of the State Finance Inspectorate, Mykola Hordiyneko.

14 May . In Azerbaijan, 14 of the 70 major entrepreneurs arrested over the past few days are released after paying their bank debs; they were arrested for failing to repay billions of loans to the International Bank of Azerbaijan, in which the government holds the majority of shares. / The Secretary of the Russian Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, says that the armed conflict in east Ukraine has prompted an exodus of refugees to southern Russia, leading to a deterioration on the job market and increasing risks of ethnic tensions as refugees receive priority in social treatment. / The Ukrainian parliament appeals to UN, the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the OSCE, as well as to world leaders, over the alleged infringement of rights of the Crimean Tatar people. / In Aachen, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko discusses the conflict in eastern Ukraine and the agenda of the Riga Eastern Partnership summit with French president Francois Hollande, German chancellor Angela Merkel, EU Commission president Jean-Claude Junker and the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk. Poroshenko says he wants better coordination between EU and US over the Donbass settlement, EU visa-free travel for Ukrainians, and investments in Ukrainian energy sector.

13 May . Vietnam president Truong Tan Sang arrives in Baku for a three-day official visit to Azerbaijan during which he will discuss energy with president Ilham Aliev, attend the Vietnam-Azerbaijan business forum and meet Vietnamese students in the host country. / The Russian presidential press secretary, Dmitri Peskov, confirms that the sanctions issue was raised during the meeting between President Vladimir Putin and US Secretary of State John Kerry, but by the Americans not by Russia for which, ‘as before, the topic is not on our agenda’. / China Railway Group announces that one of its subsidiaries has won the Moscow-Kazan high-speed rail contract together with two Russian companies.

12 May . Turkish and Azerbaijani armed forces start joint military exercises in Baku and the Nakhichevan exclave. / AzerbaijaniNational Security Minister Eldar Makhmudov meets a delegation led by Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev for a discussion on international and regional security. / The Russian opposition RPR-Parnas party publishes a 64-pages report entitled ‘Putin. The War’ based on the late Boris Nemtsov's material regarding Russia's alleged involvement in the conflict in Ukraine. The report says that 220 Russian servicemen were killed and puts the cost to the Russian budget during the first 10 months of the conflict at over $1bn for the military aspects (salaries and weaponry) and about $1.5bn on the upkeep of refugees. A leader of RPR-Parnas, Ilia Yashin, calls on investigators to check the suggestion that Nemtsov’s murder was related to his work on the report. / Meetings between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, and subsequently president Putin, are described as ‘not a break-trough’ but ‘businesslike’ and allowing hopes for a stabilisation of bilateral relations; it is the fist visit of Kerry since the start of the Ukrainian crisis. / The Russian foreign ministry urges all political forces, and OSCE, to start dialogue after the incidents in Macedonia; it points to the role of a number of opposition movements and largely Western-inspired NGOs/ Russian presidential spokesman Dmitri Peskov tells journalists that Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko’s statement about Kiev’s plans to recaptureDonetsk airport contravene the Minsk agreements. / The Ukrainan state railway company informs creditors of its technical default.

11 May. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev receives a delegation led by Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev to discuss bilateral relations. / At the opening ceremony for a Chinese-Belarusian economic forum in Minsk, President Alexandr Lukashenko says that ‘Belarus will do everything to enable China to efficiently advance its interests in Europe’ and can be an important transport hub linking the Eurasian project to the Silk Road Economic Be. / The Georgian and Chinese agriculture ministers sign a memorandum on cooperation, especially in tea and grape production, due to be extended to other trade and economic relations. / Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko charges the state-run Ukroboronprom concern with boosting Ukraine’s export potential and ensuring that the country's joins the world's top five exporters of modern weapons.

10 May. Belarus president Alexandr Lukashenko, during a meeting with visiting Chinese president Xi Jinping (the first at this level in 14 years, says that Belarus does not forget that China stayed on its side when ‘voices were being heard about its isolation. The two countries sign a declaration of strategic partnership and pledge to double their trade. They sign political and economic agreement, including one on $700m loan by China, and another on the supply of 4m metric tons of potash to China, worth a total of $1.3b, between 2015 and 2019. / The special envoy for South Korean President Park Geun-hye confirms that he met briefly with North Korea's No. 2 in Moscow during the ceremonies marking Victory Day, but says they had no ‘serious talks’ on bilateral relations. / Russian president Vladimir Putin has a long conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel who is in Moscow to pay tribute to the victims of WWII. In a press conference, they recognise the decline of their trade and political links, but emphasise the will to keep channels open. Both stress the importance of full respect for the Minsk Agreements.

09 May. Georgia marks the end of WWII in Tbilisi andin Gori, the native town of Joseph Stalin; President Giorgi Margvelashvili meets veterans. / In his speech during the military parade in Moscow Red Square, President Putin pays tribute to allies who fought against Nazi Germany, congratulates everyone on this ‘sacred anniversary’, and warns against the danger of a return to ‘bloc mentality’. Troops from China, India and most of CIS countries participate to the parade. / In the afternoon, unannounced, president Putin takes the head of a procession through Moscow, the ‘Immortal Regiment’ of 400.000 people carrying pictures of relatives who fought in WWII; he carries a war time picture of his father. / The head of the ‘Donetsk People’s Republic, Alexandr Zakharchenko, says that the republic’s ‘first diplomatic row’ is over, as it has freed two Americans detained in April while ‘on an international mission, one a CIA agent and the other a ‘recruiter’. / Military parades are being held in Luhansk and Donetsk cities controlled by separatists. / In Kiev, President Petro Poroshenko, Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk, dignitaries and war veterans lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and honour the victims of the war; in his address, Poroshenko salutes the ‘start of a new tradition’ to Remembrance of the 1945 victory, with its colossal Ukrainian losses; he says it is time to remember that it was the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (nationalists) that opened the second front in the fight against fascist occupiers inside Ukraine; he salutes the participation of all types of veterans, surrounded by their grandchildren who today are fighting again for Ukraine independence, this time against Russia in eastern Ukraine. / Ukrainian cabinet removes rebel-held areas from the national energy market.

08 May. Addressing a conference in Chisinau, US ambassador to Moldova James Pettit says that his government attaches great importance to fight against Russian propaganda, which presents a danger for democracy in Moldova and for European integration. / During talks, President Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping agree to integrate the former's Silk Road Economic Belt initiative with the latter's vision of a trade and infrastructure network across Eurasia. Xi Jinping says that absent Western leaders have used the Crimea situation to ‘diluting the legacy of WWII for political ends’; he criticises their ‘ill thought attempts to isolate Russia’ and says they are showing disrespect to the memory of those who fell. / Russian presidential spokesman Dmitri Peskov says that during their meeting on the 7th, President Vladimir Putin and his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro discussed ways to implement bilateral relations but not about plans for military basis in Cuba. / Meeting for the first time this year, , Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin discuss their joint commemoration of the 70th anniversary of victory in the war againr Nazi Germany and in Chinese People's War Against Japanese Aggression. / The head of the Russian presidential administration, Sergei Ivanov, confirms that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has not been invited to attend the Victory Day celebrations in Moscow. / The president of Egypt Abd-al-Fattah al-Sisi arrives in Moscow on a two-day visit. / Addressing the Diplomatic Academy of Russia, the president of India, Pranab Mukherjee, says that ‘Indian-Russia relations will not be affected by the winds of transient global political trends. India will always reciprocate the support it received from Russia at difficult moments in its history’. / All visiting presidents have bilateral talks with president Putin and attend celebrations marking Victory Day.

07 May. Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Kazakhstan, his second to the country since he took office in March 2013. / Former USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev says that Western leaders’ refusal to attend the Moscow Victory Day celebration is a sign of disrespect for the Soviet people who fought against fascism. / On the of Crimea's reunion with Russia, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu signs an order awarding some200 Tersky Cossacks with medals ‘For Regaining Crimea’. / In a telephone conversation with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, President Putin confirms that Russia is ready to consider providing finance to Greek state and private companies engaged in the Turkish gas project. / Russia and China set up a joint command for naval exercise to take place from 11 to 21 May in the Mediterranean. Two Chinese frigates will take part in the festivities on Victory Day.

06 May. Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov says that the leaders of the ‘Normandy Four’ (Russia, Ukraine, France, Germany) are not discussing a practical plan to include America in its format. / Russian Human Rights Ombudsman Ella Pamfilova says she cannot confirm reports of servicemen being coerced to fight in Ukraine, despite additional checks with parents of servicemen requested by human rights organisations. / In Moscow, demonstrators gather in Balotnaya square to remember the clashes three years ago which led to a crackdown on opposition; police arrest ‘ten dozens’ according to the organiser. / b>Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council approves the national security strategy for the period to 2020; it discusses way to accelerate the construction of defence structures in the east of the country and approves measures for demonopolising the energy market and diversifying sources of supplies

05 May. The President of SOCAR(the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic) Rovnaq Abdullaev says that, together with its subsidiaries, the company is cooperating in 18 production-sharing agreements with 25 companies and that 15 countries; shareholders have invested $55bn in Azerbaijan's oil and gas sector. / Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbaev says that it is necessary to begin a ‘transparent privatisation of agricultural land through tenders, as more than 9m hectares are not being used; he orders the construction of a new railway crossing the country from the border with China to the sea port of Aktau. / The Russian energy company Rosneft's list of standard benefits and remuneration for top managers shows that the monthly salary of the president has been set in the range from $290,000-390,000 (and his standard annual bonus at 150% of his annual remuneration); a bonus of 30-50% of his salary will go to the first vice-president; 20-40% to vice-presidents and 10-35% to the rest of the top managers. The tenure of the head of the company, Igor Sechin, is extended for a fuher 5 years. / Addressing an international conference entitled ‘The USSR and Latin America in the years of World War II and the Present’, Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin says that the United States is using in Ukraine ‘the same methods that Latin America experienced’.

04 May. Visiting Austria, Belaruspresident Alexandr Lukashenko says he expects the West to ‘make a number of steps in the right direction’ in relations with Belarus’ and welcomes a ‘certain warming’ of relations between Belarus and the West. In an interview with Chinese television ahead of the visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, he salutes their countries’ two decades cooperation and says that China needs a friendly country in Europe – ‘ so please make use of the advantages of Belarus's location at the centre of Europe’. / The police in Osh region of southern Kyzrgystan arrest a criminal group attracting women and their small children to Syria by claiming to send them to study free of charge at an Islamic school in Turkey. / Donetsk Region separatists accuse Kiev of artificially creating a flashpoint in Shyrokyne, near Mariupol as a way to keep Western attention on constant hostilities there.

03 May. Seven parties are contest 33 seats in parliamentary elections in Nagorny Karabakh 22 by proportional representation and 11 in single mandate constituencies; the turn-over is 70.6%. Azerbaijan and other countries do not recognise this elections, as on previous occasions. / The Right Sector website reports that the Ukrainian army has unblocked the base of the Ukrainian Volunteer Corps Right Sector in Dnipropetrovsk Region (another episode in the resistance of many volunteers to full integration).

Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan border service officials hold talks to set free three officers of the Tajikistan Drug Control Agency arrested on 30 April for overstepping the while trying to prevent smuggling of 180kg of mercury by Kyrgyzstan citizens. / In Odessa, where over 3,000 security forces plus volunteers have been deployed, around 1.000 people gather in front of the Trade Union House to pay tribute to the 42 people who died a year ago when the building caught fire after being attacked by government supporters; around 500 pro-Ukrainian activists pay tribute to the 6 of theirs activists who died in clashes.

01 May.President Ilham Aliev announces that Azerbaijan will reduce state budget spending in 2016 due to the drop in oil prices. / May Day is celebrated in Russian cities by marches, with the largest, consisting of over 140,000 people, in Moscow. In Ukraine, despite a ban, thousand demonstrate, mostly pensioners. There are clashes in Kiev, Kharkiv and Mikolaiv where nationalists shout abuses at the demonstrators. In Kiev, Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko and Russian journalists are pelted with yoghurt. / Ukraine steps up security on roads and across water in the Belarus border districts of Volyin and Rivne during the May holidays. / Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuksays that Ukraine is seeking $16bn compensation from Gazprom with the Stockholm arbitration court over amendments to the transit contract.

28 Apr. Addressing the Baku Global Open Societies Forum attended by senior officials from 72 countries President Ilham Aliev says Azerbaijan has created a new energy map in the region by opening its resources to world markets plus that of the east of the Caspian Sea. / President Vladimir Putin says that Russia has consistently followed the clauses of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and reduced its nuclear arsenal to a minimum. / The Ukrainian government announces that a wildfire on 320 hectares of woods in the Chernobyl exclusion zone is under control thanks to the intervention of more than 200 fire-fighters.

27 Apr. Armenian President Serzh Sargsian says there is no question of demanding land from Turkey. He does not consider the current authorities of Turkey to be responsible for what Ottoman functionaries did, but they sharethe burden of responsibility for it. / Kazakhstan's president Nursultan Nazarbaev is re-elected with 97.7% of the country’s votes. / At the EU-Ukraine summit in Kiev, European Council President Donald Tusk calls on Ukraine not to count on Western help alone and rules out sending a military peacekeeping mission to Ukraine; President Petro Poroshenko says that Ukraine should be ready to apply for EU membership by 2020. Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk says that the EU-Ukraine free-trade agreement will come into force on 1 January 2016 as planned, despite Russia's calls for its postponement, and calls for the EU to become a shareholder of the Ukrainian transit gas pipelines. Also for direct investments to support reforms. The EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker agrees the free-trade agreement can not be postponed again, having planned to come into force on 1 January 2015.

26 Apr. The deputy head of the Belarus Emergency Management Ministry in charge of Chernobyl, Mikhail Tsybulko, says that about 950,000 hectares of land contaminated by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident are now used for ‘traditional agricultural activities’ after proper treatment, and that 240.,000 hectares not, because of contamination. (22% of Belarus territory was affected by the accident, in 1986.). / The Kazakhstan Central Electoral commission says that over 95% voted in the snap presidential election and that no irregularities were registered. / Rossia 1 television projects a film entitled ‘President’ marking ¨President Putin’s 15 years in power; in it, he speaks of ‘lost illusions about the West’, adaptation to geopolitical reality and American support to the Russian opposition

25 Apr. French President François Hollande arrives in Baku to discuss regional problems and sign a protocol of intent on the establishment of Azerbaijani-French University. / Russian Deputy Defence Minister Nikolai Pankov says that half of the soldiers in the Russian army are now professionals.

24 Apr. Russian president Vladimir Putin attends the ceremonies marking the centenary of the Armenian genocide; he has a conversation with France President Francois Hollande. / The Russian foreign ministry urges the immediate launch of four working sub-groups on Ukraine as part of the Contact Group in order to implement various aspects of the Minsk agreements and to include the full participation of representatives of ‘individual parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions’ / Deputy Defence Minister Dmitri Bulgakov says that Russian Railway Troops have started building a 18km section of railway that will make it possible to run trains in southern Russia by-passing Ukraine. / Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko endorses the 2015 annual national programme of cooperation between Ukraine and NATO. / The Ukrainian national joint stock energy company Enerhoatom and the French company AREVA sign a contract on enriched uranium shipments.

23 Apr. Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov calls for an absolute no to spending increases, because budget revenues in 2016-2017 will be lower than planned, with an accent on budget efficiency. / The Russian Defence Ministry says that statements by the US State Department on Russia’s military presence and air defences in east Ukraine can be explained by a desire to ‘warm up’ public opinion before the NATO summit on 13-14 May. / The Ukroboronprom (Ukraine Defence Production) state concern announces the signature of agreements with French companies for the supply to Ukraine of tactical radio communications systems and single-engine helicopters, in line with agreements on military-technical cooperation reached during Ukrainian President Poroshenko's visit to France.

22 Apr. Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbaev signs a law ending full state ownership of enterprises and corporate bodies unless there is no alternative. / Consultations over unpaid wages restart at the Vostochny cosmodrome in Russia's Amur Region where another group of 20 workers have announced the intention of going on hunger strike until they are paid; inspectors of the Interior Ministry reveals that the contractor concerned has embezzled more than $930,000. / President Putin stresses the importance of developing the Russian agricultural sector he appoints former Krasnodar Territory Governor Alexandr Tkachev to the post of Agriculture Minister. / A report by the Telecommunications and Mass Communications Ministry shows that 62% of the Russian population were using the internet in 2014, a 5% increase compared to 2013; 100.000 new jobs have been created in the internet economy, leading to a total of 1.2 people working in associated companies and organisations. / In a long interview, foreign minister Sergei Lavrov says that preserving Ukraine’s territorial integrity is in Russia's national interests; that Crimea seceded from Ukraine mainly because Western partners failed to force the then Ukrainian opposition to stick to its word and form a government of national unity in February 2014. He says he is not impressed by the arrival of US forces to train Ukrainian army, because they were already doing that for 20 years, and their training of other armies, as in Afghanistan and Iraq, has not been such a success. He says that the Islamic Sate (ISIS), which came into being as a result US policy, is the ‘main enemy’ of Russia, because all the foreigners who have joined it, including Russians, will return home and cause problems - hence the need for a ‘unified strategy’ to deal with terrorism. He says Russia is ‘very much concerned’ by the delays in solving the mystery of what happened to Malaysian flight MH17 over Eastern Ukraine last July,.and asserts that the US could play an invaluable role in a Ukraine settlement because it has enormous influence on Kiev, though not necessarily participating in the Normandy Four. / In Kiev the authorities accuse oligarch Rinat Akhmetov of playing a role in the protest by over 1,000 miners near the presidential administration and the Ministry of Coal. / The Ukrainian prosecutor publishes his report on the fatal fire last year in the Odessa Trade Union Building. In it, he says that the protesters caused fire themselves and blocked themselves in the building, and that the poor handling of incendiary devices led to the death of the 30 people killed. / First Deputy Foreign Minister Natalia Halibarenko says that Ukraine has no intention of changing the text of its Association Agreement with the EU, either in the political chapters or in the chapters on creating a free trade zone.

21 Apr. During the visit of Iranian Defence Minister Hoseyn Dehqan's visit to Azerbaijan, both countries decide to set up a defence commission to deal with global and regional security and decide to take join action against religious radicalism. / Russia's chief anti-drugs officer Viktor Ivanov urges inclusion of Afghanistan in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to help the country stop drug production through alternative development. / Police break up a gathering of nationalists held in honour of Hitler’s birthday in a Moscow nightclub; 40 people are detained and arms seized. / Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigori Karasin says that Kiev's unwillingness to start a dialogue with [rebel]militias is the cause of the difficulties in the implementation of Minsk accords

20 Apr. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that thanks to a careful use of their veto at the UN Security Council (which is ‘not a privilege but a great responsibility’), Russian and China ‘manage to stop Syrian becoming another Libya’. / Deputy Defence Minister Yuri Borisov says that Russia's defence-industrial complex will get rid of dependence on Ukrainian component parts by 2017. / Ambassador-at-large of the Russian Foreign Ministry Vladimir Barbin, who is a Senior Official at the Arctic Council, says that all Russia's military activities in the Arctic are utterly open, that ‘we do not do anything in the Arctic that our partners do not do’ and excludes any militarisation in the area. / In a film about himself, president Vladimir Putin says that the West was not in a hurry to share freedom with Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union, partly because there were geopolitical interests that are not linked to any ideology at all. / At the traditional Easter reception at the diplomatic service's Mansion, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expresses concern for the Christian population of the Middle East and North Africa region which ‘suffers particularly badly from extremism and terrorism’ and whose exodus will deeply change the social structures of the Arab world. / The Lithuanian Defence Minister, Juozas Olekas, urges European countries to recognise Russia an aggressor state in Ukraine, and NATO to develop its forces for containment and defence. / The head of the Independent Miners' Trade Union of Ukraine, Mykhaylo Volynets, announces the murder of the head of a coal company appointed a month ago when travelling with his wife in eastern Ukraine. / Energy and Coal Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn says that Ukraine currently controls only 35 of its 95 mines, with a total of 52,000 workers facing job cuts; the others are located in areas controlled by militants

19 Apr. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that the door is open to Armenia, but first there must be a resolution of the Karabakh dispute. / Recovery efforts continue in Kazakhstan, where16,063 people and 43,000 heads of livestock have been evacuated since the end of March following floods through the country. / Ukrainian prime minister Arseni Yatseniuk says that he expects the finding of whoever was responsible for last week's murders of pro-Russian journalist Oles Buzyna and former MP Oleh Kalashnikov, and suggests that ‘anti-Ukrainian forces’ are seeking to destabilise the country, ‘according to the classic Russian scenario’, ahead of the May Day and Victory Day holidays.

18 Apr. Belarusian President Alexandr Lukashenko announces that he will not attend the 9 May Victory Day parade in Moscow because he has to attend the same day’s parade in Minsk - and not because he shares the position of other leaders who have refused to attend. However, he will attend celebrations in Moscow on 7-8 May. / Deputy Defence Minister Anatoli Antonov says that Russia has not frozen co-operation with the US and NATO. ‘It is interested in military cooperation; but is not going to coax, beg or implore anybody’. / The former head of Stavropol Cossack troops, Aleksandr Falko, says that six Cossacks from the Stavropol region died, and 14 were wounded, while fighting in the Donbass; and that the Russian Defence Ministry had decorated 147 Cossacks for their contribution to events in Crimea.

17 Apr. President Alexandr Lukashenko speaks of ‘reshaping’ EU-Belarus relations during a meeting with Johannes Hahn, EU commissioner for neighbourhood policy and enlargement. / Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov says that Russia has not been notified of Israel's plans to supply arms to Ukraine in response to Russia's lifting an embargo on the export of S-300 surface-to-air systems to Iran. He says that Russia hopes that Iran will be included in the next round of talks on Syria after the final agreement on the Iranian nuclear programme has been reached. / After the arrival of another group of US airborne troops, Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov says that 900 National Guardsmen will train units of Ukraine's National Guard in groups of 300 for eight weeks each. / The Ukrainian opposition bloc calls on the Security Service to investigate threats it has received from a ‘Ukrainian insurgent army’ giving ‘the people who are guilty of anti-Ukrainian and anti-people activity 72 hours’ to leave Ukraine ‘once and for all’.

16 Apr. A bi-annual Barometer of Public Opinion shows that in the event of a referendum tomorrow on Moldova's accession to the Russia-led Eurasian Union, 58% of Moldovans would vote for, and 26 against, it.. In a referendum on joining the EU, 40% would vote for and 42 against. And if asked to choose between the Eurasian Union and EU, 50% would vote for accession to the first and 32 to the second (18% of the people interviewed refused to answer). / In his annual question-and-answer session, Russian President Putin says says that Russian economy are on track to recovery within 2 years, or sooner; that there are no Russian troops fighting in Ukraine; that recent economic concessions to Ukraine, including a gas discount, are to help the Ukrainian people, who are ‘very close to us’, and because Russia is interested in calm and order on its borders; that Russia has no plans to rebuild the Soviet empire and only wants to develop cooperation with its neighbours; that Russia want to restore ‘normal life’ in the Donbass and to revive economic links between that region and the rest of Ukraine; and that he rejects any comparison between Nazism and Communism despite ‘all the ugliness of Stalin’s regime’. But he admits that the USSR's policies in Eastern Europe gave its neighbours reason to be cautious when dealing with Russia today as a consequence. He says he see radical nationalism as harmful to the integrity of the multi-ethnic, multi-religious Russian state; that ISIS ‘poses no direct threat’ to Russia but that he is concerned by the presence of Russian fighters among its forces them; and that it would be a ‘positive development’ if the Russian opposition were represented in parliament. / Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Riabkov says that Teheran will withdraw its arbitration suit now that Moscow has lifted its embargo on deliveries of S-300 air-defence systems to Iran. / The Ukrainian Defence Ministry denies armed conflicts between regular troops and volunteer units as ‘terrorists’ propaganda’.

15 Apr. The US embassy in Kyrgyzstan finally answers media speculations about the delivery on 28-30 March of a 152-tonne ‘mysterious cargo’ from the United Arab Emirates, by an Ukrainian aircraft. It was ‘ordinary cargo consisting of material for the construction of a new embassy’. / Moldovan farmers continue to block dozens of roads across the country, threatening to move to Chisinau if their months-old demands for cheaper fuel and loans are not met. / In comments of the 13 April ‘Normandy format ministerial meeting’, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov regrets the continuing economic isolation of the Donbass by Kiev, ‘contrary t the Minsk agreements’. / Russian. / Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin says that the authorities will investigate every alleged instance of members of the OSCE monitoring mission passing reconnaissance data to the rebels. Rebel representatives say that NATO intelligence services conduct activities under the cover of the OSCE mission to help Ukrainian artillery locate targets. / The Ukrainian police confirm the fatal shooting, in the entrance of his Kiev flat, of former MP from the pro-Yanukovich Party of Regions Oleh Kalashnykov.

14 Apr. Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev says that the terms of delivery of Russian S-300 anti-air systems to Iran depend on the Russian manufacturers and may take half a year to complete. / President Putin’s press secretary Dmitri Peskov and deputy foreign minister Sergei Riabkov confirm that Russia has begun to implement a deal over the supply of goods in exchange for Iranian oil. / Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev says that the integration of Crimea and Sevastopol into the Russian Federation is complete now that all services accountable to the Finance Ministry are working normally in the region. / Crimean government head Sergei Axenov announces the allocation of $3.2m to set up a Public Crimean Tatar TV station to replace ATR TV, closer earlier.

13 Apr. Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliev calls EU to make its duty and eliminate ‘artificial’ obstacles to the implementation of the South Gas Corridor project. / The Kremlin’s spokesman Dmitri Peskov says that discussion of global issues without Russia, particularly at the G7 summit, is unlikely to be effective; and that Russia is ‘open to all forms of cooperation’. / Deputy Foreign Minister Riabkov says that Russia will continue to supply food to Iran in exchange for oil because these supplies are ‘neither banned nor regulated’ by the existing sanctions. / The secretary of the Russian Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, says that Moscow is alarmed by Ukraine's new national security strategy covering the period up to 2020, launched last week, which names Russian policy as a key threat to the country, and quotes as priorities to national development membership of NATO and a reduction of economic relations with Russia. / Russian President Vladimir Putin lifts the ban for the sale of S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Iran. Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov recalls that the deal was put on hold voluntarily by Moscow to help international mediators and talks about the Iranian nuclear programme. / Energy Minister Alexandr Novak says that Russia is not planning to deliver gas through Ukraine once the current transit contract ends in 2019. He says all efforts are now focused on building the infrastructure to transport gas to Turkey.

12 Apr. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif starts a two-day official visit to Kazakhstan for talks and to prepare the visit of president Nursultan Nazarbaev to Tehran. / The death toll in the fires affecting towns and villages in Khakassia reach 20. / Calling for national unity in faith, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko attends successively three Easter services in Kiev at churches depending of the Kiev Patriarchate, the Greek Catholic Church and the Moscow Patriarchate.

11 Apr. Russia condemns as NATO move to cut the Russian delegation’s size at its headquarters as another paranoid vision of a so-called Russian threat. / Ukrainian officials claim that Russia is reinforcing militants in the east with ‘volunteer mercenaries’ and convicts released from prison condition they join the rebel’s side. / Three more Communist-era monuments (of Sergo Ordzhonikidze, Nikolai Rudnev and Yakov Sverdlov) are pulled down in Kharkiv. Police watch without intervening even though a law condemning the exhibition of Communist and Nazi symbols still not entered into force.

10 Apr. The deputy prime minister of the Crimean government, Ruslan Balbek, says that by promoting a meeting of the World Congress of the Crimean Tatars in Ankara, the former leader of the Tatar Majlis and Ukrainian parliamentary deputy Mustafa Dzhemilev aims to drive a wedge between Russia and Turkey; he says that Dzhemilev is working closely with a political opponent of the Turkish president, Fethullah Gulen. / The first deputy director of the Russian FSB, Sergei Smirnov, says that ISIS represents a real threat to the security of Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states and is starting to infiltrate other terrorist formations there. / On the 71st birthday of Odessa’s liberation from German occupation, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says that 50 ‘saboteurs’ arrested by the SBU were planning acts on the 1-2 May holidays. At the same time he promises to revive the Navy as a key element of Ukrainian security and to develop coastal areas in the Odessa, Mykolayiv and Kherson regions. Protesters call forjustice for those killed on 2 May last year, most of them anti-Maidan protesters burned in the Trade Union house. / The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry praises Czech President Milos Zeman's refusal to attend the 9 May WWII Victory anniversary parade in Moscow and repeats a statement that the presence of foreign countries leaders to this event is ‘absolutely unacceptable when Russia is the aggressor itself’. / Ukrainian defence ministry withdraws the OUN (Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists) volunteer battalion from the East Ukrainian operational zone because its stationing on the front line (in Donetsk Region) has not contributed to ‘protecting the lives and health of Ukrainian Armed Forces [regular] personnel and fully implementing the Minsk agreements’.

9 Apr. By 254 votes, the Ukrainian parliament passes bills banning propaganda statements and symbols linked to Communism and Nazism, including the renaming of sites and streets with Communist-linked names; another bill recognises members of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army as fighters for Ukraine's independence; a third makes the Day of Memory and Reconciliation in Ukraine on 8 May a day in honour of all WWII victims. / The Kremlin slams the Ukrainian parliament’s proclamation equating Nazism with Communism, also President Poroshenko's statement, in which he put the blame for unleashing World War II on Hitler and Stalin just as Russia and its allies were preparing in the Victory Day anniversary. / The Ukrainian parliament passes a bill separating gas transport and storage services, in line with the Ukraine-EU association agreement; it also bans free use of state gas pipelines by private operators.

8 Apr. Russian presidential press secretary Dmitri Peskov says that hackers are attempting to attack the Kremlin computer systems ‘several hundred times per day, predominantly from abroad’. / It is reported that Russian businessman Dmitriy Kovtun, whom a British investigation regards as a suspect in the murder of Alexandr Litvinenko in London in 2006, may have accidentally poisoned himself with polonium. / Russian Deputy Minister for the Development of the Far East Maxim Shereikin says that North Korea is prepared to send ‘an unlimited number’ of workers to the Russian Far East and may become an alternative to China as a supplier of cheap labour. / Russian Labour and Social Protection Minister Maxim Topilin denies that mass redundancies are expected as factory lay-offs grow, because (he says) all enterprises carried out restructuring after the last economic crisis. / President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras sign a Joint Action Plan between the Russian Federation and the Greek Republic for 2015-2016. / The 17 March Ukrainian parliamentary resolution designating areas of special self-government regime in the Donetsk and Luhansk, valid for three years, comes into force. It includes areas under rebel control but also railway stations, passing loops and major road intersections.

7 Apr. Ahead of talks in Moscow with his Russian counterpart, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi says that both their countries will continue working closely to resume the multilateral talks on North Korea's nuclear program, which have been dormant since 2008. / Russian presidential press secretary Dmitri Peskov says that Moscow will not hinder the work of Ukrainian media, because Russia does not believe in ‘responding in an uncivilised manner to uncivilised behaviour’. Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk urges supporters of Josef Stalin to ‘sober up’ by visiting the mass graves of people executed under his regime. / Russia's finance minister from 2000 to 2011, Alexei Kudrin, says he has turned down invitations to rejoin the government because of ‘half-hearted’ reforms.

6 Apr. Chechen elders in villages of Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge appeal to the government for help after another departure of local boys to fight in Syria. / Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that the West, by its insistence regarding the sanctions issue, has delayed the signing of an agreement with Iran on nuclear activity with. He says Russia is disappointed that members of the international coalition took action against the Huthis in Yemen without consulting the UN Security Council; that the US is not interested in peace in Ukraine and is now ‘running the show’ through lower ranking officials, NGOs and other foundations; and that the US is trying, but failing, to curb ties between absolutely ‘all countries’ and Russia. / Opening the first session of a constitutional commission, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says he favours decentralisation over federalisation, and that says Ukrainian will ‘100% remain the state language’. The speaker of the ‘Donestsk People’s Republic’ says that a unitary state and single language are ‘unacceptable’ and contrary to the Minsk Agreements.

5 Apr. Several thousands people attend an opposition rally in Baku to protest against the Ajerbaijan government’s socio-economic policies, which have led to the devaluation of the manta. / President Petro Poroshenko says that Ukraine has emerged winner from the gas dispute with Russia, thanks to the diversification of supplies and, ‘for the first time in history, the absence of personal [pecuniary] interest in the gas industry by the country's highest leadership. / The head of the Ukrainian Volunteer Corps, and leader of the ultra-nationalist party Right Sector, Dmytro Yarosh, is appointed adviser to the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces. / The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) closes a company in Cherkasy Region that was buying coal from ‘terrorist-held territories’.

04 Apr. Russia's representative at the joint centre for control and coordination of ceasefire in east Ukraine, Col-Gen Alexandr Lentsov, says that current mistrust is arises from the activity of the Ukrainian volunteer battalions, and that violations of the Minsk cease-fire will stop if they leave. / Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov invites representatives of foreign states and media outlets to visit Crimea if they wish to get first hand information about the situation there – via Russia and not via Ukraine; he says laws have been passed to solve problems of the Tatars, including the question of their political representation, the use of the Tatar language, and the allocation of land. / Ukrainian SBU head Valentyn Nalyvaychenko says that the security service will cut its payroll from 31,000 to 27,000. Moscow denies a rumour that planes used to evacuate Russian and other nationals from the Yemen were also used to deliver arms. /At a meeting of CIS countries' foreign ministers in Bishkek, four members (Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Moldova) out of 11 refuse to sign a document due to be submitted to the OSCE expressing dissatisfaction with sanctions against Russia, without mentioning, at Kiev request, Russia’s role in the Donbass.

03 Apr. South Ossetian president Leonid Tibilov hails the interstate deal ratified unanimously by parliament on alliance and integration with Russia; signed in Moscow on 18 March. / Transdniestr foreign minister Nina Shtanski accuses Ukraine of seriously damaging having the economy by toughening the trade rules and closing customs checkpoints, allegedly under US and EU pressure.. / Russian oil companies express cautious hope of resuming work in Iran in the framework deal provisionally reached in Lausanne.

02 Apr. The defence ministers of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey reassert trilateral cooperation, adding that it is directed towards regional stability and is not against any side. / The KGB of Transdniestr warns of infliltration by Ukrainian nationalists seeking to destabilise the situation in the republic. / Russian president Vladimir Putin is said to be receiving regularly updates about the rescue operation of a trawler in the Okhotsk Sea which killed 54 – also of the situation in Yemen, where the Russian Consulate-General in Aden has been hit by Saudi bombing and then ransacked by Huthi insurgents. The evacuation of Russian and CIS citizens, plus any foreigners wanting to leave, continues for the third day. / The Crimean government leader Sergei Axenov backs a proposal by the Tatar movement ‘Krym’ to create a Tatar public television channel to replace ATR (suspended on 1 March for failing to obtain registration). / Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Riabkov says that the framework agreement between the P5+1 group and Iran contains many Russian proposals.

01 Apr. Moldovan president Nicolae Timofti announces that neither he nor Moldovan servicemen will attend the Victory Day parade in Moscow. At the same time a special medal, without the Soviet sickle and hammer, will be awarded to all living 2,300 veterans, including 114 who served in the Romanian army and fought on the side of the Germans between 1941 and 1944. / The Russian state oil company Rosneftannounces that it has reached a settlement if all disputes with Yukos, in connection with legal arguments conducted the Netherlands, Britain, Russia, the US and other jurisdictions. A spokeswoman for former Yukos shareholders says this does not does not affect Yukos-related court cases against Russia. / Russian investigators raid a confectionary factory in Lipetsk belonging to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in an inquiry into an alleged $3.15bn tax fraud. / The Ukrainian Prosecutor-General's Office refuses to extradite former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili, saying the Georgian request was politically motivated.


31 Mar.Belarus parliament speaker Vladimir Andreichanko urges deputies to have closer contacts with their EU colleagues as a way to normalise relations with their countries and international organisations. / In his annual address to Georgia’s parliament, President Giorgi Margvelashvili calls for more efforts to counter the ‘soft power’ Russia is using to establish dominance over Georgia and other former Soviet countries, and urges an increase pro-European propaganda. / Crimea’s tourist organisations lay out a project for attracting Chinese visitors by offering them a visa-free destination. / A poll by Levada shows a growing number of Russians (38%; as against 21% in 2012) who say that Stalin’s policies must be judged by the ‘great results achieved’; 41% believe that ‘nothing’ can justify the ‘sacrifices’ entailed down from 58% in 2008 and 61% in 2012. / Russian president Vladimir Putin backs proposals to extend the gas discount for Ukraine for three months. / The Polish Defence Ministry says that it is planning to train 50 Ukrainian military instructors up to NATO standards.. / The Ukrainian opposition presents a shadow government headed by Borys Kolesnikov, a senior politician of the Party of Regions of ousted President Viktor Yanukovych. The leadership aims to rebuild the Donbass and improve social protection.

30 Mar. The head of Russia's anti-narcotics authority, Viktor Ivanov, says that treatment rather than punishment of drug addicts would be more efficient and cheaper, but calls for a tougher line on the earnings of drug dealers. / The deputy head of the Main Anti-Extremism Directorate of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, Vladimir Makarov, says that events have divided the Russian extremists and nationalists; and that the police are trying to prevent their participation on either side in the armed conflict on the Ukrainian territory. / Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev approves a restructuring of loans taken out by regions, with payment deferred from 2025 to 2034. / The Uzbekistan Central Electoral Commission announces the results of 29 March election in which President Islam Karimov won 90.39% of the vote, with a 82% turnout..

29 Mar. In central Chisinau, hundreds of youths mark the 97th anniversary of Bessarabia’s integration with Romania; seeing see reunification as a way to EU integration. / In his speech at the closing session of the Arab summit in Sharm al-Sheikh, Saudi Foreign Minister Sa'ud al-Faysal responds to a message from president Putin by asking how Russia can propose solutions when it is part of the Syrian problem; he says that Arab states need Russia's support on international issues and that he sees Russia as a ‘friendly country’ with good intention towards the Arab world. / Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrives in Switzerland talks on the Iranian nuclear programme. / Ukrainian prime minister Arseni Yatseniuk says he works together with president Petro Poroshenko to fight corruption, and he promises public competitions would for choose the heads of state-owned companies.

28 Mar. During his visit to Brussels, Kyrgyzstan president Almazbek Atambaev and the EU sign a €30m aid accord, the first tranche of a €184m programme for 2014-20. / Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko says that the military situation in eastern Ukraine has considerably improved thanks to the strengthening of the army, the reception of hardware from abroad and a drastic boosting of domestic arms production. / Several thousands singing patriotic songs rally in Dnipropetrovsk; two former deputies of the regional administration declare their support for a new team to help ‘to defend the region’; the regional Bishop, Simeon of the Kiev Patriarchate, awards former governor Ihor Kolomoysky an order for his love of Ukraine; and representatives of the Aydar and Kryvbas battalions address the crowd.Ukrainian MP Serhiy Leshchenko of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc says that a phone call from US Vice-President Joe Biden to Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk asking him to show unity with president Poroshenko and withdraw his support from Dnipropetrovsk governor Ihor Kolomoysky played the decisive role in the latter’s resignation.

27 Mar. The newly appointed US ambassador to Azerbaijann Robert Cekuta, says that his country remains a strong supporter of Azerbaijan's efforts to diversify energy supplies to Europe. / The Moldovan Defence ministry says that 120 members of the North Carolina National Guards took part in joint military exercise called ‘Travel Contact Team 2015’ near Chisinau. / The Russian foreign ministry welcomes the UN blacklisting of Aliaskhab Kebekov, leader of the Caucasus Emirate terrorist organisation. / Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulates Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on his electoral success and discusses bilateral and regional issues, especially Yemen. / Finance Minister Anton Siluanov says that Russia considers itself Ukraine's official creditor and is not planning to restructure or prolong its $3bn debt; however, it is treating the situation with understanding. / Ukrainian MP Serhiy Leshchenko of the Petro Poroshenko

26 Mar. Turkish Parliament Speaker Cemil Cicek accuses Armenia of hampering bilateral ties by ‘exploiting’ past events.. / The twenty-second convoy with Russian aid arrives in eastern Ukraine. / President Vladimir Putin says that NATO is trying to ‘contravene nuclear parity’ by developing its infrastructure near Russian borders. / The Russian Academy of Sciences saus it is cutting the funding of scientific institutes by 5% because of the economic crisis. / The Russian and Iranian Presidents, Vladimir Putin and Hasan Rouhani, discuss Iranian nuclear programme and the situation in Yemen by telephone, at Iran’s initiative. / Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Ukrainian troops threatening OSCE staff should be prosecuted. / Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko warns against destabilising the Dnipropetrovsk Region, and praises ex-governor Ihor Kolomoysky for his patriotism. / The Ukrainian ministry of interior announces that the leader of the far-right party ‘Right Sector’, Dmytro Yarosh, has been offered a post in the Ministry. The move follows a denial by the General Staff that has issued an ultimatum to Right Sektor and a declaration by Right Sektor that it was ready to fight in the east under Defence Ministry command or as a separate unit under Yarosh. / Visiting Dnipropetrovsk, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says that the Pivdenmash rocket factory (formerly under the direction of that president Kuchma) will receive state orders and benefit from cooperation with Turkey in a large-scale space programme.

25 Mar. Crimean deputy premier Ruslan Balbek welcomes a Turkish delegation of local powers and businessmen ‘to see Crimea’s development and to dispel hostile propaganda’. / Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov ends a tour of Latin America in Cuba where he salutes ‘special bilateral relations dating back many decades’ and promises support for a lifting of the UN-imposed blockade. / During a private meeting, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko dismisses the governor of Dnipropetrosvk, Ihor Kolomoisky; two of his deputies resign. / Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk says that ‘the military option is not the best to stop Russia aggression, but that ‘success in preventing Russian terrorists is hard to achieve without weapons or a strong army’.

24 Mar. The head of the Crimean government Sergei Axenov says that the authorities cannot envisage Crimea without the Tatars. / A poll by Levada Centre shows that 68% of Russians believe their country is a great power, the highest proportion in the past 15 years; 69% believe that Russia plays a decisive or fairly important role in resolving international problems; 60% favour an expansion of economic, political and cultural ties and rapprochement with the West, 29% favour a reduction; 63% believe that Russia is ‘genuinely under threat from domestic and foreign enemies’; and 23% believe that threats are talked about in order to frighten the population and make it an obedient puppet in the hands of the authorities. / Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk says constitutional changes should be submitted to a referendum. / A poll by the Razumkov Centre, which does not include Donbass and Crimea, suggests that Ukraine’s incumbent President Petro Poroshenko would be re-elected by 19.4% of Ukrainians, followed by Self-Help leader Andri Sadovy (6.5%), Opposition Bloc leader Yiri Boiko (3.8%) and Yulia Tymoshenko (3.7%), with prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk sixth 6th with 2.9%. / Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov wants government companies to be guarded exclusively by state security firms; some licences will be withdrawn after the incident at UkrNafta in central Kiev.

23 Mar. Controversy follows the victory of Irina Vlakh as governor of Gagauzia autonomous regions with 51.1% of the vote, a non-affiliated PM, because of alleged Russia support through the opposition Party of Socialists of Moldova. / The head of Russia's state financial monitoring service, in charge of preparing a capital amnesty, tells President Vladimir Putin that the sending of a letter by the British authorities to Russians with bank accounts in the UK, asking them to ‘explain’ the origin of the money, might signal an intention to prevent the return of those financial resources to Russia. / A poll by the Levada Centre shows that only 8% of Russians want to have exactly the same borders as the USSR, including the three Baltic states, down from 17%; the vast majority want to stay with current borders after the ‘return’ of Crimea and reject the idea that ‘Russia must use any means, including force, to keep the former republics under its control’. / Vladimir Chizhov, Russia's permanent envoy to the EU, says that Berlin and Paris understand that the Ukrainian government is ‘violating’ the Minsk accords. / Ukrainian parliament speaker Volodymyr Hroysman signs the parliament resolution defining certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions as ‘temporarily occupied ones’. / The Ukrainian Security Service accuses officials of the Dnipropetrovsk regional administration of supporting armed criminal groups in Donetsk and Dnipropetrovsk regions. / A poll by Research and Branding Group suggests that 58% of Ukrainians do not support the actions of President Petro Poroshenko (33% do), and that 68% do not support the actions of Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk (while 24% do). / President Petro Poroshenko says that the Ukrainian army is currently among the top five armies in Europe and is now the more trusted institution in the country, ‘even more than the church’.

22 Mar. Ukrainian MP Nestor Shufrych of the Opposition Bloc faction confirms the death of the younger son of former president Viktor Yanukovych, also called Viktor, drowned in Lake Baikal.

21 Mar. Demonstrators carrying flags of Georgia, the EU, NATO, Ukraine, the US, and Azerbaijan rally in Tbilisi in support of calls of former ruling party, now in opposition, demanding the government’s resignation because of its economic failures. Former president Mikeil Saakashvili sends a message from Brussels.. / On the second day of his first official visit to Ukraine, Turkish president Recep Erdogan, offers a $50 million loan to Ukraine and calls for the protection of Crimean Tatars, but avoids outright criticism of Russia. / President Petro Poroshenko sees a ‘hope for peaceful settlement’ despite the ongoing armed conflict in eastern Ukraine.

20 Mar. The three presidents of the Eurasian Economic Union (Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus) meet in Astana to discuss aspects of their cooperation. Russia's Permanent Representative to the UN, Vitali Churkin, says that the recent law on the special status of Donbass, signed by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, effectively deprives the self-proclaimed republics of this status and contradicts the Minsk agreements. / After denials from the military, the Donetsk regional police admit that Ukrainian troops have blown up a bridge in the region to thwart an assault by ‘terrorists’. / Ukrainian Energy Minister Demchyshyn suspends the head of the Ukrtransnafta 51% state-owned company for siphoning funds in favour of its main shareholder, the Pryvat group of oligarch, and Dnipropetrovsk Region governor, Ihor Kolomoisky. Unknown armed men and Kolomoisky barricade themselves in the HQ of the company in Kiev.Llater Kolomoysky, says a deal has been reached with the President and the prime minister . / The Ukrainian defence ministry announces the arrival of 35 British military instructors in the Mykolaiv and Rivne regions; training will include teach how to defend cities cleared of militants and ensure the conduct of elections there.

19 Mar. The Azerbaijan ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources sues BP after drilling mud leaks into the Caspian Sea from a drilling platform belonging to the British company. / The Secretary of Russia's Security Council Nikolai Patrushev warns of the growing influence of Finnish nationalists on Russia via NGOs in Karelia. / The Russian president's spokesman says that Moscow is expecting France and Germany to present their assessment of the bill for the self-governance of he Donbass passed by the Ukrainian parliament. / The Secretary-General of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, Nikolai Bordiuzha, says that the CSTO is ready to allocate some of its well trained peacekeeping troops for settling the conflict in Ukraine.

18 Mar. Chairing a meeting of the organising committee for the upcoming Victory Day celebrations, Russian president Vladimir Putin complains of attempts to distort the events of the war, including ‘impudent defamation of an entire generation who gave up everything for this Victory’ and to reduce the decisive role of the Soviet Union in the Nazism’s defeat. / Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin says Russia cannot on its own electronics in defence production and must find a level of cooperation for the moment, despite sanctions; it has already solved problems it encountered in receiving the money earned from its arms exports. / Russian Ambassador to South Korea Alexandr Timonin joins China in opposing the possible deployment of an anti-ballistic missile system in South Korea. / Marking the first anniversary of the ‘return’ of Crimea, Russian President Vladimir Putin says that the Western sanctions are ‘not fatal, but damaging’. / Kuwaiti and Russian officials start a three-day session to discuss investment and cooperation in energy and technical fields.. / Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu says that 76,000 military personnel, 10,000 armoured vehicles, 65 warships, 16 support ships, 15 submarines, and 200 planes and helicopters are involved in the Northern Fleet's snap inspection exercise.. / The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry says that free and fair democratic election in the Donbass at the end of the year will help stabilise the situation and warns Russia against ‘obstructing the democratic vote’. President Poroshenko signs the law on self-government in the rebel areas; the rebels call it a ‘violation of Minsk agreement’ because it postpones the granting of a special governing status, and arbitrarily redraws local maps . / Ukrainian parliament speaker Volodymyr Hroysman signs a law banning films ‘distorting history’ and ‘promoting the aggressor state’, i.e Russia.

17 Mar. In Kars, the Azerbaijani, Georgian and Turkish presidents attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the $45bn Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), part of the Southern Gas Corridor, which will ship natural gas from Azerbaijan through Turkey to Europe. / By 265 votes, the Ukrainian parliament adopts amendments to the law on special self-government in some territories of Donbass; the regime will come into force only after local government bodies, elected according to the Ukrainian law, are sworn in. Parliament also passes a law declaring some areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions occupied territories and appeals to the UN and the EU Council to deploy a peacekeeping mission to Ukraine. / Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that proposals of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko granting special status to separatist areas in eastern Ukraine do not comply with Minsk cease-fire agreement and appeals to French and German colleagues to step up efforts to ensure the agreement’s unconditional and full implementation. / Rebels say the amendments make nonsense of the law on eastern Ukraine’s special status. / By 345 votes, Ukraine’s parliament adopts a law allowing foreign troops to take part in international military exercises in the country in 2015.

16 Mar. A survey conducted by the CBS-AXA company shows a rise among Moldovans dissatisfied with living standards (65%) and their economic situation (84%); also that 72% believe that the country is moving in the wrong direction. / Reappearing after speculation about his health, Russian President Vladimir Putin jokes that ‘life would be boring without gossip’; he was receiving Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambaev in St Petersburg to discuss the Eurasian Economic Union. / Reacting to EU concern about a rise in the Russian military presence in Crimea, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov says that, Crimea being part of Russian territory, Moscow decides for itself what military presence to have in the region. / A survey commissioned by the European Council on Foreign Relations shows that events in Crimea and Ukraine have not prevented 61% of Bulgarians from retaining their fondness for Russia. It says 54% have not changed their attitude, 7% have increased their sympathy, and 40% have a negative attitude towards Russia.) Asked who could provide a positive end to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, 51% said Vladimir Putin, 31% Angela Merkel, 25% Barack Obama, and 2-4% EU leaders. / Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko sends parliament a bill on self-governance in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, providing for changes in line with the those adopted in the first Minsk agreement of September 2014.

15 Mar. To mark the first year of the ‘return of Crimea to Russia’, Rossia 1 TV shows a film ‘Crimea: road to the motherland’ containing a interview with president Putin in which he describes how he has been dealing with events personally. He says that he had to anticipate further developments when Ukrainian president Yanukovich was overthrown, especially as Western partners were not clear about intervening militarily; that he ordered GRU forces to be deployed to Crimea to disarm the Ukrainian units, first using dissuasion, as the commander-in -chief was no longer the one to whom they had taken their oath; that Russia ‘did not violate anything’ by secretly sending troops to Crimea in February 2014, because it respected the bilateral Russian-Ukrainian treaty and stayed below the authorised limits of 20.000 troops; that Russia never thought of taking over Crimea before the ‘nationalist coup’ in Kiev threatened the security of its inhabitants; and that he was proud to have saved the life of ex-president Yanukovich and his family whom the ‘plotters’ in Kiev wanted to kill. / Igor Strelkov, former defence minister of the ‘Donetsk People's Republic’, urges president Putin to get though on Ukraine if he does not want to share the fate of Emperor Nicholas II or Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic. / A deputy head of the Ukrainian Antiterrorist Operation says that ‘more than 43,000 terrorists are fighting in the Donbass, including 8.600 Russian troops. / Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko says that ‘Minsk is not working’ because Russia is violating the cease-fire regime; he calls for further Western sanctions and for a boycott of the football World Cup in Russia in 2018.

14 Mar. Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs Edward Nalbandian says he ‘would prefer Russia not to sell arms to Azerbaijan’, and salutes the work of the Minsk Group Co-Chairs. / Ukrainian doctors are given access to Nadia Savchenko, the pilot held in Moscow on charges of involvement in the death of two Russian journalists while fighting with a volunteer battalion near Luhansk last summer; they say her health ‘satisfactory’. / The head of the Crimean government, Sergei Axenov, says that about 3,000 Crimeans have refused to take Russian passports, including 500 Tatars.

13 Mar. Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov and other prominent members of the liberal opposition Civic Platform leave the party, finalising a split due to members' differences over Ukraine. / The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry welcomes the decision to extend the mandate of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine to 31 March 2016 and to double the number of monitors to 1.000. / The defence minister of the ‘Donetsk Republic’ says that the majority of members of the Donbass militia are volunteers and local residents, less than a third being foreigners who come from Russia but also from Belarus, France, Sweden, etc. / A February poll conducted by GfK Ukraine shows that a third of Ukrainians favour concessions to the East Ukrainian rebels to stop the bloodshed. It suggests that 21% refuse any concessions and believe Kiev should instead mobilise the population, seek Western assistance and liberate Donbass through military means. / Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says he is confident of getting lethal weapons if the military aggression against his country intensifies and that Ukraine already has signed contracts on arms supplies, including of lethal weapons, with 11 countries of the EU. He accuses the Russia authorities of obstructing the sale of his sweets factory there.

12 Mar. Azerbaijani Energy Minister Natiq Aliev says that Baku is not competing with Russia for European gas exports via South Stream or via Turkish Stream. / Diplomats of Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia agree on a ‘common vision’ at the EU Eastern Partnership at the next summit in Riga on 21-22 May. They will jointly seek easier access to funds provided by EU programmes and agencies. / Russia’s envoy to the EU,, Vladimir Chizhov says that, in from Russia’s point of view, the new ‘EU energy union’ project has both downsides (reducing dependence from Russia) and upsides (liberalisation, which will create a competitive environment, including for Russia). / Russian President Vladimir Putin introduces the post of deputy foreign minister for countering terrorism within the Foreign Ministry. / The lawyer of Zaur Dadaev, one of the men charged with the murder of Boris Nemtsov, dismisses suggestion his client was physically or psychologically tortured in order to confess. / President Petro Poroshenko says that Ukraine is ‘conducting two parallel processes’ by strengthening its fighting potential in tandem with fulfilling the Minsk cease-fire accords. / Ukrainian Opposition Bloc party accuses the authorities of driving officials and politicians to suicide, and urges international inquiries, following the fourth suicide by aThe former members of the Party of Regions in a short period.

11 Mar. The Belarusian Foreign Ministry praises the decision of the US State Department to lift sanctions against the state oil company Belarusneft imposed four years ago. / The Abkhazia government, Raul Khadzhimba, says that an open border regime with Russia does not mean there is no border. / New tensions erode the Moldovan government prospects as one of the pro-European parties sets new conditions for joining the minority ruling coalition, (mainly related to the role of the National Bank in the disappearance of $1bn), and a second deputy foreign minister resigns. / . Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin says that a joint European army should not only react to conflicts inside the EU but also to threats in neighbouring countries which are potential members of the union. / The head of Naftogaz Ukrainy says that Gazprom is ‘not in position to dictate to Ukraine’ as winter is ending and reserves are still high; the company will negotiate on the basis of ‘transparent and competitive market prices’.

10 Mar. Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov says that Russia would like to know more about what EU President Jean-Claude Juncker had in mind when he recently called for the creation of a European army. Senior European parliamentarians are more critical, speaking of ‘paranoia’ and risk to splitting Europe / Russia ratifies the restructuring of a 2.5bn euros loan to Cyprus to help mend its deteriorating economy. / The Ukrainian ministry of defence says it will allocate $600m to building up its arms stocks this year, nearly a third of the total defence budget. / Local officials of Fariab Province in northern Afghanistan report that 200 Uzbek militants have joined the Taliban who are laying mines and planting bombs on roads, and clashing with government field forces. / Turkish police arrest three Tajiks suspected of killing the leader of the Tajik opposition movement ‘Group 24’, Umarali Kuvatov, a former tycoon turned opponent and living in exile.

09 Mar. Russian President Vladimir Putin awards Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov the Order of Honour for ‘work achievements, strenuous social activities and long conscientious service’. Duma member Andrei Lugovoi, the main suspect in the Litivinenko murder, receives a medal ‘for merit to the Fatherland’. / Two more people are arrested in the inquiry concerning the murder of Boris Nemtsov. The chief suspect, Zaur Dadaev, former deputy commander of the Chechen battalion Sever, has allegedly confessed that he was motivated by Nemtsov’s negative comments on Russian Muslims and enlisted two of his nephews who were familiar with the city of Moscow. / Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says that both sides in the Donbass conflict have pulled back much of their heavy weaponry from the line of contact and that artillery fire has ceased along most of the front.

08 Mar. In Grozny, a man suspected of the Nemtsov’s murder blows himself up as he is surrounded by police. Five suspects of the murder appear in a Moscow court; two are charged, one of them admitting his guilt. / On Women’s Day, the speaker of the Donetsk People's Republic, Andrei Purgin, asks German Chancellor Angela Merkel to exert influence on Kiev to improve the position of women in the Donbass where many mothers and pensioners are being deprived of legal social benefits by a ‘social blockade’. / It is announced that Ukrainian troops have completed the fourth stage of the withdrawal of artillery from the front line. / Oleksandr Hladky, who calls himself the leader of the Ukrainian partisan movement ‘Shadows’, claims responsibility for an attempt on the life of the leader of the Ghost militant brigade, rebel commander Alexei Mozgovoy; the commander was injured, three guards were killed and five injured.

7 Mar. The Russian FSB announces that four suspects in Boris Nemtsov’s murder, all Chechens residing in Ingushetia, have been detained. / Deputy Foreign Minister Grigori Karasin says that Russia supports the earliest possible creation of working groups on a settlement of the conflict in Ukraine but regrets that the Ukrainian authorities are trying to slow down the process. Holding a meeting with those willing to fight against Russian troops in Ukraine, the head of the Georgian Legion fighting in Donbas, Mamuka Mamulashvili, says that at present, Ukraine needs military infrastructure rather than additional human resources; he rejects as ‘complete lie’ a report that Georgian fighters returning from Ukraine are preparing provocations during a 21 March opposition rally.

06 Mar. Azerbaijan announces that it is cutting its budget allocation for the inaugural Eurasian Games in Baku in June - to $1.07bn instead of an officially planned $1.66bn (the opposition puts the cost at $7.6bn). / The Ukrainian foreign ministry recommends that nationals abstain from visiting Russia for a while, unless their visit is really necessary, due to the actions of Russian law enforcers. / After a meeting between Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn and US Deputy Energy Secretary Edward McGinnis, Ukraine says the US is ready to help it to carry out nuclear energy projects - technically and by helping to raise funds for reforming the sector. The announcement confirms deals signed in late 2014 and early 2015 to reduce dependency from Russia.

05 Mar. Receiving Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, President Vladimir Putin says he regards Italy (the fourth commercial partner) as one of Russia's privileged partners in the world despite the difficulties in relations with the EU. / The Russian Foreign Ministry says that the entry of NATO ships into the Black Sea is a provocative act, which will not facilitate the peace process in Ukraine. / Deputy Defence Minister Anatoli Antonov says that Russia is concerned about ISIS approaching the southern borders of the territory Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO); he points to NATO’s ‘incapacity’ to ensure security against an incursion through Afghan territory. / The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry announces it has ceased to accredit Russian media for media events, including press conferences. / By 270 votes, the Ukrainian parliament votes to expand the armed forces to 250,000 - up from 184,000 under the 2012 law). / The Luhansk and Donestk rebel authorities criticise, as running counter the Minsk accords, the setting up by President Petro Poroshenko of five military and civil administrations in Donetsk Region and 13 in Luhansk Region. / The Ukrainian Defence Ministry denies that US troops are on its soil, contradicting reports by Moscow that 300 American airborne troops have moved from Italy to a location near Lviv.

04 Mar. In Sofia, the Bulgarian and Azerbaijan presidents, Rosen Plevneliev and Ilham Aliev, rally to the idea of resurrecting Nabucco as a part of their efforts to increase energy cooperation. / During the visit of defence minister Sergei Shoigu, Russia and Egypt sign a military cooperation agreement. / During his working visit to Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev says that Russia is ready to share with its partners its know-how on thwarting colour revolutions. / Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko declares a day of mourning for 33 coalminers who died in Donetsk.

03 Mar. Danish and Polish Foreign Ministers, Martin Lidegaard and Grzegorz Schetyna, promise EU assistance for modernising Moldova during a meeting with President Nicolae Timofti. / The lawyer of fugitive NSA contractor Edward Snowden says he is ready to leave Russia and return to the USA provided he is granted a fair trial. / Thousands pay respect to murdered Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov before his burial in Moscow. / President Vladimir Putin lauds the role of the Union State of Russia and Belarus, now 15 years old, as model for integration in the post-Soviet space. / Russia's permanent representative to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, says that the refusal of entry visas for two Latvian officials and the president of the Polish Senate were not linked to Boris Nemtsov’s funeral but to their presence on a list of people banned from entry in connexion with sanctions initiated by EU. / The only museum in Russia created on the site of a former gulag camp, Perm-36, is said to be closing due to regional pressure and lack of funds. / EU and Russia agree to resume talks on implementing of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, taking Russian concerns into consideration but without formally reviewing the Agreement. / Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko sets up a commission on constitutional amendments.

02 Mar. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe calls on Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin to implement the cease-fire between government forces and separatists. / The Federal Protection Service says that its cameras could not have recorded the killing of Boris Nemtsov because they are trained on the Kremlin; but that the city cameras were fonctionning. / The Russian foreign ministry welcomes the new UN resolution on continuing the tradition of celebrating each quinquennial anniversary of the end of WWII, and declaring May 8 and 9 to be a days of remembrance and reconciliation. / Miners and energy workers protest outside the Ukrainian parliament and the Cabinet of Ministers office against the purchase of foreign coal, and delayed salaries. / The Aydar volunteer battalion is reformed as an assault unit of the Ukrainian army. / At its fifth attempt the Ukrainian parliament amends the 2015 budget and passes bills needed to obtain an IMF loan of $17.5bn; the move includes increasing the age of retirement , reducing pensions by 85%; raising energy bills by up to to 70%.

01 Mar. Police block streets in Baku as 300-400 young people protest against rising prices, following a sharp devaluation of the manta by 33%. / The Russian National Security Adviser Nikolai Patrushev arrives in Egypt on a two-day official visit. / The Sevastopol authorities nationalise 13 of the city's industrial enterprises, instead of the 35 initially on the list. The list includes Sevmorzavod , belonging to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. / President Petro Poroshenko signs legislative amendments exempting Ukrainian defence production from taxation, banning arms imports from ‘aggressor states and occupied territories’, and lifting import taxes on arms from the US, Canada, Brasil, China, India and most European states. / The Tajikistan Central Electoral Commission says that 82% of voters took part in elections for parliament and local councils.


28 Feb. Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev expresses his condolences to Boris Nemtsov's family and people close to him calling his ‘brutal and cynical murder’ a ‘great loss for our society’. / Ukrainian Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak says the Donbass front is calm and that Ukrainian troops are strong enough to defend Mariupol. / President Petro Poroshenko says he will submit to parliament a bill appealing to the UN to send peacekeepers to Ukraine; he accuses the rebels of ‘faking’ an arms withdrawal and calls for more OSCE observers. / A few hundred people start a vigil in Kiev’s Independence Square to commemorate ‘Ukraine’s big friend’ Boris Nemtsov.

27 Feb. Russian President Vladimir Putin announces a 10% cut salaries of his administration staff, as well as his own / Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Riabkov compares the US act to support freedom in Ukraine, signed by Barack Obama, as a ‘time-mine for Russia-US relations’, which ‘could cause even more damage to the bilateral relations than the Jackson-Vanik amendment that existed for decades’. / In a note, the Russian Foreign Ministry says that Lithuania’s supplies of arms to Ukraine, admitted by its UN representative during a discussion, is a ‘direct breach of its legal obligations on conventional weapons exports’. / Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov is shot dead in central Moscow. president Vladimir Putin offers condolences to his family and friends and says the murder is ‘provocative’. / Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov begs forgiveness for the dispersal of protesters at the National Bank, calling the action of the police ‘unprofessional’. He visits the site of the incident, and the Central Bank head, Valeria Hontareva, says the demonstration was a ‘provocation’ due to destabilise the market. / President Petro Poroshenko tells new graduates of the National Defence University that Ukraine is ready to retire heavy arms to the frontline at any moment but that ‘even under the best scenario’ the military threat from the east will remain. / SBU chief Valentyn Nalyvaychenko says the ‘political and military involvement of Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov’ in Ukrainian affairs as ‘an attempt to stage a coup in the country’ is investigated. / The Republic of Crimea announces the end of the ‘nationalisation’ of private property; most of the 250 posessions privatised belonged to Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoisky.

26 Feb. The Russian oil company Rosneft says that Moody's downgrading of its rating is a ‘punitive operation on the market’ and a ‘very serious form of sabotage’. / Egyptian and Russian Foreign Minister Samih Shukri and Sergei Lavrov talk about boosting bilateral cooperation, in an effort to unite the Syrian opposition in search of a political solution to the Middle East crisis, and support for the legitimate authorities of Libya. / A procession of some 500 Right Sektor volunteers march in Kiev, threatening the authorities with ‘trials b y the people’ if they do not crack down on criminal schemes, investigate crimes committed on Maidan, and introduce marital law, at least in the regions hit by war. / The Ukrainian general staff announcess the start of a heavy weapons withdrawal on 26 February. Rebels say they will withdraw 90% of their hardware but will not give the location of their arms new location. / Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilev says he has urged President Petro Poroshenko to institute a total blockade of Crimea, including cutting energy and food supplies.

25 Feb. Kyrgyzstan's Transport and Communications Minister Kalykbek Sultanov announces that China has accepted that the width of the track of a Kyrgyzstan-China railway line should conform to gauge standards in post-Soviet countries, and not those of European as China insisted earlier. / Cyprus President Nikos Anastasiadis and Russian President Vladimir Putin sign a Joint Action Programme for 2015-2017 and various memoranda, including in the defence fiel a limited use of the Andreas Papandreou airbase in Paphos. / Russian parties Yabloko and Civil Platform announce they will not take part in an opposition rally in Moscow on 1 March; the first because of the confusion between anti-war and anti-crisis slogans, and over the venue; the second because ‘we are not for anarchism’ while ‘all those marches end with chanting “Down with Putin, down with the authorities”.’ / Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev says that Russia's dependence on oil and gas prices may pose a threat to its national security, witness the sanctions whose aim is to put pressure on the development of Russia's mineral resource base. / Researchers in Tajikistan publish a report showing that extremist organisations, including ISIS, are targeting migrant workers in Russia and unemployed youth at home.

24 Feb. The Kazakhstan constitutional council adopts a resolution in favour of early presidential election. / The Russian opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta publishes plans, allegedly presented to the presidential administration a week before the February 2014 ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, providing for intervention in Crimea and Ukraine. / Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko discusses arms deliveries with the visiting crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Col-Gen Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. / The foreign ministers of the ‘Normandy Four’ (France, Germany, Russia, Ukraine) agree ‘on several technical aspects’ of a decision to support the OSCE mission in eastern Ukraine.

23 Feb. By 68 votes to 4, Armenian deputies reject a draft motion on impeaching the president. / Azerbaijani Speaker Oqtay Asadov says that the country cannot spend all its foreign reserves to maintain the national currency , because hostilities over Nagorny Karabkah can resume and demand additional funds. / Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov says he believes that a deal on Iran’s nuclear programme could well be reached before the appointed 30 June deadline, and that further US sanctions would be counterproductive. / The Ukrainian general staff says that Ukrainian forces can still withdraw military hardware because the ‘terrorists’ do not respect the cease-fire. / In a statement on the first anniversary of the ‘occupation’ of Crimea, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says that Kiev will regain control over the peninsula. / Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin calls for UN reforms, saying that, if the UN were reformed, ‘Ukraine would not have to pay such a bloody price’. / Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak says that ‘at the moment, Russia’s budget has no funds allocated to financial aid to Greece’.

22 Feb. Western leaders join a 6,000-strong ‘peace march’ in Kiev to mark the first anniversary of violent clashes between police and protesters; Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili attends – but not his predecessor, and head of opposition, Mikheil Saakashvili, who has been sent by to Washington president Petro Poroshenko to hold meetings with members of Congress. / Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says ‘the earlier fugitive former President Viktor Yanukovych comes back, the better it will be for Ukraine… ‘Let him lead a protest movement in prison’. / Police in Kharkiv arrest people suspected of being responsible for a blast that killed 3 and injured 10 during a rally in support of Ukrainian unity.

21 Feb. Azerbaijan's Central Bank devalues the national currency in order to neutralise the ‘negative influence’ on the national economy of ‘competitve advantages’ caused by the currency devaluationions of trade partners. / One the eve of Maidan celebrations in Kiev, ousted President Viktor Yanukovych says that if the Kiev authorities want to keep Ukraine together, they must ‘stop calling south-east Ukraine names’, and stop discriminating agist it. Tthey must give the region enough autonomy to protect its rights, engage in dialogue, and allow time to repair mistrust and hatred. He vows to return when the opportunity arises. / Donbass rebels say that the OSCE observers have departed for the strategic town of Debaltseve. / In Kievexchange of prisoners is held in the battle zone.

20 Feb. After meeting his Latvian counterpart, Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makey expresses hope that the that Latvia's presidency of the EU and the Eastern Partnership summit in Riga in May will speed up the normalisation of the EU-Belarus relations. He says the EU should have a ‘differentiated approach’ in dealing with the countries involved in its Eastern Partnership program. / Russian first deputy minister for labour and social protection, Sergei Velmiaykin, says that registered unemployment grew to 1.2% of the economically active population, while more and more employers transferred their staff to less than a full working week. / The head of the Russian Federation Council for foreign relations, Kosachev, says that during the introduction of sanctions, trade between Russia and the EU declined by 7.3%, while trade between Russia and the US increased by 7.5%. / The Ukrainian Defence Ministry press service denies the establishment of a separate headquarters for volunteer units, saying all the Armed Forces of Ukraine are subordinated only to the General Staff. / On the day Ukraone marks the first anniversary of the Maidan massacre, President Petro Poroshenko says that the SBU has evidence that Vladislav Surkov, an aide to President Putin, directed ‘foreign sniper groups’ who shot and killed anti-government protesters on the square. He signs a law on the formation of a joint brigade with Lithuania and Poland.

19 Feb. Visiting Georgia, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadiarov underlines the importance of energy and transport projects for bilateral relations and regional relations, adding that Armenia can join as soon as it ends occupation of Azerbaijani territory. / President Alexandr Lukashenko says that Belarus is open for a constructive dialogue with NATO on the basis of parity and transparency, but ‘given the current complicated external conditions’ will continue to defend its interests. / The government of Kazakhstan adopts a plan to dedollarise the economy in order to increase the role of the tenge, the national currency, in trade. / ‘In accordance with its valid contract with Naftohaz Ukrainy’, Gazprom starts pumping extra gas to Ukraine rebels held area in response to their claims that Kiev cut supplies; Naftohaz says it will not pay gas supplied to the area of the ‘antiterroriost operation’. / Russia’s RT in Arabic says it is among the top three TV stations in six countries of the Middle East with 6.7m daily viewers. / Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says that Russians, as the ‘aggressor state’ should not participate in the UN peacekeeping mission in eastern Ukraine.

18 Feb. The Georgian parliamentary opposition’s United National Movement calls on the Foreign Ministry to exercise ‘caution’ in handling the relations with Kiev after it summons the Ukrainian ambassador to demand clarification over former President Mikheil Saakashvili's appointment as head of the Ukrainian president's Advisory Council. / Russia's permanent envoy to the OSCE Andrei Kelin says of observers monitoring the Ukraine cease-fire to 350.

17 Feb. In Tbilisi, US Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland says that Georgia and Ukraine should work together on seeking to ‘pursue paths of Euro-Atlantic integration’; she refuses to comment on former president Mikheil Saakashvili's appointment an international advisory council for reforms in Ukraine, nor on his arrest warrant in Georgia. / Russian OSCE delegation's head Anton Mazur says supplying weapons to Ukraine under the current circumstances would be a violation of OSCE tenets. / The head of the ‘Donetsk People's Republic’, Alexandr Zakharchenko, confirms he has been wounded in a battle against Ukrainian forces in Debaltseve. / The head of the FSB for Crimea, Viktor Palagin, accuses Kiev and the US of having already developed 15 programmes aimed at turning Crimeans against Moscow. / Ukrainian prime ministerial adviser Danylo Lubkivsky presents the first edition of ‘The black book of the Kremlin - Russia's war against Ukraine’ due to be published in Ukrainian, English, French, German and Russian, which will ‘provide the basis for international lawsuits against Russia’. / The Ukrainian State Border Service says that 22 generals have been discharged since October 2014; 219 generals and senior officers are currently being screened under the vetting law. / The Ukrainian General Staff spokesman confirms the reception of ten Saxon armoured cars of British manufacture bf military units in the antiterrorist operation zone; 20 arrived last week, on a total of 55 due to be delivered to the state defence company Ukroboronprom. / The Ukrainian Prosecutor-General's Office provisionally rejects an extradition warrant by his Georgian colleague against ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili. / By 239 votes, Ukrainian parliament decides to suspend accreditation of numerous Russia journalists and technical staff with Ukrainian government bodies till the end of the anti-terrorist operation.

16 Feb. US Deputy Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland starts her South Caucasus tour in Azerbaijan, where she tries to appease tensions with Baku due over regional issues. She supports cooperation in the Southern Gas Corridor as a key element of EU energy security. / Kazakhstan Foreign Minister Yerlan Idrisov calls for dialogue between the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union within the ‘framework of our work on the Ukraine crisis’. / Russian President Vladimir Putin's chief foreign policy adviser, Yuri Uashakov, says that the new EU sanctions are ‘illegal’; numerous officials say they are counterproductive; and popular singer, Iosif Kobzon, says he ‘is very happy to be on [the]list’. / Russian Foreign Ministry special envoy Anvar Azimov says that it is necessary to resume EU-Russia political dialogue, and that Moscow is ready to do so. Russia's envoy to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, says that Moscow will not bargain with EU over lifting sanctions: ‘The problem was created with the EU, let the EU solve it’. / Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov expresses ‘alarm’ after the murder of Egyptiananti-crisis rally in nine cities, including Moscow on 1 March. Alexei Navalny invites the Communist Party to participate. / The Ukrainian anti-terrorist operation (ATO) blames the rebels for the shelling of Donetsk and denies the involvement of the Ukrainian military.

15 Feb. The Georgian parliamentary opposition’s United National Movement calls on the Foreign Ministry to exercise ‘caution’ in handling the relations with Kiev after it summons the Ukrainian ambassador to demand clarification over former President Mikheil Saakashvili's appointment as head of the Ukrainian president's Advisory Council. / Russia's permanent envoy to the OSCE Andrei Kelin says of observers monitoring the Ukraine cease-fire to 350.

14 Feb. Deputies of the people's councils of the Donetsk and of the Luhansk ‘People's Republics’ approve the Minsk document on a peace settlement. / DPR leader Alexandr Zakharchenko says that if demands for de facto independence are not met, the People’s Republic may claim the rest of the Donetsk Region still controlled by Kiev, as the Minsk agreements do not contradict independence, but be says his forces will respect the cease-fire. The chairman of the LPR people's council, Alexei Kariakin, says that the separatist region will stay within borders agreed in Minsk. / Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigori Karasin calls on the Kief government to ‘have the courage’ to talk to the ‘people who are suffering as a result of your military actions’ and warns both sides to the conflict of ‘serious repercussions’ if either of them fails to honour the Minsk cease-fire. / President Petro Poroshenko orders a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine.

13 Feb. Visiting Baku, EU Energy Commissioner Maros Sefcovic praises President Ilham Aliev's support to the Southern Gas Corridorproject, which he says will diversify EU energy sources of energy, with Azerbaijani gas and oil accounting for respectively 84 and 94% of EU needs for years to come. / In Baku, the US special envoy for energy affairs, Amos Hochstein, hails Azerbaijan's initiatives to provide the European market with natural gas. / Kyrgyzstan Economy Minister Temir Sariev says that, in 2014, the his country’s inflow of investment decreased; the outflow of investment doubled; and remittances from migrant workers (($2.236bn) decreased for the first time. / The Kremlin announces that its position on Mistral warship contract is unchanged and that in March a Russian crew will be ready to depart for France and come back with the first vessel. / The Russian Investigations Committee rules out the release from custody of Ukrainian pilot Nadia Savchenko who is accused of participating, as forward air controller, in the killing of Russian journalists Igor Korneliuk and Anton Voloshin. / Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigori Karasin says it is too early to discuss handing over border control in east Ukraine to Kiev; he says it may be considered at the end of 2015, after elections in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, ‘as envisaged by the Minsk document’. / Leaders of east Ukrainian separatist regions insist on mandatory coordination between themselves and Kiev on the future election law for self-government bodies in the Donbass. / RIA-Novosti reports that despite a fall in exports, earnings of managers at Gazprom and LUKoil increased by 40% in 2014. / Separatists say they are ready to allow the Ukrainian military to leave the ‘Debaltseve pocket’, but with no weapons.

12 Feb. Only 42 of Moldova’s 101 parliamentary deputies support the new cabinet rather than the 51 needed. (In case of a second failure, new parliamentary elections will be held). / Visiting Moscow, Greekforeign minister Nikos Kotzias meets his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov and they discuss bilateral relations and regional security issues . / After 15 hours of discussions, the leaders of Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine declare their support to the so-called Minsk II agreement offering a package of measures for a settlement in Ukraine. / The Ukrainian government approves a draft cooperation agreement with the IMF for the next four years. / During a visit to Kiev, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman discusses with Prime Minister Arseni Yatsenuk ways to step up business contacts and the creation of a free trade zone.

11 Feb. Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbaev calls on big employers to preserve as many jobs as possible and keep up the level of wages in the present economic crisis; also on state companies to support the national currency. He orders the government to create a 250bn-tenge reserve fund. / China’sRussia's submarine fleet. / The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany gather in Minsk to discuss the crisis in east Ukraine. Before leaving Kiev, President Petro Poroshenko says that he will introduce martial law if the talks in Minsk fail to ‘stop the aggressor’. He says he wants an ‘unconditional cease fire’; that his country and the EU will speak ‘in single voice’ at Minsk; but that he rejects federalisation, as it would be the seed for Ukraine disunity. / The Kiev municipal authorities set up eight checkpoints at entrances of the city to reinforce its protection against potential terrorist actions. / At a press conference in Brussels, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Central Asia Daniel Rosenblum says that Washington will help the five Central Asian countries to fight ISIS and preserve their sovereignty and territorial integrity.

10 Feb. The AzerbaijaniForeign Ministry’s spokesman calls on the EU to promote contacts between Armenian and Azeri communities within the Nagorny Karabakh region. / Russian Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev says that US arms deliveries to Ukraine will ‘escalade the conflict’ and that Russia will respond by ‘diplomatic means’. / At the end of president Vladimir Putin’s visit, Egyptian President Abd-al-Fattah al-Sisi describes Russia as a ‘strategic friend and valued contributor to balanced foreign relations’. He says Putin’s visit shows ‘Russia's solidarity with Egypt in its fight against terrorism’ and that ‘the development of bilateral relations since the 30 June revolution’ in 2013 will boost military, economic, anti-terror cooperation. Russia will build a nuclear power station in north-western Egypt; During his visit, Putin meets the head of the Patriarchate of Alexandria and all-Africa Patriarch Theodoros I. / Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov says that Russia’s interest lies not in accepting Ukraine’s request to restructure its $3bn debt due in December, but in recovering the money previously invested in a foreign country's bonds. / The press service of the Ukrainian Defence Ministry says that the armed forces have received military and technical assistance worth $1,872,921 from Great Britain; the British ambassador to Ukraine says that Ukraine can count for further support, including the delivery of 75,000 tonnes of diesel fuel. / Former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, OSCE special representative Heidi Tagliavini and Russian ambassador in Kiev Mikhail Zurabov – representatives of the so-called contact group - arrive in Minsk to discuss a settlement in eastern Ukraine.

09 Feb. Belarus Foreign Minister Vladimir Makey regrets that despite all his country’s efforts, including helping with the Russia-Ukraine dialogue, and the elaboration of a more balanced east-west foreign policy, Belarus sees no profound changes in its ties with EU. / The Kiev government and the Donbass rebels trade accusations of responsibility for the fierce fighting on the Debaltseve-Artemivsk road.

8 Feb.Rossia Segodnia (Russia Today) director-general Dmitri Kiselev expresses outrage at a call by Edwad Lucas, of The Economist, to boycott journalists of RT and the Sputnik international broadcasting service at the Munich Security conference. / In a long interview with an Egyptian newspaper, Russian president Vladimir Putin describes his visit to Egypt as step into a ‘long history of diplomatic relations which survives numerous transformation both in the world and in their countries’; he says that Russia’s and Egypt’s approaches to the situation in Syria ‘are similar’, with both supporting inter-Syrian dialogue. / The Security Service of Ukraine confirms it has detained Ukrainian journalist Ruslan Kotsaba on suspicion of state treason, after he recorded a video calling on ‘right-thinking people’ to reject mobilisation.

07 Feb At the Munich Security Conference, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliev urges Armenia to withdraw troops from ‘occupied territories’ in order to reduce tension on the front line in Nagorny Karabakh, and compares the escalation of tension there to that in Ukraine. / Addressing a Congress of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia, President Putin says that Western sanctions ‘to a certain extent’ have a negative effect on the economy but will lead Russia to raise its ‘level of sovereignty, including in the economic sphere’. / Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin says that severing diplomatic ties with Russia would be counterproductive and only complicate the search for a solution to the Donbass conflict. / The Security Service of Ukraine claims it has intercepted a conversation showing that the Russian army is forging the documents of its servicemen killed in the Donbass in order to hide their presence on Ukrainian territory.

06 Feb. The BelarusInterior ministry says that about 50,000 Ukrainians moved to Belarus in 2014. / The Russian foreign ministry accuses ‘Western’ rating agencies of deliberately cutting Russia's credit rating, thereby reflecting an ‘economic war waged against us by the USA and the EU’. / Russia's envoy to NATO, Alexandr Grushko, describes NATO's decision to set up a training centre in Georgia as provocative and a risk for regional stability; he says that Russia received signals in favour of rebuilding trust from NATO, but that public statements contradict the move. / Talks in the Kremlin between Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are described as ‘constructive’ and ‘substantive’ by Putin's press secretary Dmitri Peskov. / For the second time, a blast rocks a local office of Pryvatbank, owned by Dnipropetrovsk tycoon Ihor Kolomoysky, in Odessa; another bomb is diffused. / Ukrainian Trade and Economic Development Minister Aivaras Abromavicius announces the cancellation of licences for 160 Russian companies following the decision by the Security Council of Ukraune on 25 January to join sanctions by the US, EU, G7 and Switzerland; Russians subjected to those sanctions will not be able to take part in privatisation or the lease of state enterprises .

5 Feb. Ukrainian authorities and militias in Donbass agree to the evacuation of residents of enclaved Debaltseve, near Donetsk. / By 365 votes, the Ukrainian parliament agrees to submit to the Constitutional Court a resolution lifting the immunity of deputies and judges. / The Ukrainian parliament sets up a Ukraine-Nato group headed by former foreign minister MP Borys Tarasiuk.

04 Feb. Japan offers its help in upgrading Ukraine’s coal-fuelled thermal power plants in order to reduce its gas imports by 10%. / Russia’s presidental spokesman denies reports that Saudi Arabia has approached Russia with an offer to cut its oil production if Moscow stops supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad. / Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Kozak says that the cost of constucting bridge linking Russia to the Crimean peninsula has been lowered by $285m ‘as a result of competitive negotiations’ and that this ‘cannot be changed under the contract’. / The Russian Association of Air Transport Operators, representing several aiirlines, including UTAir, Transaero, Urals Airlines, Yamal and Volga-Dnepr, but not the largest two companies, Aeroflot and Sibir, asks for state financial aid as members expecte losses for 2014 of $450m due to sanctions and the fall in the value of the rouble.Tajikistan's parliament ratifies an agreement with Pakistan to establish a joint working group to fight international terrorism./ Another Georgian enters Ukraine’s government – former representative of President Saakashvili and ex-deputy interior minister Gia Getsadze. He is appointed deputy justice minister in charge of anti-corruption policy and state reforms.

03 Feb. It is announced thqt Kazakhstan exported over 700,000 tons of coal to Ukraine in order to help relieve an acute shortage due to conflict in the Donbass. / The head of the Central Bank of Russia, Elvira Nabiullina, says that the $9.5bn of bond placements by Rosneft in December were non-transparent and increased the volatility in the market. / Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill criticises the Ukrainian Greek Catholic church for supporting one side of the conflict in eastern Ukraine and thereby contributing to the split in Ukrainian society. / By 269 votes out of 342 registered, the Ukrainian parliament amends the law on the National Guard, allowing it to have tanks, artillery and air defence units for use not only in the ‘anti-terrorist operation’ area, but also to guard important sites elsewhere; the president can now dismiss and appoint its commander.

02 Feb. Azerbaijan parliament speaker, Oktay Asadov, accuses ‘some forces’ of preparing provocations ahead of Baku 2015 European Games. / Azeri President Ilham Aliev, meeting a delegation of the American Jewish Committee, discusses the expansion of ties with the US , and the promotion in America of Israel-Azerbaijani ties. / The Russian Space Agency suspends its participation in the Russian-Ukrainian project Dnepr; it says will replace Ukrainian-built Zenith satellite launchers with the latezt Russian carriers of the Angara family. / The final communiqué of the 13th Meeting of Foreign Ministers of China, India and Russia emphasises the important influence they play in a changing world, including in emerging market economies. / A poll by the Levada Centre suggests that only 12% of Russians feel no impact from sanctions; that 69% believe Russia should continue with its present policies irrespective of sanctions, and that 21% believe it should seek a compromise and make concessions in order to escape from the sanctions. / The head of the ‘Donetsk People's Republic’, Alexandr Zakharchenko, announces a ‘general mobilisation’ in the territory it controls. / The leader of the Opposition Bloc faction in Ukrainian parliament, Yuri Boiko, deputies to approve a resolution calling negotiations with Russia and the deployment of a UN peacekeeping contingent in eastern Ukraine.

01 Feb. At the congress of the Russian opposition Party of Progress, its founder, Alexei Navalny, announces that, if parties do not have its own candidates at regional elections, he will support systemic opposition parties, such as Communist Party and A Just Russia, as a way to take votes away from United Russia.


31 Jan. Russia's Economic Development Minister Alexei Uliukaev releases sharply revised forecast economic indicators for 2015 based on a price of oil at $50 per barrel, envisaging a 3% fall of the GDP (down from 0,7%, with oil at $80 per barrel in December), inflation at 12% instead of 7.5% and a fall of real incomes at 9% instead of 6%. / After three hours of negotiations in Minsk, the situation in eastern Ukraine ends without a deal; with separatists and Kiev accusing each other of sabotage. But discussions will continue. / Ukraine steps up security on the border with Transdniestr by organising joint operations by the border guards and the National Guard of Ukraine.

30 Jan. Russia's permanent representative to NATO, Alexandr Grushko, says that NATO's plans to create control and command structures in six European countries as a protection ‘from an imaginary threat from Russia’ could create a possible theatre of war close to Russia's borders. / CSTO Secretary-General Nikolai Bordiuzha says that the Organisation is considering the use of Kazakhstan plants for military hardware previously produced in Ukraine.

29 Jan. Moldovan President Nicolae Timofti appoints acting Prime Minister Iurie Leanca to form a new government. / Former USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev says that the USA ‘has totally 'lost itself in the jungle' and is trying to entice us into a ‘new cold war’. / Consultations between representatives of the Syrian opposition and the Syrian government end in Moscow. The so-called ‘Moscow Principles’ enlarge those set out in June 201, including the preservation of Syria’s integrity, the refusal of external interference, civil peace through national dialogue, end of the occupation of the Golan Heights. / Russia's permanent representative to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, calls on the EU to ‘restrain Kiev's party of war’ and says that ‘with each defeat, Kiev increases the number of Russian troops supposed to be on eastern Ukraine’.

28 Jan. Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliev says that the national currency rate should be weakened in order to stimulate the country's exports. / Russian presidential press secretary Dmitri Peskov says that North Korea has confirmed the participation of its leader Kim Jong-un in celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War. He also says that President Putin has ‘studied’ President Petro Poroshenko's response to his letter on the settlement of the crisis in the Donbass. / The Russian government website published the full text of the $30bn anti-crisis plan signed by prime minister Dmitri Medvedev, who says it is ‘not set in stone’ because the economic situation in Russia could get worse. The plan focuses o,macroeconomic and social stability, and includes cuts in spending.

27 Jan. Russian premier Dmitri Medvedev promises an unrestricted reaction’ if the West should restrict the Russian banks' participation in the SWIFT system. / Russian ,Deputy Foreign Minister Vasili Nebenzia accuses Washington of taking part in the politically-motivated lowering of Russia’s credit rating by Standard and Poor's and calls for the establishment of new rating agencies, ‘free from Western influence’. / In a speech at the Jewish Museum in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin condemns the killing of civilians in Ukraine, and recalls the active participation of supporters of Ukrainian nationalist leader Stepan Bandera in the Holocaust.. / In Kiev, a wooden Orthodox church of the Moscow Patriarchate is destroyed by arson. / During a ceremony on Holocaust Day, attended by Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, prime minister. Yatsenyuk recalls that the Ukrainians were among the nations that fought Nazism in Europe

26 Jan. In a speech to St Petersburg university’s students, Russian President Vladimir Putin says that Ukrainian forces fighting in eastern Ukraine are mostly ‘so-called volunteer nationalist battalions' and in effect a‘NATO legion’ acting not for Ukraine's national interests but to achieve the Western containment of Russia. He believes something can be done for Ukrainian citizens wanting to evade mobilisation as ‘cannon fodder’ – for example extending the 30 days period they can stay in Russian legally. / The Russian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) expresses outrage as no Russians were invited to speak at a ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, by the Soviet army; Deputies speak of ‘another monstrous distortion of the historical truth; to participants in a requiem dedicated to the same anniversary, President Vladimir Putin talks about the inadmissibility of attempts to rewrite ‘our common history’. / Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk announces the introduction of the ‘emergency situation regime’ in Donetsk and Luhansk regions and the state of high alert across Ukraine.

25 Jan. Duma Chairman Sergei Naryshkin says that Russia may suspend its PACE membership for 2015 if its powers are revoked once again at the Assembly’s winter session. / Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko decrees a day of mourning for the victims of shelling in Mariupol. / Ukrainian Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak reports sending troop reinforcement and equipment yo the eastern regions and claims that ‘not even a metre of Ukrainian territory has gone to the terrorist groups.’

24 Jan. Former Georgian Parliament speaker, and opposition Democratic Movement leader, Nino Burjanadze urges the Georgian authorities to mediate in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict to prevent further escalation. / Rebel forces of the Donetsk People's Republic reach the outskirts of the Ukrainian port of Mariupol but deny they plan to storm the city. They blame Kiev forces for the attach with Grad rockets into a residential area which killed 30 people.

23 Jan. Russia's permanent representative to the OSCE, Andrei Kelin, says that Moscow will continue to exert pressure on Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics to stop using heavy weapons in the conflict zone. / Japan and Russia agree to resume the six-party talks on ending North Korea's nuclear weapons program. / Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev orders the Federal Anti-monopoly Services to ensure that national producers do not raise food prices disproportionably to the fall of the rouble. / The head of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Alexandr Zakharchenko, says he will not initiate a truce with Kiev any more; he says wants direct talks with the Ukrainian president. / Ikrainian Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko says that Ukraine spends $5-7m per day on the war in the east, plus providing additional funds for displaced people and the free supply of energy in the rebel-held areas.

22 Jan. Ukraine and Russia eqch launch a criminal case after the shelling of a bus stop in Donestk which killed 12 people and injured 20. / Chechen Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov says that 23 ‘members of the bandit underworld’ have been killed in the region in 2014, 20 members detained; and 121 terrorist crimes uncovered. / Ukrainian troop leave Donetsk airport after months of fighting.

21 Jan. During talks with his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar, visiting Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu says that both their countries are standing up to terrorism; they agree to increase military cooperation. / The Kremlin announces that the head of the presidential administration, Sergei Ivanov, will represent Russia at the Auschwitz memorial ceremony. / The Security Service of Ukraine introduces a restricted access regime on the line of contact with the rebels, with special passes and limited road corridors.

20 Jan. The Russian and Iranian governments sign a military cooperation agreement, extending the practice by which their warships visit each other’s ports / Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller says that, according to contract, the sale of Russian gas to Ukraine will revert to pre-discount prices from 1 April 2015, but the matter is open to discussion. / Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev says that Russia’s help to the Ukrainian economy is a sign of goodwill, but cannot go on forever. / Russian Energy Minister Alexandr Novak says that the decision to construct the Turkish Stream gas pipeline is ‘final’ and urges the EU not to delay creating the infrastructure necessary to deliver gas to European consumers from a hub on the Turkish-Greek border. / The Russian defence ministry ridicules Kiev’sclaims of Russian troops are operating inside Ukraine is ‘absolute non sense’, while Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk speaks of ‘indisputable proof’.

19 Jul. The Lithuanian authorities impose a three-month ban on some programmes shown by the Russian channel Ren TV Baltic. / Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Riabkov says that Western sanctions will not make Russia change its policies and that Ukrainian politicians are to blame for the conflict in east Ukraine. The West should compare what its member countries could gain from normal cooperation with Russia compared w with what they have today. / The head of the Russian Investigations Committee, Alexandr Bastrykhin, goes to Armenia to examine the case of a Russian soldier who absconded from his base and killed a family of seven, leading to violent protests. / The Ukrainian General Staff says it forces control Donetsk airport. However, Donetsk rebels this and accuse the Ukrainian forces of using phosphorus munitions on 16 January. / The number of people injured in a blast outside a district court in Kharkiv rises to 13.

18 Jan. Russian state TV produces a letter from president Vladimir Putin to his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko (who rejected it according to the Kremlin) expressing ‘anxiety’ at the escalation in the shelling of population centres in southeast Ukraine and calling on both sides to cease fire and withdraw heavy weapons. / The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry publishes a text inviting Russia to sign a schedule for the implementation of the Minsk agreements and a ceasefire from 19 January. / President Petro Poroshenko addresses several thousands of people marching for unity in Kiev, saying that ‘Ukraine is fighting for independence in Donetsk airport’; a few hours later, another march is held to commemorate the victims of terrorism, with placards saying ‘I am Volnovakha’ (the village near Donetsk were 12 people were killed in a bus). / The foreign minister of the ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’, Alexandr Kofman, calls on the world community to halt ‘mass murders that are taking place with impunity in the very centre of Europe’.

17 Jan. National Economy Minister Yerbolat Dosaev says that Kazakhstan will revise its 2015 budget by over $7.6bn due to a sharp decrease in oil prices. / Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambaev orders a probe into a border attack on 16 January in a district between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan killing one person and injuring two. / Donetsk airport’s situation is described as ‘complicated’ by the Ukrainian armed forces, who claim to have regained control after a counterattack

16 Jan. Turkish President Recep Erdogan invites Armenian President Serzh Sargsian to the ceremonies of the centenary of the Battle of Gallipoli on 23 April, which coincides with the Armenian remembrance day, saying that Armenians also fought at Gallipoli. / The Ministry of Health and Social Development of Kazakhstan announces that 952,800 ethnic Kazakhs (5% of the present population; 40% of children) came back to their ancestral homeland in the past 24 years, mostly from Uzbekistan (61.5%) and China (14.3%). / On the website of his Open Russia movement, former Yukos head, Mikhail Khodorkovsky urges the West to reconsider its sanctions against Russia, as they merely reinforce support for the Russian authorities by Russians frightened by the image they receive of the country’s external enemy. / Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko confirms the return to Kiev of $245m, the assets of the National Bank of Ukraine which were frozen on its accounts in Crimea. / The Prosecutor General of Ukraine, Vitali Yarema, says that 8 former Ukrainian high level officials are on the Interpol wanted list out of the list of 22 submitted by Kiev.

15 Jan. In Ankara, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliev hail the TANAP Project and the Southern Corridor as of ‘strategic importance’, and agree that the Minsk Group in getting nowhere towards solving the Nagorno-Karankh conflict. Erdogan invites Azerbaijan to participate as a guest country in rhis year’s G-20 Summit, under Turkey’s presidency. / Azerbaijan Finance Minister Samir Sarifov says that new taxes will be introduced in 2015 to mitigate the impact of decreasing oil prices. / The Belarus parliament approves the nomination of Andrey Kobiakov as prime minister. / The Russian Energy Ministry says that gas exports dropped 6.7% and production by 4% in 2014. / The Ukrainian parliament approves President Petro Poroshenko's proposal to mobilise 104,000 men aged 20 to 27 in 2015; and to extend the military service to 18 months. / Poland suspends gas deliveries deliveries to Ukraine from 1 January because of a disagreement with German company RWE. / Ukrainian presidential aide, Yuri Biriukov, says that more troops have been sent to defend Donetsk airport and that the level of the battle there has reached a new pitch.

14 Jan. Azerbaijan’s official parliamentary accuses ‘some circles in the USA’ of seeking to engineer a coup. / Gazprom head Alexei Miller warns of transit risks in Ukraine this winter due to financial constrains forcing Kiev to buy insufficient reserves.

13 Jan. Russian President Vladimir Putin will not go to Poland to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on 27 January as he has not been personally invited, says his spokesman.. / A Levada poll shows that 47% of the Russians believe that Russia's long-term foreign policy should focus on strengthening relations with China, compared with 21% a year ago; 87% believe that Western countries are pursuing a hostile policy towards the Russian Federation; 51% believe that this is manifested in sanctions against the Russian economy, 42% that it evident in the information war, and 40% in attempts to take control of the country's economy and natural resources. / The chairman of the Central Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of Russia, Talgat Tadzhuddin, says that cartoons of any saints irrespective of whether they are Muslim, Christian or Jewish is ‘unacceptable’. / The Ukraine authorities and rebels accuse each other after a passenger bus came under fire at a checkpoint, killing 12 and wounding 13. / On French television, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is reported as saying that the Donbass could be granted the status of a free economic zone, with its own set of relations with the EU and Russia, if it holds elections according to Ukrainian law.

12 Jan. The Belarusian rouble depreciates by 19% in the first 10 days of 2015, the second largest depreciation of a post-Soviet country during the among the period. (The Turkmenistan currency fell by 22.81%). / The first results of the census in Moldova shows that the population totals 2.91m , mostly in rural areas (1.9m). The total does no include people livi,g zones controlled by Transdniestr authorities. (,n Soviet times, 4.3 million people were living in Moldova including 700.000 on the Dniestr left bank). / The foreign ministers of Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine postpone a presidential gathering in Astana on 15 January because the cease-fire is not being respected in the Donbass. Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov says successful negotiations require a direct dialogue between Kiev and the ‘republics’ of Donetsk and Luhansk. / Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov announces the placing on Interpol’s ‘wanted list’ of former president Viktor Yanukovich, his son Olexandr, former Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and other former high-ranking figures.

11 Jan. Some 4.000 people continue daily protests in Tomsk after the local TV2 television channel, one of the first independent news stations in Russia, was forced to stop broadcasting on January 1. The station when it was required to participate in cable packages after the state-run regional broadcasting centre cancelled its transmission agreement. / Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin confirms that the authorities helped Poland to evacuate 175 Ukrainians of Polish origin from the area of the antiterrorist operation in Donbass and return them to Poland.

10 Jan. The Central Spiritual Board of Muslims of Russia, in Ufa, releases a statement expressing sorrow in the name of all Russian Muslims at the ‘monstrous’ terrorist attack in Paris. / Russian officials and financial experts qualify as ‘politically motivated’ and ‘economically ungrounded’ the decision by the Fitch agency to downgrade Russia's sovereign rating. / Finance Minister Anton Siluanov says that although Russia has still taken no decision, it has ‘every reason’ to require Ukraine to repay its $3bn assistance loan ahead of schedule, because Kiev has violated the terms under which Russia provided

09 Jan. During talks in Berlin, Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbaev and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discuss deepening the countries’ partnership in the fields of raw materials, industry and technology, as well as resolving the situation in the eastern Donbass on the strict basis of the Minsk agreement. / The head of Russia's Federal Migration Service, Konstantin Romodanovsky, says that more migrants are coming to Russia from Ukraine and Moldova, and less from Central Asia, with the exception of Kyrgyzstan. / The press attaché of Ukrainian prime minister Arseni Yatseniuk lanches a damage repair operation after Russia reacted sharply to his declaration, during his visit in Germany, that ‘we shall all remember the Soviet invasion of Ukraine and Germany’; the Russian foreign ministry asks Germany to clarify its position regarding Yatseniuk’s ‘falsification of history’. / After signing the book of condolences at the French embassy in Kiev, President Petro Poroshenko says that he sees no difference between the terrorist attacks by pro-Russianmilitants in Donbass and the murder of journalists at the French weekly Charlie Hebdo.

08 Jan. The Armenian opposition says that the interruption of the activities of the US-funded National Democratic Institute is linked to Yerevan’s decision to join the Eurasian Economic Union.. / The eleventh Russian humanitarian convoy since August arrives in Ukraine’s Donbass. . / Rosneft informs the Russian government that it will freeze its projects in Murmansk Region for 5-7 years due financial and economic problems. / The US company Holtec International wins a bid for the contract to assist the Ukrainan state nuclear power company, Enerhoatom with the development of spent nuclear fuel technology.. / Addressing the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk says that Western sanctions play ‘a very important role’ in ending ‘Russia’s escalation of the conflict in Donbass’ and should not en until Russia has fulfilled all its responsibilities within the framework of the Minsk agreements.

07 Jan. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov attends a ceremony restoring the restoration of the status of a 19th century Sufi figure. (Kadyrov promotes traditional Sufism-based Shari'ah, which is a trend in Sunni Islam, whereas Russian North Caucasus rebels promote Shari'ah without Sufi elements.) / Russia media report that the largest congress of leaders of the criminal underworld of the former USSR in the last 20 years are meeting in Armenia to ‘end a gangster war’. / On Christmas day, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, salutes Ukrainian Orthodox believers and calls for peace in Ukraine, while urging Russian believers not to dramatise the effect of economic sanctions.

6 Jan. The Israeli ambassador in Baku, Rafael Harpaz, says that nobody can impede the ‘special’ relationship between Israel and Azerbaijan, and that their cooperation will deepen in trade and energy. / Russian President Vladimir Putin (in a village church in the Voronezh Region) and Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev (in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow) make their traditional appearance at Orthodox Christmas church services.

5 Jan. The Estonian embassy in Astana announces it became NATO’s contact point in Kazakhstan from 1 January 2015, taking over the role of the Latvian embassy in the previous year;. / The US-backed TV news programme in Russian, Nastoyashchee Vremya, makes its debut in Latvia, extending the programme’s reach to audiences in five countries bordering Russia. / After announcing cutting off his electronic bracelet, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who received a suspended 3.5-year sentence in December, says that his house arrest was illegal and he plans to continue developing his Progress Party. / The Ukrtranshaz gas transport company says that Ukraine increased its gas imports from EU (Slovakia, Poland and Hungary) by 59% in 2014. / Handling over new military equipment outside Zhytomyr, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says that ‘while active hostilities are halmted, the combat capability of Ukrainian army had been fully restored. / An advisor to President Petro Poroshenko, Yuri Biriukov, says that from 1 January, volunteers under activist leader, Nelli Stelmakh, willtake over the provision of equipment and food for the entire Ukrainian army, because of the inertia of the Ministry of Defence.

04 Jan. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin hails the newly created GLONASS joint-stock company, with all shares in state hands, for space development.

03 Dec. A Russian defence ministry spokesman says that the will modernisation of the experimental Neman-P radar system at the Sary-Shagan test range in Kazakhstan will be complete next year, having been in use from 1981 to 1991. / Ukrainian authorities and Donbass rebels accuse each others of ceasefire violations and provocative attempts to disrupt the peace plan. / The secretary of the National Security and Defence Council, Olexandr Turchynov, announces the setting up of seven transport corridors for crossing the demarcation line between the government-controlled and rebel-controlled territories in eastern Ukraine. Vehicles and individuals will be thoroughly checked; and all the other routes will be blocked. / Two large columns enter Odessa to reinforce forces already in place and start an ‘antiterrorist’ operation.

02 Jan. Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev orders a pay cap for the managers of Federal State Unitary Enterprises (who earn eight times the average pay of other workers) unless the enterprise can prove the production to be of special strategic importance. / The Russian Investigations Committee opens an inquiry into an overnight attack on a crew of the LifeNews TV channel during the procession commemorating Ukrainian nationalist Stepan Bandera. The former prime minister of ‘Donetsk People's Republic’, Alexandr Boroday, describes the creation of Novorossiya in southeast Ukraine as ‘premature’ and a ‘false start’ even if ‘we continue to use the term’.

1 Jan. More than 2,000 Ukrainian nationalists from the Right Sector political party, the Freedom party, the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists, the Azov regiment and the all-Ukrainian battalion Right Sector, take part in a torchlight march in Kiev to commemorate the 106th anniversary of the OUN leader, Stepan Bandera.


31 Dec. Belarus President Alexandr Lukashenko says that as ‘the geopolitical is becoming more and more complex’, Belarus should continue its policy of mending ties with the West. / The head of the Russian Federation Council's International Affairs Committee, Konstantin Kosachev, calls for starting a dialogue on elaborating a European security architecture on new principles and on freezing the existing military-political status quo in Europe. / Russian foreign ministry notes with regret the failure of the Palestinian state resolution at the UN Security Council. / In his New Year address, pronounced in front of Kiev’s St Mikhail Cathedral alongside prominent volunteers and activists, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko pledges comprehensive reforms in 2015, refers to EU membership as a dream that will eventually come true, and speaks of the military conflict in the Donbass as a ‘just patriotic war’. / Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn says that, due to military operations in Donbass and a coal shortage, Ukraine will import electricity from Russia, which is cheaper than electricity from Ukrainian power plants. / Uzbekistan resumes gas supplies, suspended in April, to the south of Kyrgyzstan.

30 Dec. The Azeri service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty denies accusations, by Azerbaijani Prosecutor-General's Office , of ‘suspicious banking operations’ by the servicev, and urges the authorities to stop ‘moral terror against its employees’. / Russian human rights leaders are divided over the sentencing of the Navalny brothers to 3 years (in the case of activist Alexei a suspended sentence; in that of his brother Oleg a jail sentence). This is seen by some as political revenge, with Oleg being held hostage for his brother’s political activities, and by other as a just punishment of an act of corruption by a man famous for fighting corruption. / The US Westinghouse president of Europe, Middle East and Africa Region, Yves Brachet, announces the signature with Ukraine of an agreement to supply of nuclear fuel until 2020 and proposes aiding the construction of new nuclear power stations.

29 Dec. The Georgian opposition speaks of political persecution as ‘a key element of the anti-Putin front’ following the Prosecutor General asks Interpol to place former president Mikheil Saakashvili on the international ‘wanted list’. (He refuses to co-operate in an investigation for abuse of power and was sentenced in abstentia). / Moldova’s three pro-European parties fail to form a majority. / Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that the Ukrainian crisis can be resolved in 2015 but only if ‘Kiev and the southeast are allowed to reach an agreement amongst themselves without Western interference’. / For the fifteenth time since a series of coordinated attacks in Groznyy on 4 December, Chechen police burn down the home of the relatives of suspected militants. / The Russian president's envoy on Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov says that the ISAF is leaving Afghanistan at a ‘very inopportune time’, without a functioning government and no self-sufficient army. He says this is leading to popular support to Taliban for self-protection; and could lead ISIS to increase its activity on the Tajikistan and Turkmenistan borders in the spring 2015. / By 233 votes out of 329 registered, the Ukrainian parliament passes the 2015 state budget. Controversially, prime minister Arseni Yatseniuk says he agreed that the heads of factions could submit draft amendments to it to parliament by 15 Febuary after talks with the IMF and other international financial organisations. The budget foresees a 4.3% decline in real GDP and inflation of 13.1%. / In an end-of-year news conference, President Petro Poroshenko says that Ukraine has ‘succeeded in creating one of the most battle-worthy armies on the continent’, that it should meet NATO standards before holding referendum on membership, that he is not planning to sell his ‘ Kanal 5’ TV channel, which is; is ‘a model of good information policy’, and that and that political circumstances make it hard the sale his Roshen confectionery company currently in the hands of the Rothschild bank.

28 Dec. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko angrily reproaches the ministry of energy for rolling power cuts, which can hurt Ukrainians during New Year, Christmas and Epiphany celebrations.

27 Dec. Azerbaijan prosecutor-general summons the staff of Radio Liberty, including from the provinces, a few hours after the search and the closures of the Baku bureau, and the arrest of one of its journalists. / Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev signs a draft agreement to construct the first nuclear power plant in Jordan. / The Russian president's press secretary Dmitri Peskov says that ‘supplies of coal and electricity to Ukraine without advance payment is a sign of president Putin’s goodwill to support to the Ukrainian people’. / Investigations into ‘terrorist attacks’ are opened by Ukrainian police after powerful blasts in Kherson and Odessa, following others in Mariupol, Kharkiv, Lviv and Kiev.

26 Dec. Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus tells Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev that Turkey is ready to invest in various sectors of Kyrgyzstan's economy.

25 Dec. Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev says that, because of the worsening economic situation, it might be temporarily necessary to put ministers back on the boards of state companies. Economic Development Minister Alexei Uliukaev says that the Russian economy could shrink by 3 per cent in 2015, if oil prices remain at the level of $60 a barrel.

24 Dec. Deputy Defence Minister Anatoli Antonov says that Russia will break off relations with NATO it Ukraine join it. / About 2,000 students, public sector employees and pensioners, demanding the resumption of social payments by Kiev, protest in central Luhansk under the slogan ‘Stop the blockade’. / The Security Service of Ukraine dismisses s claim by the Russian Investigations Committee it has evidence of a Ukrainian plane being involved in the Malaysian plane crash. / In Minsk, representatives of Ukraine, the rebel-held Donbass areas, and Russia agree on a prisoner exchange and further meetings;.

23.Dec. Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbaev arrives in Russia from Kiev to discuss cooperation with president Putin and to take part in the CSTO and Eurasian Economic Council summits. / At the CSTO summit, Putin says that the security bloc should stand up to new terrorist threats in a world where ‘old problems are escalating and new ones emerging, the global security system is undergoing deformation’. / Russia's permanent representative to the OSCE Andrei Kelin says that Ukraine’s abolition of non-aligned status, when there are no prospects for its accession to NATO, can ‘only add tensions to our already tense relations’. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the decision is ‘counterproductive’; Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev says it has been ‘hasty’. / By 303 votes from 369 deputies present, the Ukrainian parliament passes a bill tabled by president Petro Poroshenko cancelling the country’s non-bloc status, making it possible for the country to seek NATO membership.

22 Dec. By 23 votes to five, The Abkha parliament ratifies the ‘strategic partnership’ accord with Russia. The accord entails the formation of a combined Russian-Abkhaz group of armed forces and joint defence infrastructure, and co-operation in socio-economic, health, education and other fields. / Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkadi Dvorkovich announces that Russia will introduce export duties on grain with the participation of the key participants in that market. / Visiting KIEV, Kazakhstan president, Nursultan Nazarbaev, agrees to deliver steam coal to Ukraine, to resume military-technical cooperation and to boost cooperation in trade and agriculture.

21 Dec. Several dozen people holding red flags and a poster reading ‘Together with the Russian people!’ meets in Gori to mark the 135th birthday anniversary of Stalin’s birthday in his native city. / A representative of the Russian Black Sea Fleet announces that, after restoration, the Crimean Naval Base, which was part of the Russian; Fleet until 1996, is now operational .(Until 19 March, it was the headquarters of the Ukrainian Navy). / Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko thanks his visiting Belarus counterpart Alexandr Lukashenko for this support for Ukraine territorial integrity and his ‘not-recognition of the pseudo-election in Donbass’; they discuss economic, finance and security cooperation and the next peace talks to be held in Minsk. / After a meeting in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukrainian MP Yuri Bereza (former commander of the Dnipro-1 volunteer battalion) announces conditions for the Rinat Akhmetov’s Fund to deliver humanitarian aid to the Donbass, including the presence of international observers.

20 Dec. Kazakhstan’s Deputy Minister of National Economy Madina Abilkasimova says the government has set up a working group to deal with the impact of the Russian difficult economic situation the Kazakhstan economy. / Addressing a meeting of the National Security and Defence Council, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko proposes to spend up to 5% of GDP on defence and security. he says that the war made Ukrainians stronger, and that nobody objects to that increased despite the weakness of the economy. / Most of Crimea has no electricity for a second day.

19 Dec. Belarus introduces currency exchange restrictions to maintain stability in the currency exchange amid growing demand for dollars. The Currency and Stock Exchange cancels trading. / Russia's Defence Ministry says it has no information on servicemen on leave who are involved in military action in south-east Ukraine but that Russian servicemen who have left the forces ‘have the right to do whatever their conscience and conviction compels them to’. / During a meeting with Russian businessmen, President Vladimir Putin says that the authorities are ready to defend business, but business should help the authorities. / A survey conducted by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology in December suggests that 82% of Donbass residents do not want to leave this region despite the ongoing hostilities; 43% say they are in a very difficult situation (compared with 36% in November). held east.

18 Dec. Georgian President Giorgi Margevlashvili hails the European parliament’s overwhelming ratification of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement.. / Moldovan experts forecast a sharp economic downfall due to the reduction of remittances from Russia, by 20% in the short term. (There is a 12% plunge in all money transfers to the country). / In his traditional end-of-year news conference, before 1,250 journalists, Russian president Vladimir Putin says the West must stop building a new Berlin walls; that he is confident the faltering economy will recover before too long; and that the difference between a true opposition and ‘fifth columnists’ is that the former is fighting for the interests of its homeland while the later are instruments of political forces alien to it. He also defends the gas contract with China, and cooperation with Turkey, as ways to give Russia considerable strategic advantages; says that Russia's ‘turn to the East’ is due to global economic processes, rather than to the current political situation; that Georgian leaders should negotiate with breakaway territories because, and Ukrainian leaders with south-east Ukraine, which means the people living on that territory; and that the Crimean authorities should show understanding in resolving the question of land ownership for land owned by Tatars before their deportation and make them full citizens of Russia.

17 Dec. Russian foreign ministry ‘welcomes’ the thaw between US and Cuba saying it had ‘insisted for many years on lifting the economic, trade and financial blocade of Cuba’. / Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko arrives in Poland for his first presidential visit with plans to sign agreements on low level border traffic, new opportunities for Ukrainian students in Poland, and military-technical cooperation. / At the same time, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk insists on gaining quick results in key areas of co-operation with EU and that EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policyn Federica Mogherini, should pay particular attention to the humanitarian situation on the ‘occupied’ territories. / Another aid convoy from the Ukrainian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov Foundation is barred from entering rebel-held area by representatives of the Right Sector fighting as volunteers. / The Ukrainian Cabinet appoints former first deputy Georgian interior minister, Eka Zguladze (who has received Ukrainian citizenship under the name Kateryna Zhuladze) as first deputy interior minister in charge of fighting corruption.

16 Dec. The head of Rosneft, IgorSechin, rejects as a ‘provocation’ reports that his company has contributed to the collapse of the rouble. / Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko personally introduces the new secretary of the National Security and Defence Council, Olexandr Turchynov, whom he tasks with funding the army and law enforcement, and turning the Council into a centre for finding effective answers to all security threats, including from inside the country. / In Kiev, the foreign ministers of the Visegrad Four unveil plans for specific assistance for Ukraine’s EU integration (Slovakia in the energy sector; Poland in decentralisation and public service management; the Czech Republic in the field of civil society, education and mass media; and Hungary on economic development). / Several hundred people hold a rally called ‘Financial Maidan’ outside the building of the National Bank of Ukraine, demanding the revision of currency loans and resignation of the bank chief, Valeria Hontareva.

15 Dec. Moldova says that US marines have completed four antitank shooting programme practices with soldiers and of ,the Moldovan peacekeeping battalion using weapons provided by the USA. / In an’article headlined ‘Russia and Ukraine: living by new rules’, Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev says that Moscow is ‘tired’ of supporting Ukraine's economy while gaining nothing from doing so; from now Russia will pursue a ‘pragmatic" policy guided by its national interests alone, setting aside emotions and 'family feelings'. / Visiting Russia, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang says that China is willing to increase investment in Russia's Far East and to work with Russia and its partners to increase the role of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in regional security and development, including uniting to face oil price fluctuations. / Naftohaz Ukrainy offers to transport and store gas for central and eastern Europe to make up for the Russia’s withdrawal from the South Stream pipeline project. / Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who is counselling the new Ukrainian leadership, says that Maidan revolution is ‘a continuation of Georgia struggle against the Russia empire’, which is threatened by a Putin fifth column in Ukraine. / Ukraine and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development sign an agreement on a €150m loan agreement to modernise the Urengoy-Pomary-Uzhhorod pipeline, which is used to deliver Russian gas to European consumers. / Ukrainian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov appeals to President Petro Poroshenko to facilitate the entry into to Donetsk of z convoy his Humanitarian Centre, which was turned back by the a Ukrainian volunteer battalion.. / At the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, Kazakhstan Prime Minister Karim Masimov proposes to the use of national currencies for trade transactions within the bloc.

14 Dec. During his first official visit to Kazakhstan, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang sign co-operative agreements worth $14 billion .. / A deputy head of Ukrainian presidential administration, Valeri Chaly, confirms that during his visit President Petro Poroshenko reached an agreement for Australia to supply coal and uranium to Ukraine as a way to diversify energy supplies.

13 Dec. In Russia, the Yabloko Party's founder, Grigori Yavlinsky, calls for a return to the government of former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin to introduce serious economic measures ‘and explain them honestly to the population’. / About 50,000 people rally ‘against terrorism’ in the capital of Chehnya, Grozny, following the rebel attack on 4 December: some NGOs call it a ‘government-created show’. / President Petro Poroshenko grants Ukrainian citizenship to Eka Zguladze, a former Georgian interior minister under president Mikheil Saakasvhili. He is set to become Ukraine’s first deputy interior minister.

12 Dec. The Azerbaijan government endorses the foundation of new National Nuclear Research Centre with a joint stock capital of $3.8m.. / The Moscow Human Rights Bureau publishes a report on the Crimean Tatars, accusing ‘irresponsible speculation’ of stirring up trouble just when their attitude towards accession to Russia is ‘gradually improving’. / Visiting Australia, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says that ‘for the first day in the past seven months the cease-fire regime has been really respected’ and calls on the international community to recognise the Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics as terrorist organisations. / The Ukrainian firm Ukrinmash signs a contract with the US company Barrett Firearms for the supply of weapons to the Ukrainian Security Service and the National Guard.

11 Dec. The leader of South Ossetia calls on volunteers fighting in Ukraine's separatist regions to come home, since their ‘mission has come to an end’ now that their own people are structuring government institutions. / The Russian government decides to allot up to $5m to help Ukraine in 2014 under the UN World Food Programme. / During the visit of President Vladimir Putin, Russia and India sign 20 bilateral cooperation deals covering oil, gas, mining, defence and investment. The programme includes the construction of 12 nuclear reactors in India by 2035, joint production of advanced helicopters, and a contract between Rosneft and India's Essar for the delivery of 10 million tonnes of oil per year for 10 years. / Visiting Australia, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko discusses energy cooperation, $2m of aimed forces, the opening of an Australian embassy in Kiev, and the question of ‘Russian intervention’. / By 269 votes, and after sharp exchanges, the Ukrainian parliament backs the programme presented by Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk. By 252 votes, it rejects a resolution put by Oleh Liashko, the head of the Radical Party, proposing the exclusion from parliamentary committee posts of deputies who voted for the ‘dictatorial’ laws of 16 January. The parliament also changes the borders of some districts in the Donetsk Region to include territories regained to Kiev’s control.

10 Dec. Before arriving in India for the annual India-Russia summit, President Vladimir Putin says Russia's cooperation with Pakistan (with which it signed its first large agreement last month), will serve the long-term interests of India. / Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev holds his annual ‘Talk with Prime Minister’ on leading TV channels; in it, he calls on Russians to stay calm and patient in face of the rouble’s decline, and to look at developments in similar a situation in 2008 and 2009. This year ‘in our country there have been great achievements and big problems’. The government fully appreciates the damage done by sanctions to the Russian economy, which ‘will benefit nobody’. Russia will dig into its own reserves to finance key projects. The Russian leadership considers the country to be part of Europe, albeit as a country, with its own traditions, history and culture. / During a meeting with Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov in Tashkent, Russian President Vladimir Putin praises bilateral ties. At the same time; the two countries’ finance ministers sign an agreement by which Russia writes off the $865m Uzbekistan's debt, paving the way for further cooperation including in the military-technical field. / Ukrainian Economic Development and Trade Minister Aivaras Abromavicius says that Ukraine is in talks with the IMF to expand the latter’s financial assistance. (The IMF approved a $17.1bn loan to Kiev this spring).

9 Dec. The Azerbaijani opposition claims that local Wahhabis have used bribes to stop the government campaign against radical groups and networks sending people to fight in Iraq and Syria. (The Board of Muslims of the Caucasus recently issued a fatwa, declaring that the war in Syria was not a jihad). / Russsian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that Russia will join in drawing up a programme for an ‘economic revival’ of the Donbass region, as the Minsk agreements confirmed the need to improve the humanitarian situation there; he calls for the OSCE’s observer mission to concentrate not only on the rebels but also on the activities of the Ukrainian forces. / Rosatom announces that Russia and Hungary have signed agreements on the construction of two new units at the Paks nuclear power plant backed by a state loan up to €10bn. / The governor of Kaliningrad Region asks Moscow to drop its intention to stop issuing short-term visas to foreigners from 1 January 2015.. / Ukraine resumes gas imports from Russia following Russia’s payment of the relevant bill. / Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk says EU membership is Ukraine’s ultimate goal; Ukraine will increase defence spending up to 5% of the GDP in 2015 and abolish its non-bloc status, opening the way for NATO membership. It will organise its armed forces in accordance with NATO standards; Ukraine announces it will build two more nuclear reactors and an LNG terminal to decrease dependence on Russian gas. / Meeting President of Singapore, Tony Tan Keng Yam, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says he wants to study Singapore’s experience in fighting corruption.

8 Dec. Commenting on the contract on the construction of a pipeline between Russia and Turkey, the president of Azerbaijan's State Oil Company Rovnak Abdullaev says that it is not a rival to the Baku-Erzurum gas pipeline; and that his country may invest $45-48bn in the implementation of projects to ensure its gas supplies to Europe, as well as raising SOCAR’s investments in Turkey from the current $5bn to 20bn. / Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov says that the Kremlin is ‘relaxed’ about the Mistral aircraft-carrier contract with France: ‘Russia will accept either the ships or the compensation money’. / The spokesman for the Ukrainbian National Security and Defence Council, Andri Lysenko, says that the Donetsk airport remains under the Ukrainian troops' control but that that the two terminals have been destroyed.

7 Dec. In a video conference with opposition activists in St. Petersburg, which local authorities tried to disrupt, former Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovsky says that that the [Russian]regime will fall sooner or later’ because ‘all authoritarian regimes collapse’.

06 Dec. Returning from Kazakhtan, French President Francois Hollande makes an impromptu stop in Moscow to meet president Putin and discuss ways to stop the bloodshed in Ukraine; Putin says that Russia supports the territorial integrity of Ukraine and calls for an end to the blocade of the Donbass.

05 Dec. Abkhaz foreign minister Viacheslav Chirikba salutes as a ‘big success for Abkhaz diplomacy’ the US removal of visa barriers for Abkhaz and South Ossetians travelling with Russian passports issued in Sukhumi and Tskhinvali. / French and Kazakhstani presidents François Hollande and Nursultan Nazarbaev jointly say there is the risk a cold war, and that nations ‘driving one another into a tight corner’ is not the best option. / Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov says that Akhmat, the brother of the late warlord Dokku Umarov organised the attack on Grozny on 4th Dec. which left 10 militants and 14 policemen dead. / Ex-head of Yukos Mikhail Khodorkovsky says he knows how to help Russia out of the current crisis and would be ready to act a crisis manager for ‘two to three years’ before stepping down, without seeking leadership. / The French Thales Group International signs an agreement with Ukrinmash for the supply of military equipment to the Ukrainian armed forces.

04 Dec. By 103 votes, 7 against and 1 abstention, the Armenian parliament ratifies the treaty on joining the Eurasian Union. / NATO secretary general's special representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, James Appathurai, expresses concern about ‘a perception of politically-motivated arrests’ in Georgia which ‘can become an obstacle on its path towards NATO membership’. / Final results of 30 November parliamentary elections in Moldova indicate that, after the redistribution of votes for parties which failed to clear the 6% hurdle, the 101 seats will be shared between the Party of Socialists (25), the Liberal Democratic Party (23), the Communist Party (21), the Democratic Party (19), and the Liberal Party (13). The turnout was 55.86%. / A Levada Centre poll suggests that 58% of Russians would like to see Vladimir Putin re-elected as president of Russia in 2018 (compared to 33% a year ago); 72% support the steps he has taken during his time in power and 13% are critical. / President Putin delivers his annual address to the Russian Federal Assembly. In it, he announces measures to help Russian business (an end of ‘intrusive’ supervision and no changes in taxation rules for 4 years) He proposes a ‘total amnesty’ for individuals returning capital to Russia, and says that sanctions are not ‘just a nervous reaction of the US and its allies’ but a sort of economic deterrence aimed at curbing Russia’s growing opportunities. He also calls for tough measures against those speculating against the rouble, for reduced dependence on imports, and for support for domestic industry. He says that Russia ‘will never follow the path of self-isolation’ and seeks as many equal partners as possible both in the West and in the East; that it is ‘meaningless to speak to Russia from a position of force even when it faces domestic problems’; and that Russia well remembers those ‘who almost openly supported separatism and even direct terror here’ in time of difficuly. He condemns a ‘forcible seizure of power’ in Ukraine, but calls for assistance to Ukrainian economy, adding that Russia had already made loans to Ukraine. / Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin says that the OSCE’s impact on the conflict there has been very limited and it may disappear unless it changes the way it functions. / Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko orders a cease-fire in Donbass from 9 December.

03 Dec. Russia's permanent envoy to NATO, Alexandr Grushko, says that ties are close to a ‘freezing point’ and that cooperation with Russia would serve the Alliance’s interests better than focusing on defence of its right flank. / At the Russian-Arab cooperation forum, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that Moscow would like the Arab League to join the Middle East Quartet. / Russian President Vladimir Putin freezes the index-linking of civil servants salaries for 2015. / The presidents of Iran, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan celebrate the inauguration of the 934km Uzen-Bereket-Gorgan railway line.

02 Dec. Georgian Deputy Prime Minister Kakhi Kaladze says that an offer by the Ukrainian president of government posts to high-ranking under Georgia former president Mikheil Saakashvili will be viewed as an ‘unpleasant’ episode in bilateral relations. / Representatives of Kiev, the Donbass and the OSCE agree to a < b>cease-fire starting on 5 December. / Ukrainianpolice open a criminal investigation into the death of the deputy head of the Maidan Anti-corruption Committee, Olexandr Kostrenko, founded stabled in his flat. / Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko grants citizenship to ‘foreign specialists’ Natalie Jaresko (US), Alexandre Kvitashvili (Georgia) and Aivaras Abromavicius (Lithuania) appointed respectively to be ministers of finance, health and economic development and trade. / Ukraine energy minister Yuri Prodan announces the introduction of power cuts. / By 351 votes (out of 383 MPs present), the Ukrainian parliament re-appoints Pavlo Klimkin as foreign minister and, by 347 votes, Stepan Poltorak as defence minister. The full government is approved by 288 out of 339 MPs present. / Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko tells parliament that he will sign a decree granting Ukrainian citizenship to foreigners who have been fighting ‘against Russia's aggression”.

01 Dec. On the eve of the visit of Georgian premier Irakli Gharibashvili to Kiev, the Georgian foreign ministry plays down reports that former president Mikheil Saakashvili could enter the Ukrainian government , despite having being accused of an abuse of power in Georgia. (Saakashvili writes in Facebook he would refuse any such invitation, as he does not want to renounce Georgian citizenship). / The chairman of the Russian president's council on human rights, Mikhail Fedotov, describes as ‘an attempt to build a new iron curtain’ the cancellation by the German government of a meeting of the co-ordination committee of the Petersburg Dialogue, following the cancellation of a meeting of the forum in October. / Russia's permanent representative at the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, says he hopes that relations with Russia will improve under the new European Council head, Donald Tusk. / Soon after president Vladimir Putin, visiting Turkey, complains of EU pressure on Bulgaria and other countries to refuse transit for the South Stream pipeline, the head of Gazprom, Alexei Miller, says the project has been shut down for good. Energy Minister Alexandr Novak blames the EU for the U-turn, while insisting that Russia will fulfil all gas contracts with European countries remain a reliable supplier to them. He says Turkey will be a hub for Russian gas exports thanks to an expansion of Blue Stream.


30 Nov. As Moldavians elect their new parliament, members of their diaspora in Russian protest at a shortage of hundreds ballots at their Moscow consulate. Between 700.000 (officially) and 1 million (unofficially) are living and working in Russia. / Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov says Russia has ‘so far not put the issue of a Russia-EU summit on the agenda’ but work contacts are continuing. / Visiting Iran, Russia's Economic development minister Alexei Uliukaev says trade deals will start soon ny which will supply oil Russia in return for grain and industrial goods.

29 Nov. Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov says that Russia will give up counter-measures if the European Union lifts sanctions.

28 Nov. The US embassy in Moldova expresses concern over the decision of the Court of Appeal to exclude the Motherland party from the 30 November’s (allegedly for receiving $543.000 from ‘abroad’). / Kazakhstan Prime Minister Berdybek Saparbaev supports plans to send workers from the south (where over half of school-leavers are without work) to the north (where there is a shortage of manpower). / The Russian Justice ministry says it has not paid former Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovsky the €10,000 compensation ordered by the European Court of Justice court because he has not provided his bank account details. / Ukrainian separatists say that Kiev is closure of transport links between their region and the rest of the country is obliging them to develop further links with Russia. / A poll by Levada Centre suggests that that 81% of Russians have experienced little or no serious difficulty from sanctions but that the same number expect to suffer economic hardship.

27 Nov. President of Abkhazia Raul Khadzhimba calls for the development of local agriculture to boost substitution of imports from Russia. / Ukraine’s new parliament, composed of 8 factions, holds its first sitting. By 359 votes Volodymyr Hroisman, deputy prime minister and a member of the Poroshenko Bloc, is elected speaker, and by 341 votes Arseni Yatseniuk is approved as prime minister. Addressing parliament, president Poroshenko rejects federalisation, which is opposed ‘by 100% of Ukrainians’; he believes peace will be restored in the; Donbass but says peace will not stop ‘military threat from the east’; he suggests abandoning the country’s non-bloc status, ‘as it failed to ensure national security’, but criticises those who would rush to join NATO as ‘that is up to the Ukrainian people to decide’; he proposes appointing a foreigner as anticorruption chief.

26 Nov. Economic Development Minister Alexei Uliukaev says that Russia does not plan to nationalise the assets of foreign companies operating on its territory in retaliation for Western sanctions. / The press service of the Russia’s Southern Military District says that the first 14 modern Su-27 SM and Su-30 fighter jets have arrived at Belbek air base, as part of the recently-established fighter aviation regiment deployed in Crimea. / In Kiev, the head of NATO Allied Command Operations in Europe, Gen Philip Breedlove, meets prime minister Arseni Yatseniuk, who says Ukraine is ready to ‘create all conditions for deeper cooperation’ in defence matters. He also meets President Petro Poroshenko, who applauds the work of the joint Ukrainian-US defence committee implementing military reform in Ukraine on a bilateral basis.

25 Nov. In his briefing following the 5 + 1 talks on Iran, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov speaks of a ‘significant progress towards a final agreement’ which needs more discussions. / President Vladimir Putin signs a decree introducing compulsory fingerprinting to foreigners applying for a Russian visa for entry or transit. / The Russian defence ministry says Moscow is ready, but not in a hurry, to sue France over the Mistral delay but ‘does not make a tragedy of it’ as the delivery ‘does not affect the pace of the Russian Navy's modernisation. / Russia’s Economic Development Minister Alexei Uliukaev says that he has sent a letter to the new EU Commission expressing Russia’s hopes for relaunching a dialogue.

24 Nov. Abkhazia’s president Raul Khadzhimba and Russian President Vladimir Putin sign a 10 years ‘alliance and strategic partnership’ agreement, which is immediately condemned by Georgian Foreign Minister Tamar Beruchashvili as ‘a step towards de-facto annexation’ by Russia. / Turkey's Agriculture Minister details a boost in food exports to Russia in 2014, whbich includes a white meat exports up 447% in the first nine months. / Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov says that Russia is ready to resume a dialogue over the South Stream pipeline now that a new EU Commission is in place, while regretting the ‘unprecedented pressure exerted on very country taking part in the project to get out of it’. / Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko says that only a referendum can decide on an application for NATO membership. / Ukrainian and Lithuanian presidents Petro Poroshenko and Dalia Grybauskaite agree on their countries co-operation in the training of officers and the supply of some weapons by Vilnius.

23 Nov. In a long interview, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin does not exclude running for re-election in 2018, depending of the situation – but says he does not want to be president for life, which would be harmful for the country; he says that Russia does not seek a new Iron Curtain nor to compete with the West or to isolate itself, but it will defend its geopolitical interests and develop its own agenda. He says artificially low oil prices will also hit those interests which are provoking them. He supports ‘constructive’ opposition but civil society must not be used to influence Russia from abroad. / Russian presidential envoy for Middle East and Africa, Mikhail Bogdanov, says that Moscow is ready to support a UN resolution on creating a Palestinian state while bearing in mind the dynamics of the Palestinian-Israeli settlement.

22 Nov. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accuses the US of unwillingness to seek a UN mandate against the Islamic State so as to avoid establishing the status of Syrian President Bashar Al-Asad. / Memorial says its statutes have been amended to comply with Russian Federation law and avoid closure. / Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko compares the famine of 1932-33 with ‘undeclared war’ against Ukraine in 2014, which continues the imperialistic genocide of the Ukrainian nation by the ‘spiritual spiritual heirs of Stalin , Kaganovich and Postyshev’ in the ‘temporarily occupied territories’ of East Ukraine’. / Confusion reigns at the Odessa oil refinery as police block the installation under order of the Ukrainian prosecutor office in order to prevent clandestine shipments of oil products. There is a division over the matter between tycoons Ihor Kolomoysky (Dnepropetrovsk governor) and Serhi Kurchenko (of former president Yanunovich’s circle).

21 Nov. The US Department of Defence says that three Yemeni are being transferred from Guantanamo Bay prison to Georgia. (Three other prisoners, never officially identified, were transferred in 2010). / The head of the Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, Sergei Kirienko, says that it has signed a deal with Ukraine to supply nuclear fuel for its nuclear power plants in 2015. / By 301 votes to 143 against, the Russian Duma adopts the federal budget for 2015 and plans for period 2016-17, providing for a deficit of 0.6% over the period. / The Russian Duma approves the setting up of a free economic zone in the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol. / In Ukraine, five parties (the Petro Poroshenko Bloc, the People's Front, the Self-Help party, the Radical Party of Oleh Lyashko and the Fatherland party) sign a coalition agreement. / Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk pledges ‘real reform’ after meeting US Vice-President Joseph Biden, in Kiev on a working visit. / In a address to the nation on the anniversary of protests, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko says that Russia has failed to destroy Ukrainian statehood, that reforms will not come easy but will continue, and that he wants Arseni Yatseniuk to continue as prime minister.

20 Nov. A report by the Kyrgyzstan State National Security Committee says that about 3,500 citizen of Central Asia are participating in military operations in Syria and Iraq on the side of extremists, including ISIS - about 2.000 from Uzbekistan, 300 (half of them women) from Kazakhstan, 175 from Kyrgyzstan, and 200-500 from Tajikistan. / Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigori Karasin says Moscow hopes that Kiev will resume its participation in the Minsk contact groups talks - ‘the only effective format in which representatives of the south-east take part’. / In Belgrade, the EU commissioner in charge of enlargement and neighbourhood policy, Johannes Hahn, urges Serbia to impose sanctions on Russia, ‘as this is a legal commitment within the framework of EU accession talks’. Serbia refuses. / During a meeting with the North Korean leader's special envoy, Choe Ryong Haei, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says he is convinced that practical interaction with Pyongyang will be useful not only for bilateral relations but also for creating conditions for the resumption of six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear problem. / Former USSR president Mikhail Gorbachev says that Putin played a major role in stabilising post-Yeltsin Russia, and that, despite applying ‘authoritarian methods’, he always worked ‘in the interest of the majority’ – but he fears that Putin is beginning to suffer from the same ‘self-assuredness’ he himself suffered during Perestroika. / The head of the National Bank of Ukraine, Valeria Hontareva, forecasts that Ukraine's GDP will fall by 7.5% in 2014 and by 4.3% in 2015.

19 Nov. Abkhazia’s government approves the draft agreement on ‘alliance and strategic partnership’ with Russia and urges president Raul Khadzhimba to sign it. / Azerbaijan's Finance Minister Samir Sarifov announces an increase of defence budget from $3.8bn to $4.8bn in 2015. / Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennadi Gatilov says that politics played no role in the decision to close the Moscow office of UNESCO in 2015; the closure is a consequence of UNESCO’s decision to reorganise the activities of its bureaux. (Moscow was a ‘cluster bureau" for CIS countries; the situation changed when Ukraine and Georgia left the bureau, according to Gatilov. / Visiting Hungary, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that maintaining Ukraine's non-aligned status is important for Euro-Atlantic security and for the Ukrainians themselves. / The Russian president's envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District, Sergei Melikov, says that given the current foreign political situation, the region has the potential to be a leader in agriculture and to provide import substitution. / Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that Russia and the EU are natural partners, and establishing dialogue at a structural level between the EU and the Customs Union (of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan) may be a practical step. / Ukrainian former President Leonid Kuchma, who represented Ukraine at the Minsk meeting, says it is hard to come up with anything better than the Minsk cease-fire agreement, due to Russia's continued support to ‘terrorists’; he calls for a larger involvement of European and American diplomats in the dialogue.

18 Nov. The Armenian government approves an agreement by which Russia will allocate a 10-year $270m loan to repair the second block of the Armenian nuclear power plant. / The International Bank of Azerbaijan and Russia’s Roseximbank sign an agreement on using national currencies in their operations, on the model agreed by Russia and China . / During a two-day visit to Pakistan, Azerbaijani Defence Minister Zakir Hasanov discusses regional security and accepts to expand military cooperation. / Moldova’s state-run company Registru decides to issue temporary IDs ahead of elections on 30 November as, for the first time since independence, holders of Soviet passports cannot vote; a decision fiercely contested by opposition parties.

17 Nov. The Russian Supreme Court recognises as ‘extremist’ five Ukrainian parties - UNA-UNSO, Right Sector, Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UIA), Tryzub and Brotherhood) - and bans their activities in Russia. / Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic says that the brotherhood between Serbia and Russia is ‘traditional’, but that Serbia's political interest is to join the EU – which ‘never posed him a dilemma from Moscow’ – and that, as future OSCE chair, Serbia will not impose sanctions on Russia. / special envoy Choe Ryong-hae arrives in Moscow for a week with a military-economic delegation.. / Russian representative to the OSCE, Andrei Kelin, says that columns of Russian military hardware in south-eastern Ukraine are a ‘myth’ and calls attention to the existence of defence plans and repair facilities in the region. He says that Russia will continue to press the US to provide their satellite data of Malaysian flight crash, as well as data from the Ukrainian air controllers' exchanges. / Russia's permanent representative at the EU Vladimir Chizhov says he sees the EU foreign ministers’ decision not to toughen sanctions beyond a few additional leaders of Donbass as a ‘ritual’ gesture. / A decree of President Petro Poroshenko proposes that, within a month, the National Bank of Ukraine should stop banks servicing the accounts of businesses and individuals in the antiterrorist operation zone in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. / The Ukrainian government allocates $19.4m to renovate social infrastructure in these regions.

16 Nov. Before leaving the G20 before the final ‘working breakfast’, Russian president Vladimir Putin, who has been the target of Western critics because of Ukraine, praises the ‘constructive atmosphere’ of the summit, thanks to the host, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, for providing for exchanges despite disagreements. / President Putin says that the last of several aircraft have left Moscow to Guinea with a 200-bed hospital specially equipped to fight Ebola and other serious diseases.

15 Nov. The deputy head of the Azerbaijan Presidential Administration, Novruz Mammadov, says that Baku wants a ‘special strategic cooperation’ deal with the EU rather than an association agreement which goes counter the will to preserve an independent foreign policy. / From Kiev, former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili salutes as the ‘voice of the people’ the thousands rallying in Tbilisi at the calls of the opposition; the demonstrators denounce the negotiation of a treaty of alliance between Russia and Abkhazia and carry carrying flags with the emblems of Georgia, the US, UK, NATO, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and the ‘Chechen republic of Ichkeria’. / Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Riabkov says that the US has an hand in the ‘artificial’ slow down of the investigation of the Malaysian Boeing airliner crash in Ukraine. / The chair of the Russian Duma's international affairs committee, Alexei Pushkov, says that NATO’s eastwards expansion is driven by the US, as it prepares for a showdown with China. / The leaders of ‘Luhansk People’s Republic’ appeal to the UN and OSCE to stop the Ukrainian army ‘offensive against civilians’ that is and destroying Donbass infrastructures on the eve of winter. / The Ukrainian presidential website publishes a draft coalition agreement of 27 paragraphs, including proposals to cancel Ukraine's non-bloc status, ensure its entry into NATO, increase spending on the army; and to pursue plans for the return of Crimea.

14 Nov. Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev follows President Putin in announcing that he will also not take part in the Davos international economic forum in January. / Jordan and Russia sign cooperation and trade agreements, under which Jordan will purchase 300,000 tons of Russian wheat annually in addition to 320,000 tons of barley. / Crimea's first deputy prime minister, Igor Kotliar, tells parliament that tax and other revenues from the tourist industry dropped by 25% this year. / Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin says that Kiev has no intention to ‘reconquer’ Donbass by military means because it values the lives of Ukrainians ‘held hostages by terrorists’ and is looking for a political solution to the current crisis. / The Ukrainian energy company DTRK says it had no option but to import 1.3m tonnes of Russian anthracite (and will import 1.3m more by the end of the year). / Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says he believes the Donbass issue can be solved politically, but that, at the same time, there is no reasons to panic as Ukraine has the means and the resources to defend itself.

13 Nov. A monitoring ise conducted during the summer involving the heads of the 40 biggest Transdniestr industrial enterprises shows that most suffered from the Ukrainian crisis (contracts suspended, delayed payments, problems of shipping goods through Ukraine, etc). / Speaking at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit, Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev says that the West's sanctions against Russia put pressure on the global economy and should be lifted; he says Russia did not impose sanctions but merely took retaliatory measures. / Russian foreign ministry says that Moscow does not rule out that talks with Iran could go beyond the deadline, but refuses to talk of a Plan B, as the task is still to meet the deadline. / Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signs decrees introducing a new holiday - the Day of Dignity and Freedom, on 21 November (the first day of Euro-Maydan protests) - and confirming the celebration of the Day of Ukraine's Unity, on 22 January. / The spokesman of National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine, Andri Lysenko, says that pensioners in Donetsk and Luhansk are holding mass protests against a drop in living standards and the deprivation of pensions, following Kiev’s stoppage of payments in non-controlled areas.

12 Nov. Azerbaijan’s defence minister awards a medal to the officer responsible for the downing of an Armenian military helicopter violating Azerbaijan’s airspace near the Nagorno-Karabakh contact line.. / President Ilham Aliev greets Iran’s Hassan Rouhani in Baku praising the their countries’ ‘indestructible friendship’. / The Transdniestr Region customs service say that 40 cargo vehicules destined for the Region are at Ukrainian border checkpoints on administrative pretexts, a sharp increase since mid-October. / The Russian Prosecutor-General's office asks the Supreme Court to recognise ISIL as a terrorist organisation. / The Russian Defence Ministry says that claims about Russian armed forces entering Ukraine are ‘hot air’./ The chairman of the Duma's International Affairs Committee, Alexei Pushkov, says that Russia is ready to resume participation in the activities of the Political Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) but does not intend to give up its position on the Ukrainian issue. / The Supreme Economic Court of Ukraine orders the return to the state of 68% of shares of the Zaporizhzhia aluminium plant, the only one producing aluminium in the country, whose previous owner was a Cyprus-based holding affiliated with Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska's company RusAl. The Crimean parliament nationalises a palace-garden complex belonging to the Ukrainian tycoon and former governor of Donetsk Region, Serhi Taruta. / Separatist authorities ask Kiev government to continue to pay social benefits in their areas, arguing that a stoppage is akin to making awar against its own citizens, especially the most vulnerable, ahead of the winter. / Prime minister Arseni Yatseniuk orderes the Ukrainian Security Service to look into the situation with regard to coal supplies, suspecting that the price of coal imported from South Africa is exaggerated with a in vieuw of making Ukraine dependent on Russia and the occupied territories of Donbass.

11 Nov. CIS Executive Secretary Sergei Lebedev says that the CIS will coordinate with Kiev its interactions with the Ukrainian separatists. (Ukraine is still a CIS member). / Latvian media comment on the ‘coming out’ of foreign minister Edgars Rinkevics just ahead of Riga taking on the EU presidency. Some observers see it as an anti-Russian defiance gesture, bearing in mind Moscow’s attitude to homosexuals; others fear it might compromise the presidency’s goal of improving EU relations with conservative countries in Central Asia. / Addressing the APEC member states, Russian President Vladimir Putin warns against creating competing economic blocs that may lead to a split in the Asia-Pacific region. / Rosatom and the Iranian Nuclear Power Production and Development Company sign a contract for Russia to build two new energy units for the Bushehr nuclear power station . / East-Ukrainian eparatist leaders says that they are ready to sell coal ‘to any country but Ukraine’, because it does not pay for deliveries, but that exporting to Russia is difficult due to the unclear status of the Donetsk Popular Republic. / The Ukraine Central Electoral Commission announces the result of the election of 421 members to parliament. :132 seats went to the Petro Poroshenko Bloc; 82 to Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk's People's Front; 33 to Lviv mayor Andri Sadovy's Self-Help party; 29 to the Opposition Bloc; 22 to Oleh Lyashko's Radical Party; 19 to former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's Fatherland. There were 94 successful self-nominated candidates and 10 members elected in first-past-the-post constituencies from parties that failed to overcome the 5% barrier. Votes will be recounted in two constituencies. / The Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council urges the OSCE not to disclose information about the location of Ukrainian military detachments in the zone of anti-terrorist operations as dangerous for their security. / Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko tasks the Finance Ministry to triple military spending in 2015 to 3 per cent of GDP.

10 Nov. Georgian police cut the road connecting Akhmeta to the Pankisi Gorge and arrest 4 people after brawls between Georgians and Chechens, which left 3 hurt. / Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller says the company is considering a proposal for the construction of a gas pipeline to Japan and its participation in the distribution of gas and electricity there. / Russia's permanent representative to the OSCE, Andrei Kelin, berates the organisation for reporting producing only troop movements and shelling by the Donetsk and Luhansk republics while ignoring unlawful action by the Kiev authorities. / Kiev prosecutor Serhi Yuldashev says that 17,000 police are operating in Kiev and that there is no need for armed volunteer battalions to ensure order.. / Crimean activists picket President Petro Poroshenko’s administration urging him to sign a law on the rights and status of those who fled the peninsula in March. / The Ukrainian government obliges big industrial consumers to purchase gas exclusively from Naftohaz Ukrayin from 1 December 2014 until 28 February 2015. / The Ukrainian electoral commission says that 6 parties will enter parliament in proportion to their share of the vote. Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk's People's Front came first with 22.14%; Petro Poroshenko’s Bloc received 21.82%; the Self-Help party, led by Lviv mayor Andri Sadovy, took 10.97%; the Opposition Bloc Party, 9.43%; the Radical Party, headed by populist MP Oleh Lyashko, 7.44; and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's Fatherland party 5.68%.

09 Nov. Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives in Beijing to attend the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders' Summit. At a bilateral meeting, he agrees with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to pursue a dialogue to solve the Islands dispute but not about rescheduling visit of Putin to Tokyo which was cancelled under US pressure because of the Ukrainian situation. He signs with Chinese President Xi Jinping an agreement to boost ties, including an agreement to develop a second route to supply China with Russian gas. / Russian Energy Minister Alexandr Novak voices support for the idea of using National Wealth Fund money to buy Rosneft bonds, but at a less than the $40bn Rosneft asked for.

08 Nov. Recently dismissed Georgian defence minister, Irakli Alasania, is elected chairman of the Free Democrats party which remains part of the ruling Georgian Dream coalition. / Following talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says they both agreed to convince the Ukrainian leadership to start fulfilling the Geneva agreements and to settle the conflict politically. / Russia's Economic Development Minister Alexei Uliukaev says that the economy will suffer if the existing sanctions are prolonged, and will even more so if new ones are introduced; but he does not expect a recession in Russia in the first quarter of 2015. / In a speech at the ceremony marking the fall of the Berlin wall, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev warns of a ‘collapse in trust’ in recent months, originating from the events of the 1990s, the short-sighted Western claim to victory on the cold war, and the exploitation of Russian weakness, which prevented a move on the path to a new Europe and a safer world order.

07 Nov. The Russian Defence Ministry reacts to statements by Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird about Russian troops allegedly moving towards Ukraine saying it is sick and tired of rumours from social networks being relayed officially without factual proof. / Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigori Karasin says that Russia is not against Geneva-format negotiations to resolve the situation in Ukraine but believes that Kiev must fulfil its earlier commitments first, and such meetings should be well prepared. / Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov says that Moscow ‘respects’ the eastern Ukraine polls, but that this does not mean ‘recognition’. / The Russian Central Bank sees some panic demand for hard currency in the past few days, which could create a risk to financial stability; it is ready to enter the market at any moment with additional intervention and to act using other financial market instruments. / Gazprom says that a price dispute about transit fees is slowing payment as Naftohaz Ukrainy’s price calculations. / The information centre of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine says that as many as 32 tanks, 16 D-30 howitzers and 30 KamAZ lorries with ammunition and personnel have crossed into Luhansk Region from Russia. / The Ukrainian government decides to move all public institutions, enterprises and organisations from the separatist-controlled areas to population centres controlled by the Ukrainian government by 1 December.

6 Nov. In Georgia, two deputy foreign ministers, Tamar Beruchashvili and Davit Jalaghania, reverse their decision to resign from their posts. / CSTO Secretary-General Nikolai Bordiuzha says that the Collective Security Treaty Organisation has decided to suspend the work of the commission on fostering dialogue with NATO. / A 24-year-old Kyrgyzstani, detained in 2012 after returning from Egypt, is jailed for 5 years after posting a video in which he declared jihad against President Almazbek Atambaev. / Moldova and EU sign a memorandum providing for 410m euros aid for modernisation and promote reforms until 2017. / The OSCE, Dutch experts and the authorities of the ‘Donestsk Popular Republic’ reach agreement on the removal of the debris on Malaysian passenger jet shot down on 17 July.

9 Nov. Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives in Beijing to attend the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders' Summit; among bilateral meetings, he agrees with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to pursue a dialogue to solve the Islands dispute, but not on the rescheduled visit of Putin to Tokyo, after US pressure over the Ukrainian situation.

8 Nov. Recently dismissed Georgian defence minister, Irakli Alasania, is elected chairman of the Free Democrats party which remains part of the ruling Georgian Dream coalition. / Following talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says they both have agreed to press the Ukrainian leadership to start fulfilling the Geneva agreements and settle the Ukrainian conflict politically. / Russia's Economic Development Minister Alexei Uliukaev says that the economy will suffer if the existing sanctions are prolonged, and even more so if new ones are introduced; but he does not expect a recession in Russia in the first quarter of 2015. / In his speech at the ceremony marking the fall of the Berlin wall, former Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev warns of an East-West ‘collapse in trust’ in recent months, with roots are the events of the 1990s, the short-sighted Western claim to victory on the cold war, and an exploitation of Russian weakness, which prevented to move towards a new Europe and a safer world order.

5 Nov. Visiting Baku, UK Minister for Europe David Lidington says that Armenia will not get EU funds due to its decision to join the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union. / Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze and her deputy ministers resign and leave the Georgia Dream coalition, warning that the country's pro-Western foreign policy course is in danger. / The Georgian Prime Minister nominates Colonel Mindia Janelidze, his assistant on security issues, as new defence minister; he says that the Defence Ministry will remain committed to integration in NATO. / Memorial press service says that Vitali Ponomarev, a member of the human rights’s council has been barred from entering Ukraine and deported to Russia by the border guard at the airport of Lviv. / Russia’s permanent representative to NATO, Alexandr Grushko, says that NATO should encourage Kiev to talk to Donbass representatives to demonstrate its commitment to stabilisation in Ukraine. / The Duma is divided on the LDPR proposition to recognise Ukraine’s separatist regions. (Pro-Kremlin United Russia believes it is ‘not relevant at the moment’; Just Russia sys one can recognise the results of the elections but not the republics; the Communists want consultations first. / Russian President Vladimir Putin signs amendments to the law on foreign investments in strategic sectors to broaden the access’s conditions. / Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk says that Ukraine will not subsidise the areas in Donetsk and Luhansk regions ‘controlled by impostors’ but will continue to supply gas and electricity without receiving payment in as ‘there are our citizens there’; he wants negotiations to return to the Geneva format because it includes the US. / A Ukrainian poll shows that 46% of the population sees the restoration of peace as the country’s main task. (25% name the fight against corruption; 25% cleansing the authorities; 19.5% the solution to economic problems).

4 Nov. The MoldovanGeorgian Defence Minister Irakli Alasania says that arrests of senior employees in the ministry are an ‘attack on the Euro-Atlantic choice’ and calls for the unity of Georgian pro-Western political groups. / Later the same day, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili dismisses Alasania, blaming him for ‘politicizing’ the armed forces and obstructing an investigation of high ranking ministry officials over a dubious tender. / At an official reception marking Russia's National Unity Day, president Vladimir Putin says that Russia would stick to defend its national interests and values despite ‘threats’. / Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia criticises Western to play havoc with Russians’ minds through sanction, notably by rncouraging them to think about themsemves rather than their country.

03 Nov. Kazakhstan’s government cuts the 2015 budget by $1,434bn due to decreasing oil prices. This year’s budget is $2,320bn less than expected. / Deputy Foreign Minister Grigori Karasin says that Russia is ready to facilitate a dialogue between Kiev and the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics. / Russia's permanent representative to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, says he is disappointed with the interpretation of the elections in Donetsk and Luhansk regions provided by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. (For Mogherini, the voting was unlawful and contrary to the Minsk peace agreement. and EU does not recognise it.) Chizov urges EU to be positive about those elections: If the EU were sincerely interested in a speedy settlement, the elections would not be made an obstacle to the fulfilment of the gas agreement between Ukraine and Russia, with EU as a guarantor. / Three Ukrainian battalion commanders involved in the anti-terrorist operation say they will set up a ‘parliamentary union’ despite being elected on different party lists, and press for increased defence spending.. / In a televised address after the elections in the east, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko says he will propose cancelling the law on self-government for the eastern regions, because elections broke the Minsk agreement.

02 Nov. Elections are held against Kiev’s wishes in rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine . Incumbent prime minister Alexandr Zakharchenko is elected head of the Donetsk Republic and incumbent leader Igor Plotnitsky that of the Luhansk Republic. The Russian Foreign Ministry announces its ‘respect for the expression of will’ in the rebel-held areas of Ukraine and says Russia hopes that a stable dialogue will be established, now thqt the regions have elected representatives. / The Security Service of Ukraine opens a criminal case against the organisers of the elections in the ‘occupied territories, which it accuses of attempting to seize state power.

01 Nov. Russian President Vladimir Putin awards, posthumously, the Order of Honour to the late head of Total oil, Christophe de Margerie, for his ‘big contribution to the development of Russian-French economic and cultural links’. / Chinese experts taking part in a TV show agree that Russia is likely to increase its air defence and strike capabilities in Crimea; they do not rule out that a concerted campaign by the US and Saudi Arabia, targeting the Russia economy, is behind falling oil prices . / Uzbekistan makes public a report, with the assistance of the International Labour Organisation, concluding that the use of schoolchildren in its cotton fields in not ‘systematic’.


31 Oct. Ukraine, Russia and the EU sign a legally binding agreement on gas supplies until 2015. / The Crimean leader Sergei Axenov says the Crimean authorities are ready to establish economic cooperation with the authorities of the ‘Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics’ but that the green light must come from president Putin. / The Russian Investigations Committee says that five people potentially involved in the crash that killed the head of the Total oil company at Vnukovo airport are now in pre-trial house arrest or remand custody. / The Ukrainian presidential press service says that, in a phone conversation with president Petro Poroshenko, the leaders of France and Germany made it clear that they will not recognise the 2 November elections organised by East Ukrainian separatists. / Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko calls on his electoral bloc to support the incumbent Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk to succeed himself as head of the new government, ‘as the country needs a strong pro-Ukrainian coalition’. Prime Minister Yatseniuk orders the holding urgent talks with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development about building a new gas pipeline between Ukraine and Poland in 2016.

30 Oct. The EU lifts sanctions against 24 Belarusian individuals including judges, pro-government journalists and seven companies; a total of 209 individuals, including president Lukashenko, that were imposed after a brutal police crackdown on a post-election protest in Minsk. / Officials says that Kyrgyzstan will continue to suffer from a water shortage in 2015 , and warns of possible blackouts in winter. / Russian Minister for Crimean Affairs Oleg Savelev says that the government will not to set up an offshore zone in Crimea at this time, but may return to the issue following a de-escalation of sanctions. / The Russian foreign ministry invites the OSCE and Ukraine to inspect a new humanitarian aid convoy to Luhansk and Donetsk regions. / The Ukrainian authorities speak of shelling ‘by terrorists and the Russian army’ on populated areas and checkpoints manned by the Ukrainian army.

29 Oct. Moldova’s Communist Party leader Vladimir Voronin says the party will insist on a review of the the country’s association agreement with the EU signed in June; he says he ‘is not against European integration’ but fears that the agreement will destroy the economy of a country not yet ready to join EU. / Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukaev says that Rosneft's bid for $47bn funds from the National Wealth Fund does not meet requirements. (These provide for the implementation of specific projects and not for companies’ investment projects.) / Russian Defence Minister, Sergei Shoigu, says that Russian and Belarussian forces should be ready for action, because pro- Western powers are attempting, in Ukraine, to establish ‘a leading edge of pressure’ against the Union State of the two countries. / The Russian Ministry of Justice appeals against the decision of the European Court of Human Rights to award $1.86bn compensation to former Yukos shareholders. / Ukrainian TV notes irregularities in vote counting in first-past-the-post election contests, especially in the south and east. / Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk declares his party the winner of the ‘proportional’ seats in the parliamentary election, entitling it to initiate the formation of a coalition and propose a candidate for prime minister. He says he sees President Petro Poroshenko and his bloc as ‘stategic partners in forming a coalition’.

28 Oct. Abkhazia and South Ossetia dismiss Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili's offer of autonomy within Georgia as designed for credulous Western partners of Georgia and ‘showing an inadequate perception of the situation in the region’. / The Russian Association of Independent Directors says that the number of foreign nationals on the boards of major public companies in Russia fell by 14% in 2014, especially in the case of citizens of countries involved in the impositions of sanctions, which increased demands for genuinely independent Russian directors. / A Russian Foreign Ministry official says that for the first time, the number of Ukrainian citizens returning to South-East Ukaine has exceeded the number fleeing of from that region. / Russian defence minister Sergei Shoygu says that Russia intents to continue reviving its military bases in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Armenia; also that Russia will complete full radar coverage of the Arctic in 2014 and, in 2015, will be ready to ‘meet uninvited guests’ from both north and east. / The Ukrainian Culture Ministry says that 14 Russian artists have been declared personae non gratae over their support for ‘Russia's aggression’.

27 Oct. Visiting the United Arab Emirates, Belarus president Alexandr Lukashenko signs agreements on cooperation in economic and investment spheres. / At the ceremony for the arrival of the LNG floating storage vessel Independence in Klaipeda, Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaite says ‘We have finally become an energy independent state’. / Opinion polls in Moldova show that the Communist Party will come first during next parliamentary elections, is the most trusted party, and that its president Vladimir Voronin is the most trusted politician. / Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigori Karasin says that the parliamentary majority given to supporters of a peaceful settlement of the Ukrainian conflict gives an opportunity to return to the implementation of the Minsk agreements but sees the increase of nationalists' presence in the parliament as a danger of hostilities resuming. / Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that Russia will recognise the upcoming elections in the rebel-held areas of Ukraine, which he considers as ‘one of the most important tracks of the Minsk accords’ , legitimising the authorities there. / The Ukraine Central Electoral Commission says that the turnout in the parliamentary elections was 52.44%, with sharp regional differences (from 70% in Lviv to 32 in Donetsk, 39% in Odessa or 44.68% in Transcarpathia Turnout in Kiev was 55,86%. Many figures from president Yanukovich’s era were elected in single-seat constituencies, as well as many journalists,activists, artists, and commanders of volunteer battalions with no expertise. The son of president Poroshenko, Olexi, won in the 66th constituency in Vinnytsia.Region.

26 Oct. The first president of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev, says that President Vladimir Putin’s Valdai conference speech was ‘fantastic’, with the kind of strong words demanded by the current situation (On 24, Putin criticised US attempts at ‘global domination’ and called for equal dialogue and respect for Russia's position). / Ukraine parliamentary elections are held in 198 constituencies to elect 225 MPs on party lists in multi-mandate electoral district and 198 in first-past-the-post contrests; 27 seats will stay vacant, as Crimea, nine constituencies in the Donetsk Region and six in Luhansk Region are not voting. / Visiting Donetsk Region, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko regrets that two thirds of servicemen serving in the security operation in eastern Ukraine are unable to vote as a result of parliament’s failure to change the law; At the same time, the analytical centre of the National Security and Defence Council claims that 80% of those servicemen have cast their votes.

25 Oct. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denies reports on a deal with US Secretary of State John Kerry on sending Russian instructors to Iraq and being ready to provide Washington with intelligence data on ISIS. In fact, Russia was ready for anti-terrorist cooperation for a long time and is already assisting the countries of the region - but ‘if you want to work together, let's do it not selectively but within agreed mechanisms’. / Ukraine’s Central Electoral Commission says that voting will be impossible in 15 constituencies of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

24 Oct. A group of NATO experts arrives in Moldova to assess the country's defence capacity. / The head of the OSCE mission monitoring the Ukraine-Russia border, Paul Picard, says the mission has never observed Russian military hardware crossing from its checkpoints. / Russian president Vladimir Putin distances himself from a comment by the deputy head of the presidential administration that ‘if there is Putin, there is Russia, if there is no Putin, there is no Russia’. He describes this as a as a ‘wrong position’, because ‘Russia has many people’. / Donetsk separatists says they are ready for new Minsk contact group talks after elections both in Ukraine and in the ‘Donetsk people's republic’. / Heavy shelling continues around the Donestk airport. / In Kiev, police raid the offices of three broadcasting compnies on suspicion of re-broadcasting meterial despite a court ban.

23 Oct. The chairman of the Board of Muslims of the Caucasus ISIS/ISIL as ‘un-Islamic’ and a terrorist organisation. Over 100 Azerbaijanis have been killed in Syria). / Russian Foreign Minister Serge Lavrov says that co-operation with Asia is not an alternative to good relations with Europe but that the two go in parallel. / The head of the Russian presidential administration, Sergei Ivanov, says regulatory bodies must stop attempts to profiteer from Western sanctions; he also says that Russia will sue France if it fails to deliver the Mistral warships. / A poll show that 52% of Russians believe that Western sanctions are aggravating the financial situation, but 70% have not altered their consumer habits (61% in Moscow). / Russia's largest bank, Sberbank, appeals to the European Court of Justice to lift sanctions affecting it since July. / The prime minister of the ‘Donetsk people's republic’, Alexandr Zakharchenko, says that separatists in east Ukraine plan to retake a number of towns they have lost.

22 Oct. The NATO Supreme Commander Europe, Phillip Breedlove, arrives in Tbilisi to discuss plans for founding an alliance training centre in Georgia. / Former Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeni Primakov says that the US uses the conflict in Ukraine to regain control over the EU. / Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that the Ukrainian crisis is a direct consequence of an attempt by the West' to shift eastward the dividing lines in Euro-Atlantic space, and its difficulties to coping with a polycentric world in which Russia, like the others, defend its interests. / Energy Minister Alexandr Novak says that by 2020 Russia could completely replace imported oil and gas equipment and technologies with domestic equivalents or those from countries that have not supported sanctions against Russia. / Labour and Social Protection Minister Maxim Topilin says that 109,580 Ukrainians who have been forced to leave their country have found jobs in Russia.

21 Oct./ Russia's permanent representative to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, says that Russia 'will not beg the European Union or anyone else to cancel sanctions’. / The deputy director-general of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine public organisation, Natalia Lynnyk, says that vote-buying ahead of parliamentary elections is smaller and cheaper (between four and 40 dollars). / The Ukrainian Luhansk Region military prosecutor opens 57 cases against Aydar volunteer battailon members for ‘crimes committed not in the combat zone’.

20 0ct. Russia's permanent representative to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, says ‘we will not beg the European Union or anyone else to cancel sanctions’. / The deputy director-general of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine organisation, Natalia Lynnyk, says that vote-buying ahead of parliamentary elections is cheaper (at between four and 40 dollars). / The Ukrainian Luhansk Region military prosecutor opens 57 cases against Aydar volunteer bataillon members for ‘crimes committed not in the combat zone’.

19 Oct. The Russian Ministry of Defence denies Western media reports of a possible incident involving a Russian submarine off Sweden. / Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that the Minsk agreements were only the beginning of a national dialogue on Ukraine, which should continue in other stages - and which Russia will support to implement. He also says that the European security treaty proposed by Russia could have prevented the crisis in Ukraine, and that the main goal of Western sanctions is to force Russia to change its position rather than to settle the crisis.

18 Oct. Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili tasks every ministry to present a “action plan in the near future’ for consultations with the international community about the proposed Russia-Abkhazia agreement. / During the ASEM meeting in Milan, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi urges a political solution for Ukraine to become a bridge of communication between all parties, instead of Ukraine becoming a subject of confrontation. / Russia widens its embargo on European meat products after EU directorate for health and consumers failes to persuade Russia they were safe. / The Ukrainian Defence Ministry and the state arms concern Ukroboronprom file a lawsuit against the analytical weekly Zerkalo Nedeli and one of its contributors for suggesting that the sale of arms on the Ukrainian market ‘undetmined the country's defence capacity’. / The ‘prime minister’ of the ‘Donetsk people's republic’, Alexandr Zakharchenko says he wants to end confrontation with Kiev, but that the latter is sabotaging the ceasefire. He says he has plans if elected head of the republic on 2 December. / In Milan, president President Petro Poroshenko says that those elections in Donbass will not be recognised by Kiev or the international community.

17 Oct. President Alexandr Lukashenko says that Belarus has been severely hit by Western sanctions against Russia, but that they provide a reason for people rally together; he will run for re-election in 2015 if he is still ‘healthy’. / Representatives of the Moldovan Interior Ministry and Microsoft agree to create a centre to fight cyber crimes.. / With Russian president Vladimir Putin is in Milan for the 10th ASEM summit, his spokesman Dmitri Peskov says that the breakfast meeting with Ukrainian and various EU leaders was constructive, but that some participants stuck by their ‘absolutely biased, rigid approach of the events in Ukraine's southeast’. Gazprom and Ukraine agree on repayment of Kiev’s debts for gas with assistance of EU, but it is stressed that talks have to continue. / Rebels in Donbass say they are ready for ceasefire and are withdrawing of their troops from the demcarcation line of Russian guarantees the peace process.

16 Oct. Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili condemns Russia's intention to sign a new ‘alliance and integration’ treaty with Georgia's breakaway republic of Abkhazia. / Russian president Vladimir Putin visits Serbia to attend the festivities related to the 70th anniversary of Belgrade's liberation from the Germans in World War Two. He says that Serbia and Russia ‘have always been on the same side’ and stresses the importance of the Russian-owned Serbian Oil Industry as the largest individual tax payer in Serbia. / Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko signs a law "On special rules of local government in some districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions" for three years, with elections to be held on 7 December.

15 Oct. Russia's Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev says that Ukrainians have to decide by themselves if they want to live in a unitary state. / Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Voice of America, in partnership with public and private broadcasters and internet providers in Georgia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, and Ukraine, launch a new Russian-language TV news programme. They say it will provide audiences in countries bordering Russia with ‘facts, not lies’ to counter the ‘disinformation produced by Russian media that is driving instability in the region’. / Russian President Vladimir Putin signs the law curbing foreign media ownership (no more than 20% stake). / The Russian sanitary watchdog threatens a full ban on fruit and vegetables imports from Ukraine suspected of being re-exports European produce affected by Russian sanctions. / The Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Ivanov says that the house arrest of billionaire businessman Vladimir Yevtushenkov, whom he knows well and whose activities were useful for the Russian economy, is damaging Russia's investment climate. / Tajikistan Interior Minister Ramazan Rakhimzoda says that 50 Tajik nationals have been killed fighting Syrian president Assad’s regime.

14 Oct. Armenian deputies, both from all sides, reject Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbaev's suggestion that Armenia should enter the Eurasian Economic Union ‘with its internationally recognised borders’, i.e. without Nagorny Karabkah. / Azerbaijan says it proposes to raise defence and security spending in 2015 up to 17.9% of total budget. / Georgia and the US hold a four-day an anti-terrorism exercise in the Black Sea port of Batumi. / Minister of National Economy Yerbolat Dossaev says that Kazakhstan is considering exporting oil to China if Western countries impose tougher sanctions on Russia, even though presently sanctions does not affect Kazakhstan exports through Russia’s pipelines. / Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that Russia does not intend to discuss West’s terms for lifting the sanctions. He says the West should lift them on its own; that Russian restrictions on Western food imports are not sanctions but the exercise of a right to protect national economic interests; that there is no other way to improve EU-Russia relations; and that Russia remains open to a free trade zone with EU. / By decree, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko meets nationalist requests by replacing the Soviet-inherited Day of the Defenders of Fatherland (23 February) by a celebration on 14 October, to be called the Day of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (which fought Soviet troops during WWII). / Appointed defence minister by 245 deputies, former Ukrainian National Guard commander, Stepan Poltorak, announces a modernisation of the army ‘as the guarantor of peace’.

13 Oct. Norway's Statoil company sells its remaining 15.5% stake in Azerbaijan's Sah Daniz gas project to Malaysian Petronas for $2.25bn. (In December 2013, Statoil sold 10% of its shares in the same project to BP for $1.45bn). / Moldova’s authorities deny entry to Vasili Kashirin of the Russian Institute of Strategic Research because of his frequent visits to Transdniestr and his articles in support of its independence. (Russian politicians supporting separatism in Transniestr have been obliged to go through Moldova since they were denied transit via Ukraine). / The regular Russian-German discussions organised since 2001 as The St Petersburg Dialogue will not be held in October, as the head of the two coordinating committees have postponed meetings indefinitely. / Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko appoints as new defence minister, Stepan Poltorak, the commander of the National Guard since April 2014. (He is the fourth to jold the post since February. / In Kiev, several hundred conscripts of the National Guard march from their base to the presidential administration claiming that their period of service expired 6 months ago and demanding demobilisation. They are promised a discussion with President Poroshenko after his visit to Milan.

12 Oct. 12 Oct. Chinese premier Li Keqiang arrives in Moscow for an official visit, with an agenda involving a series of deals to be signed, including on energy. / The new Donetsk governor, Olexandr Kikhtenko, confirms that the deputy chief of General Staff, Gen Dumansky, have signed a cease-fire deal with the rebels; they may swap territories in disputed areas, but there will be no changes of national borders. / In an address to the nation, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko speaks of the ‘five achievements since signing the peace plan accord’ - stopping the enemy’s offensive to progresses on cease-fire, exchanges of prisoners, normalisation of life in ‘liberated territories’, and the appointment of new ‘governors-general’ in Donestk and Luhansk (both agenerals who will be in charge of ‘restoring the operation of all government agencies in each freed city and village’). He announces plans for ‘fighting for peace’, including the creation of a buffer zone, and says local elections in eastern Ukraine must be in accordance with Ukrainian laws.

11 Oct. By telephone, Russian and Turkish presidents, Vladimir Putin and Tayyip Erdogan discuss bilateral cooperation including in agriculture and international issues, with the emphasis on threats posed by the Islamic State terrorist group. / Russian President Vladimir Putin instructs the Defence Ministry to start returning troops to their permanent stations, ending the summer period of training in of the Southern Military District (17.600 military personnel were involved). / While in Kharkiv region, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko visits the Malyshev plant, where he salutes the record production of advanced T-84 Oplot tank and armoured carriers, thanks to a switch to a three-shift working day; he says that Ukraine will soon have enough UAVs to monitor the entire border with Russia.

10 Oct. Armenia’s opposition condemns entry into the Eurasian Economic Union, just signed in Minsk as a threat to the country’s independence.; but different groups say they are not anti-Russian and that there is no question of a Yerevan ‘Maidan’. / A Ukrainian diplomat arrives in Borisov to provide legal assistance to 28 Ukrainian football fans arrested by Belaruspolice for singing an obscene anti-Putin chant during a mach between Belarus and Ukraine.. / The Russian ministry of defence rejects as ‘nonsense’ a claim by an adviser to the Ukrainian defence minister that Kolomna cadets were fighting in the Donbass – as the Kolomnq military school ceased to exist in 2008. / The head of Russian Consumer Rights Protection service says that about 1.5m passengers arriving in Russia every month have been screened for the Ebola virus, that all airports are equipped with mobile and fixed thermal imaging units. She says that over 100 students from West Africa are under special medical monitoring; and urges the media not to create hysteria over Ebola. / The Patriarch of Moscow and All-Russia Kirill calls on the World Council of Churches to defend Orthodox believers in Ukraine who are coming under attack. / Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Yuri Prodan confirms that Ukraine completely suspended electricity exports to Belarus on 1 October, and reduced by 50% the supply to consumers in Crimea. / Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko dismisses Serhi Taruta, the governor of Donetsk, and appoints general Olexandr Kikhtenko to the post; he has 10 days in which to report on measures for restoring security and order, and to ‘show inhabitants that’the government cares for them’. Poroshenko also introduces a new head for the Luhansk Region, Hennadi Moskal, who will be based in Severodonetsk, since Luhansk is controlled by rebels. / Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk says that as soon as parliament adopted a tax vetting law, piles of resignation letters arrived on his desk; the Fiscal Service is to examine tax declarations and property status of senior officials.

09 Oct. Commenting on a documentary about WWII hero Nikolai Vasenin due to be televised on 9 May, Russian foreign ministry foreign Sergei Lavrov rejoices that veterans like Vasenin (a Soviet prisoner in Minsk who escaped from a camp in German-occupied France and commanded a French resistance unit) have now finally been honoured after years of ambiguouity. / The authorities of the ‘Donetsk people's republic’ announce the signature of an agreement with Kiev on a demarcation line. Mariupol, Kramatorsk and Sloviansk will remain under control of the Ukrainian army, but Kiev forces will leave several towns, including ones in Donetsk suburbs.

08 Oct. Ships of the Kazakhstan Navy and Russia's Caspian Flotilla complete joint exercises in the Caspian Sea. / Georgian experts discuss the situation in the Pankisi gorge where, according to a black list published by the US State Departments, Chechen terrorists are training fighters for action in Syria. /. During her hearing at the EU parliament, incoming EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, says that the South Stream gas pipeline is not a priority in the EU's energy strategy and that EU-Russia talks on the project could only be restored after the creation of appropriate political conditions regarding Ukraine. / Opening an agricultural fair in Moscow, Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev speaks of plans to increase national production and to reduce dependence on food imports. / Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Uliukaev says that many commercial criminal casesVictoria Nuland, participates in the handover of the first batch of US non-lethal military equipment under bilateral agreements worth $26m. / Ukrainian Defence Minister Valeri Heletey sues the Fatherland party leader Yulia Tymoshenko over an allegation by her regarding the sale of weapons and military hardware by the Defence Ministry and stare-run companies during hostilities.

07 Oct. Moldovan Communist Party opposition leader, Vladimir Voronin, 73, announces his intention to run for a third presidential mandate in 2016. He vows that his party will win a majority in the30 November parliamentary elections but excludes participating in any post-election coalition. / The Moldovan media watchdog imposes sanctions on all Moldovan television channels retransmitting Russian TVnews programmes, because ‘they cover one-sidedly the armed conflict in Ukraine’. / Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov calls for ‘lower, more realistic, defence spending’. (In September, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin announced huge state funding for the for 2016-2025 arms programme.). / In Kemerovo, eastern Ukraine, some 8,000 coalminers demonstrate against a proposed 10% increase in tariffs for transporting coal by rail, which they say would put Kuzbass mines in the red; they also call for Western countries to cancel their sanctions against Russia. / Russian foreign ministry regrets that the annual OSCE meeting was ‘essentially used by the West to blame Russia, to the exclusion of mass violations of human rights, including in Ukraine.’ / ‘b>Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller predicts that Ukraine will fail to store the necessary amount of gas for winter and recalls that ‘the problem of gas transit through Ukraine is not a question for [Russia] as it is provided for by Ukraine's Naftohaz’. / The Ukrainian parliament changes the boundaries of four districts in the Luhansk Region, transferring 10 population centres to a district under Kiev’s control.

06 Oct. Former Foreign Minister of Armenia Alexandr Arzumanian, now in opposition, says the choice of partnership with a Russian-led Eurasian ‘economic structure is at odds with Armenia’s European path. (Opinion polls indicate that 51% of the population wants even closer ties with both Russia and EU, but, according to observers, most people are not informed about the subtleties of the different agreements.) / Russian websites report that the Free Syrian Army has seized a Syrian-Russian radio-electronic intelligence gathering centre near the southern Syrian town of Dar'a abandoned by Russian servicemen in 2011. / Russian prime minister Dmitri Medvedev tells Economic Development Minister Alexei Uliukaev to seek a compromise with Ukraine over the gas issue, including in trilateral discussions with EU. Meeting OSCE permanent representatives, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk says that Russia is not respecting the 20 September Minsk agreement on a cease-fire. / The head of the National Bank of Ukraine, Valeria Hontareva, says that the bank spent $750m in September 2014 to support the foreign exchange rate; it also sold foreign currency from its reserves to the oil and gas company Naftohaz Ukrainy and spent $280m to satisfy demands of the banks' clients.

05 Oct. Minister of Health Veronika Skvortsova announces that the Vector Institute in Novosibirsk went trough clinical trials with an vaccine that may be tested in Africa. / In Grozny, five policemen are killed and 12 injured when seeking to check a suicide bomber at the entrance of a concert hall.

4 Oct. Addressing the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Geneva, Kazakhstan Parliament's speaker Kasym-Zhomart Tokaev, asks the OSCE to investigate war crimes against civilians in Ukraine, and to help to end sanction stand-offs which may damage not only Russian interests but also those of the sanctions’ initiators. / Russia's Energy Minister Alexandr Novak says a gas deal could be reached with China by the end of this year but that ‘we don’t have firm deadlines for this issue’. / The head of the Russia drug agency, Viktor Ivanov, says that the number of people dying of drugs is declining but is still very high. In five years, there have been 550,000 deaths, mostly 15-34 age group; in 2006 there were 160,000 in 2006 and in 2013 95,000 / The Ukrainian defence ministry unveils plans for overhauling the military aircraft fleet. (It has already received 8 aircraft and 13 aircraft engines from the repair plaints, and will receive another 20 aircraft, 3 helicopters and 30 aircraft engines by the end of 2014). / Tajikistan’s Ministry of Economy and Trade describes Chinese investments as the republic's key macro-economic indicators in the period until 2016.

3 Oct. Russian businessman Arkadi Rotenberg, whose properties were seized in Italy, says he would even not contemplate state budget compensating his personal losses due to Western sanctions. / Stavropol Territory authorities announce a freezing of joint agricultural projects with Dutch companies. / Russian finance Minister Anton Siluanov says that due to the situation in external markets the government may axe some state programmes. Naftogaz Ukrainy announces the signature of a contract with Norway's Statoil for the delivery of gas via Slovakia.

02 Oct. Azerbaijan president Ilham Aliev says that Azerbaijan, as ‘a member of the European and Muslim families of nations’, is worried by current developments in the Muslim world. / President Alexandr Lukashenko says that Belarus is ready to send troops to Ukraine for a peacekeeping mission even it is dangerous because of mistrust between the West and Russia. / The head of the Russian State Duma Committee for International Affairs, Alexei Pushkov, deplores the ‘disruptive’ decision by the Ukrainian delegation not to attend an OSCE working group on Ukraine because of the upcoming election campaign. / Russia’s buys Bishkekskaya Neftianaya Kompania, a leading company that runs an extensive retail network in Bishkek and an oil depot in north Kyrgyzstan. / Fighting continues for control of Donetsk airport with both sides accusing the other of causing civilian casualties and the death by shelling of a Red Cross representative.

1 Oct. A poll conducted by a Vilnius-based Institute shows a growing support for Belarus president Alexandr Lukashenko with 53.5% ‘trusting’ him (up from 45.9% in March and 49.6% in June). 55.7% of those who voted for him 20 years ago think they made the right decision, and 45.2% are ready to vote for him president (compared with 39.8% in June). / The Russian foreign ministry dismisses the West’s ‘’ adopted on 25 September as a sign it ‘continues to stick to its stereotypes instead of properly analysing the events in the Middle East”. / Addressing a Russian Security Council meeting about cybernetic threats, president Vladimir Putin says that Russia is ‘not even considering’ total control of internet traffic but must pay attention to attempts by some countries to use internet ‘so-called soft power’ as a military-political tool; the secretary of the Council, Nikolai Patrushev, says that over 57m cyber attacks on the Russian segment of the internet have been recorded this year. / Ukrainian rebels deny ever saying that there were 400 unidentified bodies in a mass grave near Makeevka – only that 400 remained in different morgues of the region. / Russia's permanent representative to NATO Alexandr Grushko says that the new NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg has inherited a complicated legacy, and that Moscow will judge his work by his actions, not by his statements. / The governor of the Donetsk region, Serhi Taruta, confirms reports of plans to exchange Donetsk airport for territory adjoining the regional centre. / The police in Odessa

30 Sep. A survey shows that Moldovans are evenly divided between supporters of integration with the Eurasian Customs Union (47%) and those favouring the EU (47%). In case of a referendum, 35% would cast their votes against both; 46% against NATO accession, 23% on favour of NATO. / Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin says that a 15% increase in Ukrainian exports to the EU, thanks to unilateral trade preferences, compensates for decreased exports to countries of the Russian-led Customs Union in January-August.

29 Sep. At the IV summit of the five Caspian Sea states in Astrakhan, president Putin welcomes the decision to keep the greater part of the Caspian for shared use (each state will have national sovereignty over coastal waters up to a distanc of 15 miles and an exclusive right of extraction of biological resources within 10 contiguous nautical miles.(Beyond this 25-mile limit, the Sea will be divided into two zones, one for state sovereignty and one for fishing rights. No non-regional countries' armed forces may be present in the Caspian. Discussions will continue on a final status. / At the summit, Putin proposes linking the main Caspian ports by a shipping corridor and a circuit of railways. Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbaev proposes a 'Caspian free trade zone' and calls on the Caspian states to use Kazakhstan's transport routes to deliver their goods to foreign markets, especially China. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says that terrorism can be defeated only in a comprehensive fight and not by localised operations. / Belarus KGB says it detains criminals who attempted to sell five paintings worth $2m allegedly stolen from a former private residence of ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. / Leaders of the ‘Donetsk People's Republic’ accuse Ukrainian troops of swapping ‘random people’ instead of captured militia fighters during prisoner exchanges. / Russia’s Investigative Committee launches a criminal case into a 'genocidal(genocidal attempy to destroy the Russian-speaking population of southeast Ukraine'. / The Interior Ministry in Kharkiv says that the people who toppled Lenin’s statue will not be prosecuted because governor Igor Baluta approved a decision to remove it and armed police made sure that order was maintained.

28 Sep. The Ukrainian tycoon, and governor of Dnipropetrovsk, Ihor Kolomoisky, says he will not defend his rights to property located in Crimea and Russia but will instead sue Russia for $2bn of property damage at the Hague Permanent Court of Arbitration. / President Petro Poroshenko says Ukraine has no intention of breaching the east Ukrainz cease-fire but will continue building up its military strength in the eastern regions in order to protect its citizens. / Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov welcomes the creation of an international coalition to fight ISIS, which is ‘better late than never'; he regrets that it needed the beheading of an American citizen for the West to wake up to the situation. He says the West’s double-standard approach to terrorism led it to ignore Russia’s warnings; also that Russia has no desire to continue ‘the war of sanctions’ with the West, but oes not have any feeling of isolation / Ukrainian deputy minister of energy Yuri Ziukov says that 60% of all Ukrainian coal mines are controlled by separatists. Out of the 93 mines of Donbass, '24 are currently in operation, 60 are functioning i a the survival mode, and seven have been completely destroyed. / Activists celebrate the toppling of the statue of Lenin in Kharkiv's Freedom Square after four hours of struggle and fights with opponnts.

27 Sep. The leader of Bashkortostan, Rustem Khamitov, welcomes Russian prosecutor's move to impound the shares of the Bashneft oil company belonging to tycoon Vladimir Yevtushenkov, saying that ‘Bashneft privatisation is extremely non-transparent’ and has led to thousands of workers being laid off without severance pay and the republic being cheated of a large sum of money. / The central electoral commission of the self-proclaimed Luhansk people's republic schedules elections for 2 November.

26 Sep. Moldova economics minister, Adrian Candu, announces that Moldova has extend its current contract with Gazprom for a year more, on the conditions set out in 2006 for five years (a price of $370 per 1,000 cu.m) as a way tof accommodating Moldova’s accession to the unbundling princuole EU's Third Energy Package. (The EU wants to split Moldovagaz into two companies. / Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev says that the return of militants from CIS countries who joined ISIS ('Islamic State') present a ‘serious challenge to global, regional and national security’. / Russian communications watchdog Roskomnadzor reminds Facebook, G-mail and Twitter that they must follow Russian web services by registering as ‘information distribution organisers’, and storng data on the Russian territory for six months, as requiredby recent legislative amendments. / By 441 votes, the Russian Duma ratifies the treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union. / Russia's permanent representative at the OSCE, Andrei Kelin, says that Russia is not ready to analyse ‘mythical NATO intelligence data’ about the alleged presence of Russian troops in Ukraine – 'especially as the OSCE mission has found no proof of that presence'; he says Russia has always supported dialogue between Ukraine's east and Kiev, but not over Novorossia's independence. / Former USSR president, Mikhail Gorbachev calls for friendly ties with USA but calls president Obama’s speech at the UN, in which he named Russia as the second of the three most significant global threats at the moment, ‘insulting', and 'keeping up discord in Europe’. / Presidential aide Yuri Ushakov confirms that President Putin has sent letters to the leaders od ghe EU and Ukraine saying that Russia stands for a systemic adjustment of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreemen, considering the risks it raises to the Russian-Ukrainian ties. / In New York, Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk presents US businessmen with a ‘Marshall plan’ for the reconstruction of Ukraine. / The governor of Luhansk says that the situation in the region has ‘significantly aggravated over the past 24 hours’. / A trilateral EU-Russia-Ukraine meeting adopts a plan for Kiev to pay $3.1bn debt to Gazprom in two stages. Ukrainian Energy minister Yuri Prodan says Kiev will go on international arbitration oveer prices for future deliveries.

25 Sep. Moscow mayor Sergei Sobianin and Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliev agree on increased deliveries of fruit, vegetables and poultry to Moscow. / Russia foreign minister Sergei Lavrov ridicules the UN address of President Obama claiming that the world is more free and safer today; he questions Obama’s state of mind when he describes Russia as second biggest threat to international security, after Ebola virus. / The Russian Foreign Ministry's department for European cooperation, Ivan Soltanovsky, says that a 'full-format EU-Russia summit is possible only after the lifting of ‘discriminatory' and unjustified anti-Russian sanctions. He says the initiative for any summit should come from the EU which called off the lastone; also that the test of the EU’s solicitude for for human rights will be tested by its reaction to the discovery of mass graves in the Donbass, which have been linked to ultra-nationalist batalions. / In his first press conference, called ‘Strategy 2020’, President Petro Poroshenko says that Ukraine will apply for EU membership in 2020 - by which time ambitious reforms will have brought the country to European standards. He says the worst phase of war is over; that he is confident of the success of his peace plan (but, at thsame time, the recently adopted law on a special form of local self-governance does not mean that Kiev will delegate any central functions to Donbass),;and that military spending will rise to 5% of the GDP by 2020 compared to 1.02% today.

24 Sep. The Georgian Defence Ministry says that the Eternity-2014 exercisel which started on the 23rd prefigures the creation near Tbilisi of a joint international headquarters for the protection of the southern gas corridor and the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline by Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey.. / Japanannounces additional sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine conflict. / Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accuses the US of ‘double standards’ in its fight against terrorism, as terrorism has to be fought ‘everywhere’; one cannot differentiate between ‘good and bad’ terrorists.

23 Sep. Kazakhstan's Deputy Foreign Minister Askar Musinov says Astana is interested in cooperation with BRICS countries, in ‘a completely unique association in geographic and economic terms’. / The Japanese foreign ministry announces that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has abandoned the idea of hosting Russian President Vladimir Putin this autumn, after request by the US and to show solidarity with Western sanctions. / A Ukrainian poll gives 62% of the inhabitants doubting that the laws on self rule in some districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions will not secure peace in eastern Ukraine; 31.6% believe it will have a positive outcome; 38.6% support the law; 43.6% do not; 1and 7.8% have no opinion).

22 Sep. Armenian Foreign Minister Edvard Nalbandian condemns the destruction by ‘Islamic State’ authorities of an Armenian Church built in 1991 to honour the victims of the Armenian genocide. / The Russian President's special envoy on borders questions with CIS, states Igor Bratchikov, says that Russia does not support the delineation of the Caspian Sea into sectors and continues to be interested in maintaining the present regime in accordance with the Russian-Persian and Soviet-Iranian agreements. / Russian Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin says that contacts with Ukrainian parliament will continue despite Ukrainian parliamentary speaker Olexandr Turchynov describing as ‘treacherous’ the visit of 24 Ukrainian MPs of the parliamentary group "For peace and stability" to attend meetings in the Duma on 17 September. / Crimea’s head of government, Sergei Axionov, says that the Crimean authorities are open to dialogue with the Tatar Majlis, the self-styled government, only if it is registered in accordance with the Russian legislation; he says it was never legally registered de with Ukraine. / A court in Astrakhan sentences six recruiters of militants for Syria, Egypt and the North Caucasus to 6 to 7 years in a penal colony. / Russian president Vladimir Putin tells VTB chairman Andrei Kostin that the bank should continue to work in Ukraine despite the economic downturn, devaluation of the hryvnia and direct threats to its employees. / Powerful explosions are heard on the outskirts of Mariupol in Ukraine's Donetsk Region.

21 Sep. In a telephone conversation, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin agree to maintain a dialogue at different levels despite sanctions. / A ‘March for Peace’ attracts 10,000 to 50.000 demonstrators (depending on sources) in central Moscow. It is the first major anti-war protest since the start of the fighting in Ukraine in April. The protest provokes wide-spread condemnation, including suggestions that the protesters should go Kiev instead if they really want peace. / Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukaev complains that lack of investment is causing slow economic growth and says that non-productive expenditure accounted for a lion's share of the increase in the state budget; he disagrees with Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin's suggestion that defence could become one of the locomotives of the economy. / President Petro Poroshenko says that the Ukrainian army has stood up not just to protect Ukraine’s territory territory but also ‘the democratic rights and freedom of independent Poland, the Baltic States, Romania and Hungary, and of all the Western world’.

20 Sep. Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliev salutes the foundation of the Southern Gas Corridor, recalling that it increases the role of Azerbaijan in the provision of Europe’s energy supplies through Georgia and Turkey. / The contact group including representatives of the Kiev authorities, the separatists, Russia and the OSCE adopt the nine-point ‘Minsk Memorandum’, which builds on the 5 September cease-fire. Its provisions include the setting up of a 30km security zone between the warring sides and the withdrawal of foreign armed groups and their equipment from Ukrainian territory.

19 Sep. During his first visit to Baku as Turkish prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu pledges deepening ties because ‘when powerful Azerbaijan and powerful Turkey unite and grow firm, the winners are not only Turkey and Azerbaijan but the entire Caucasus, the Balkans, and.even Europe and Asia.’ He promises to support Azerbaijan side ‘until every square metre of its land is liberated’. / The lawyer of former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, accused of embezzling $5.1m, describes as ‘primitive revenge’ an order by a Tbilisi Court to arrest his property and that of members of his close family. / President Putin chairs a State Council on Russia’s economy, insisting on better training, lower loans to companies, and on reducing the country’s reliance on foreign producers including in agriculture. At the investment conference in Sochi, Russian oil and gas companies says they have asked for money from the National Wealth Fund to help face difficulties arising from the latest round of sanctions. / Ukraine, Lithuania and Poland sign an agreement on creating a joint military unit, which will be called LITPOLUKRBRIG.

18 Sep. The Azerbaijan Foreign Ministry dismisses as ‘baseless and biased’ the 18 September European Parliament resolution on human rights violations in the country, and says it is detrimental to the Azerbaijan-EU ties ahead of the launching of the new Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline designed to carry gas from Azerbaijan to Europe. / The Russian president's press secretary, Dmitri Peskov, rejects as ‘another canard’ allegations that Vladimir Putin told Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that it would take Russian troops just a few days to capture not only Kiev, but also Riga, Vilnius, Tallinn, Warsaw or Bucharest. / After visiting Canada, where a large Ukrainian diaspora is living, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko arrives in Washington. He addresses Congress, calling for more assistance, including military aid. He says that a Crimea issue will take years to settle and cannot be solved by force. He meets president Obama.

17 Sep. Rosneft rebuffs speculation that it wants to buy Bashneft’s assets because its own oil production is failing. (Bashneft is part of the Sistema group, whose CEO is currently under house arrest. / The Russian foreign ministry says Russia reserves itself the right to protests at the forced auction sale of its trade mission building in Stockholm, despite its diplomatic status, under a decision by a Swedish court. / In Moscow, the presidential aide for military-technical cooperation, Vladimir Kozhin, says that the Russian defence industry will survive sanctions despite ‘certain problems’ and will fulfil its plans for 2014.. / Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk orders the government to start the vetting procedure (‘lustration’) approved by parliament on 16 September and to set up a ‘public vetting council’ to tell the public about how some 1m officials, security officers and judges will be vetted. He announces the setting up of a special fund for the restoration of ‘the Donetsk and Luhansk regions controlled by pro-Russian separatists’ financed by Ukrainian "oligarchs" and international donors. He says funding will be provided from the state budget only if enterprises there start paying taxes. And the state budget will intervene only for enterprises paying their taxes to Kiev, because ‘money can not be taken from [other regions] Ukrainian pensioners, medics, teachers, etc..

16 Sep. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Riabkov hopes that Washington will not take steps that can be interpreted as a violation of the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate- and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF); he rejects as ‘unacceptable’ any debate on the revision of Ukraine’s nuclear-free status. / With 46.2% o the vote, 12% higher than last year, the ruling United Russia’Party wins the Russian regional and local elections. In the Crimean parliament the party wins 70 seats out of 75 (the 5 others going to LDPR of Vladimir Zhirinovsky). In the Moscow city Duma, it wins 28 seats out of 45 (up from 32), with 10 seats going to independent candidates and 5 to the Communist Party). / Russian billionaire, Vladimir Yevtushenkov, CEO of AFK Sistema, is charged with money laundering and placed under house arrest. / By 277 votes, at a closed-door parliamentary session, the Ukrainian parliament adopts bills proposed by the president, including/ a special self-rule regime for Donetsk and Luhansk regions for three years; local elections in those regions on 7 December; an amnesty for rebels, the setting up of militia units, the right to use the Russian or any other language, state support for socio-economic development, and trans-border cooperation under territorial authorities within the limit of the law. / By 355 votes out of the 381 cast by members present of the 450-seat assembly, the parliament ratifies the association agreement with the European Union simultaneously with its passing by the EU parliament. Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk promises an immediate implementation of the free trade agreement, despite an announcement of its delay by EU. / The leaders of the ‘Donetsk people’s republic’ welcome the Ukrainan parliament’s law on the region’s special status as ‘a step in the right direction’ needing further analysis. / According to Yatseniuk, the amnesty will not cover rebels who killed civilians, and that the law of Ukraine will apply on all Ukrainian territory; Radical and far right nationalist parties call the vote 'the swindle of the century, drafted by the Kremlin'.

15 Sep. The Belarus Interior Ministry says that more than 25,000 Ukrainians fleeing violence have completed the registration procedure in Belarus. Some have been granted work permit, while permits while others have applied for refugee status. / Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that Russia is concerned by the announcement of the a US plan to strike at ISIS militants inside Syria 'without cooperation with Damascus or respect for international law'. / Russia’s Federal Agency overseeing communications orders all internet applicants to confirm their identity as a way of reducing the number of blogs containing inappropriate language, incomplete information, unreliable data and falsification of bloggers applications. / The 'Rapid Trident 2014' two-week joint Ukrainian-US exercise starts in the Lviv Region, involving 1,200 servicemen from 15 countries, including NATO member states; the exercise will focus on peacekeeping operations similar to those that have formerly been held in Afghanistan and Iraq. / Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk urges parliament to adopt the state budget for 2015 before parliamentary elections; provisions include a reduction of a new income tax 'in accordance to European standards'. Also an allocation of $4.9bn for the army.

14 Sep. Regional and local elections are held through Russia. / Russian NTV accuses the BBC of fabricating evidence to involve Russian troops in the shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine in July. / The secretary of Ukraine’s Party of Regions (formerly of president Yanukovich) says it will not take part in the 26 October parliamentary election ‘as 7 million Ukrainians in the south and east have no possibility of voting,’ although candidates can run in single-seat constituencies. / Defence Minister Valeri Heletey says that Ukraine is receiving weapons from NATO countries, in line with agreements reached at the NATO summit on 4-5 September – and threatens that ‘if Ukraine fails to receive western support in resisting Russia, it will return to its nuclear status.’ / Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko addresses the congress of his election bloc. In it, Kiev mayor Vitaliy Klitschko will head a list including Deputy Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroysman and Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilev. / Ukrainian prime minister Arseni Yatseniuk will head the People's Front, followed by parliament speaker Olexandr Turchynovand Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, commanders of the volunteer battalions Dnipro, Aydar and Peacekeeper.

13 Sep. A second Russian aid convoy enters Ukraine without the assistance of the International Committee of the Red Cross and returns to Russia later the same day. / Russian investigators believe that the murder of a prominent lawyer shot dead in central Moscow was a revenge by the Orekhovo criminal gang after she victim appeared a key witness in the case against them. / Moscow city authorities cancel a rally in support of ‘Novorossiya’ due to be attended by East Ukrainian rebels leaders, saying it is too close to regional and local elections. / Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that ‘only an insane brain, hoping to fool general public’ could have invented the idea that Russia wants to create a buffer zone in eastern Ukraine. He says it would not be in the interests of Russia, for whom the fundamental question is Ukraine's non-aligned status. He says that the United States is trying to use the Ukrainian crisis to break economic ties between the EU and Russia, and to force Europe to buy US gas at much higher prices. / Tajikistan and China adopt a five-year development plan in the framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative. / Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk says that Russian President Putin’s final goal is ‘not just taking Donestk and Luhansk but the whole of Ukraine’ – in consequence ‘the only way to defend Ukraine is to join NATO’. / The leader of the Majlis, see the self-styled Tatar government, Refat Chubarov, says that up to 8,000 Crimean Tatars left the Crimea, mostly to Lviv, but expect Kiev to help them to move back.

12 Seo. Addressing the summit of the Shaghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urges the international community to include Middle Eastern governments in the fight against terrorism. He says air strikes are not enough to stop extremists and wants more regional cooperation.. / Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that European Union is undermining the peace process in Ukraine by introducing new sanctions. Economic Development Aleksey Ulyukaev says that Russian companies affected by sanctions will be given state support if they need it. / Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin says that Ukraine, Russia and EU haver found a solution for implementing the Ukraine-EU trade agreement. The EU announces that due to the complexity of the question, implementation is postponed to 31 December 2015. / Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko pledges to recover Crimea ‘but not necessarly by military means’.

11 Sep. At a meeting between the Chinese and Russian presidents ahead of the 14th SCO summit in Dushanbe (the fourth this year) the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, calls on Ukraine and Russia to launch an ‘inclusive dialogue’ to settle the presenr crisis between them. China, Russia and Mongolia discuss strengthening cooperation and a Chinese proposition to construct an economic corridor linking the three countries. / Gazprom says it has not reduced gas supplies to Poland but is unable to deliver the increased volume that Poland has asked for. / Russian envoy to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, says that new EU sanctions, which he calls ‘illogical’, oblige Russia to take counter steps. / The Ukrainian Security Service confirms a 3-5 year entry ban on 35 Russian journalists who ‘distorted information about the situation in Ukraine and supported separatist sentiment’.

10 Sep. Azerbaijan experts fear the impact of anti-Russian sanctions on the country’s state budget as Western countries are ‘lowering world oil prices to weaken the Russian economy.’ They point out that the Azerbaijan oil fund has purchased now depreciated shares in the Russian bank VTB, which is on sanctions list. / Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya'alon describes his surprise visit to Azerbaijan as ‘historic’. / Georgian Interior Minister Alexandre Chikaidze accuses former president Mikheil Saakashvili and NGOs affiliated with his National Movement of planning to wreak havoc in the country, with the intention of staging a coup and seizing power. / Russian Natural Resources and Ecology Minister Sergei Donskoi says that although Western sanctions have not seriously affected the Russian economy, they have already had an impact on the extraction of hard-to-recover reserves with the use of foreign technologies. / President Vladimir Putin tells the Russian Ministry of Economic Development that he needs to show some flexibility during talks with Ukraine and the EU on the implementation of their free trade deal. / In a telephone call, the Russian and Ukrainian presidents, Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko, express satisfaction wit the ceasefire. / The Crimean leader Sergei Axenov says that if the West recognises a Scottish vote for independence, it has also to recognise the result of the Crimea referendum on secession from Ukraine. / Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Vitali Yarema says that military commanders are being questioned over events in Ilovaysk where a high number of soldiers died in encirclement. / Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says that 70% of Russian troops have withdrawn across the border. He dismisses the head of the Defence Ministry's main intelligence directorate.

9 Sep. Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliev discusses cooperation ion energy and other matters with a EU delegation headed by Stefan Fule, Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy. / Responding to a call by ombudsman Ella Pamfilova, Moscow city court rules that the election monitoring NGO Golos is no longer on the list of ‘foreign agents’. / After a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Hamid Chitchian Russian Energy Minister Alexandr Novak says that Western sanctions do not affect Russian-Iranian energy cooperation and that both countries want to restore the volume of trade and economic exchange which existed in the Soviet era. / Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak says that the preliminary report by Dutch investigators suggests that the MH17 flight was downed by a surface-to-air missile. / The head of Russia’s Rosnano, Anatoli Chubais, invites Chinese partners to join in creating a joint fund to invest in nanotechnologies in Russia and China. / Iranian President Hassan Rouhani starts a tour of Central Asia, beginning in Kazakhstan. Iran and Kazakhstan sign cooperation agreements on energy, transport and other matters. Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbaev says Iran must be involved in the solution of Middle East questionsc and that Kazakhstan t supports Iran over the nuclear question.

08 Sep. A poll by the Levada Centre shows that a shrinking number of Russians are willing to make political protests, even over falling living standards. / The decision by Prime Minister Medvedev and President Putin to dissolve the two defence-sector agencies Rosoboronzakaz and Rosoboronpostavka is welcomed by industrialists and commentators as a way to reduce corruption, save money and increase the role of the Ministry of Defence in arms procurement. / Visiting Baku, Ukrainian energy minister Yuri Prodan discusses the delivery of Azerbaijani oil to Ukrainian refineries. President Ilham Aliev says energy co-operation is the reason for creating the Sarmatia international oil pipeline company. / Ukrainian president Petroporoshenko visiting, Mariupol, says that NATO countries will that there will be a ‘thorough’ probe into the causes of Ukrainian combat losses; he also confirms the release of 1,200 Ukrainian PoWs in the past four days. / Ukrainian former premier Yulia Tymoshenko, leader of the Fatherland party, denounces the protocol signed with Russia in Minsk as ‘extremely dangerous’ for Ukraine security and calls on president Poroshenko to hold an extraordinary session of parliament to discuss the document.

07 Sep. Rebel leader Andrei Purgin calls on OSCE monitors to oversee the cease-fire in eastern Ukraine in order to prevent ‘aggressive and ill-managed National Guard units from constantly breaking the ceasefire’. He also says that the rebels’s adhesion to a special status of law in parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions included in the Minsk protocol does not mean they are abandoning the idea of independence. / Prime minister Dmitri Medvedev threatens to impose a ban on the use of Russian airspace in retaliation against for new Western sanctions.

06 Sep. Belarus president Alexandr Lukashenko blames the United States for the Ukrainian crisis, adding that ‘it is no secret that Europe cannot do anything against the US will however hard it tries’. / The commander of the Northern Fleet, Admiral Vladimir Korolev, says that Russia is settling up a permanent military basis on the Novosibirsk Islands in the Arctic region. / In a telephone conversation, Russian and Ukrainian presidents Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko agree that the ceasefire is holding ‘on the whole’ and agree to continue their dialogue. Explosions are still heard in Donetsk and in Mariupol / Moscow's Lefortovo Court confirms the arrest in the Pskov region of Estonian citizen Eston Kohver on espionage charges. (Estonians say he was investigating a crime linked to smuggling.).

05 Sep The Azeri and Armenian Presidents, Ilham Aliev and Serzh Sargsian, hold a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Wales, in which they discuss the Karabakh conflict, including accusations of front-line cease-fire violations in the past months. / The Russian Defence Ministry reacts to an appeal from the Union of Committees of Soldiers' Mothers, who have voiced concerns about lack of contact with their men. The ministry says that those who have not contacted their relatives for a long time are on exercises and that 8 out of the 9 soldiers on the list have now telephoned their families. (Russian media have reported that some Russian servicemen have been fighting in Ukraine.) / Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko signs an agreement on a cease-fire starting at 1500 hrs after a meeting in Minsk between Russian and Ukrainian< government officials, Donbass separatists, and the OSCR. / In Kiev, the spokesman for the National Security and Defence Council says that new Ukrainian forces arrived in Mariupol, that the Russians lost around 2.000 men and that unable to repatriate all them dumped bodies in a mine; and that ‘according to our information”, before sending the corpses back home, teams of Russian transplant surgeons have been working on them.

04 Sep. A meeting of the chiefs of general staff of the armed forces of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) discusses expanded co-operation over regional security after the ISAF withdrawal from Afghanistan. / Kyrgyzstan's head of the conscription department laments the end of the Soviet education system, as many provincial conscripts 'cannot read or write' and often have dubious education certificates. / Georgian Defence Minister Irakli Alasania and Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze laud a new NATO package on training and supplies. / Russian media comment on the suspension of the warship contract with France. Some openly pleased by the prospect of Russia's getting back its payments plus contractual penalties which can go to finance Russia’s state defence programme. Others argue that France has more to loose than Russia does and that buying helicopter carreers from abroad has always been controversial. / Ukrainian prosecutors order investigation into the fiasco during the operation in Ilovaysk. According to Andri Lysenko, spokesman for the National Security Council, 837 Ukrainian troops have been killed since the start of the anti-terrorist operation; he accuses separatists of offering $80 to locals in Torez to give up Ukrainian citizenship in favour of Russian.

03 Sep. During a meeting in Baku, Turkish and Azerbaijani presidents Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Ilham Aliev agree to increase cooperation in exposing lies about the ‘so-called Armenian genocide’, in settling the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, and in pursuing energy cooperation and and bilateral investments. (Baku will invest $17-20bn in the next 5 years in Turkey, which is also involved in the Shah Deniz project. ) / Russian President Vladimir Putin says that his views and those of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on settling the Ukraine conflict are ‘very close’. / From Ulan Bator, Putin unveils a seven-point cease-fire plan to be agreed between Kiev and the separatists, based on an end of military activities by both sides under international supervision, attention to refugees and the despatch of repair teams. / Russia’s prosecutor general demands access the restriction to information resources on the internet after ISIS supporters launch threat to start war in North Caucasus. / Ukraine separatists says that if Kiev calls ceasefire, they will do the same and that they are not laying claim to territories adjoining the ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’. / Russia and Algeria sign an agreement on nuclear energy cooperation, including research and construction of power plants. / Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk dismisses Putin’s peace proposal as a ‘rescue plan for Russian terrorists’; he says Ukraine needs a new defence doctrine which would define Russia as ‘aggressor state’ and seeks special ally status by NATO. He announces the launch of a Wall project, to seal the Ukrainian-Russian border. The Ukrainian government decides to order coal from South Africa, develop nuclear cooperation with the US Westinghouse corporation and buy more gas from the EU.

02 Sep. Kazakhstan President Nursutlan Nazarbaev says he was simply reassessing the conditions for joining the Eurasian Economic Union when he made a reference to the possibility to ceasing to plays with it and thqt his remark haf nothing to do with the situation with Ukraine. / In a letter to the head of the EU Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, Russia's permanent representative to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, says that unless Barroso objects within the next two days, the Kremlin is ready to publish the transcript of his conversation with president Putin in which he allegedly said he could take Kiev in two weeks. (Earlier ethe Kremlin said that divulging such high-level confidential conversation would be ‘contrary to diplomatic practice’.) / A poll by the Levada Centre shows that 73% of Russians welcome Crimea as part of their country but that only 59% are ready to ‘pay for Crimea’ in ay way and 28% are ‘not ready at all’. / Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev says that Russia is keen to see foreign investors in strategic sectors ‘regardless of the political situation’; he also sets up a fund to support new industrial projects worth $0,5bn over three years. / By 234 votes, Ukrainian parliament adopts a law simplifying the taxation code for the import of defence materials; and at a second attempt, by 252 votes it accepts the dismissal of Pavlo Sheremeta as minister of economic development and trade.

01 Sep. The meeting in Minsk of the tripartite 'Ukraine crisis' contact group (Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE) plus representatives of the ‘Donestk People’s Republic’ ends without a breakthrough. / Moldova’s opposition asks why 'well-built men in US uniform' are in the streets of Chisinau', apparently contravening the country's neutral status. (The US embassy says they are there on a humanitarian mission of laying tiles in the shower rooms of a local social institution). / Russian president Vladimir Putin and Chinese Vice-Premier of China Zhang Gaoli attend the ceremony marking the start of construction of the 'Sila Sibiri' (Power of Siberia) gas pipeline. Zhand tells Putin that Western sanctions are an attempt to hold back Russia’s development. Putin says the pipeline offers a possibility to adjust Russia's energy output either to the East and/or the West. / Public bodies of the Donestk and Luhansk regions call on other bodies in Ukraine to acknowledge a special status for the Donbass as a way of settling Ukraine's crisis with guarantees from Russia, the US and EU. / As North Ossetia marks the 10th anniversary of the Beslan school siege, a group of former captives at the school urge Russian human rights organisations 'not to build their carreers on the Beslan tragedy. / The Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council says that Ukrainian forces left Luhansk airport 'on the orders of their commanders and in an organised manner’. / The Ukrainian Energy Ministry announces emergency electricity blackouts for households, but not for industrial consumers.

30 October 2015
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