News Summary

The Vostok Report

 

EU Commissioner Štefan Füle addressed the Ukrainian parliament on the country's European prospects

EU Commissioner Štefan Füle addressed the Ukrainian parliament on the country’s European prospects

Ukraine has again been the centre of international attention, with delegations from the European Union’s Englargement Commissioner, Štefan Füle, and the IMF meeting government officials. Officials on both sides expressed enthusiasm subject to the usual caveats regarding progress to an Association Agreement and a fresh line of credit respectively. However, concerns were raised by the announcement of Russian gas wholesaler Gazprom that Ukraine had broken the terms of an agreement signed in 2009 and are due to pay an additional $7bn for 2012. The Ukrainian government denies that the money is due.

Source: European Voice

Bulgarian authorities reported their belief that Lebanese militants Hezbollah may have been behind the bombing of an Israeli tour bus in the country on 18 July 2012.

Source: New York Times

Russian President Vladimir Putin led a media delegation on a tour of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Park on the same day that he sacked the Vice President of the country’s Olympic delivery authority, Akhmed Bilalov over delays and rising costs. The Sochi Olympics are due to be the most expensive in history, with an estimate of £32bn released this week – several times the amount originally budgeted.

Source: Daily Telegraph

The UK’s Supreme Court refused to hear a case involving Russian bank VTB on the basis that the ‘major part of the factual subject matter involves Russia’. The UK’s legal system has seen a high incidence of cases involving Russia in recent years, most notably recognising Roman Abramovich’s ownership of property allegedly acquired through gentlemen’s agreements with Boris Berezovsky in the 1990s.

Source: Financial Times

Russia’s tense relationship with Japan was further strained by a diplomatic incident involving the former’s alleged trespass into Japanese airspace.

Source: Sky News

Serbia’s President, Tomislav Nikolic met Kosovan leader Atifete Jahjaga for the first time in a symbolic gesture arranged by the EU External Action High Representative, Cathy Ashton. However, Prime Minister Ivica Dacic looked vulnerable on account of a worsening debt position and, perhaps more seriously, allegations of corruption.

Sources: Global Post, Bloomberg, Economist

Departing US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton promised a renewed investment of both effort and resources in Central Asia as troops are withdrawn from Afghanistan.

Source: Central Asia News

Russia struck deals with Tajikistan relaxing duties on oil exports and visa provision.

Source: Central Asia News

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