European Airlines refused permission to land in Moscow
In addition, Facebook points the finger at Russian trolls, a Czech lawmaker is accused of sexual assault, and more.
The big storyRussia responds to Belarus sanctions with flight ban
What happened: Russia refused entry to flights of Air France and Austrian airlines who planned to avoid Belarusian airspace en route to Moscow, the bbc reports. The flights were canceled before they took off. The Austrian Foreign Ministry said Russia’s actions were “absolutely incomprehensible”.
More context: EU leaders agreed earlier this week to impose theft penalties on the Belarusian government after forcing an airliner to land in Minsk and arresting a journalist on board. Belarusian planes are banned from EU airspace and many European carriers have agreed to stop flying over Belarusian airspace.
To note: The United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization announced yesterday that it will investigate Belarus’ decision to hijack the Ryanair plane, The Guardian Remarks.
News from the regions
Central Europe and Baltic States
- the resignation of a legislator following sexual assault allegations sparked a debate on the treatment of sexual violence in the Czech Republic, Czech radio writes. After being elected to the House of Representatives in 2017 at age 21, Dominik feri became the youngest and the first black member of the Czech parliament. Feri, who has over a million Instagram followers, denied rape allegations but admitted that his behavior may have been inappropriate at times and apologized for it, adding that he was ready to make his case in court.
- A mayor who tried to do compulsory coronavirus vaccines for adults in a small polish mining town faces death threats and angry crowds outside his house, The New York Times reports. Heart surgeon Roman Szelemej told the newspaper his proposal reflected “the simple medical fact that vaccination is the only thing that can prevent this disease.“But instead of calming the nerves, ‘it has made this little dot on the map of Poland a place that all science and reality skeptics can focus on,” he said. investigation by the University of Warsaw showed that about 40 percent of the Polish population are wary of COVID-19 inoculation.
South Eastern Europe
- Croatia considering buying used fighter planes of France, Agence France-Presse reports. “For the best price, Croatia gets the best rated and best equipped aircraft”, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said today about the deal, which has a price tag of 999 million euros. Responding to critics who say the money would be better spent on economic recovery, Minister of Defense Mario Banozic said the purchase was not about giving the military “new toys.” “These planes are just the basis of our security,” Banozic said.
- A private Romanian collector outbid Iranians wanting to buy a car that Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi gave to the communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, Reuters reports. the Hunter Paykan Hillman, the first car built by the Iranian National Company, sold for 95,000 euros, 24 times the starting price. The shah’s visit to Romania in 1966 led to trade and diplomatic relations and a friendship with Ceausescu, who received the car in 1974.
Eastern Europe and Russia
- Authorities in Kiev denounced the decision to exclude Ukraine from a NATO summit next month, despite the organization’s declared “open door” policy for the country, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty reports. “We understand the desire of the allies to hold a closed summit … but we do not understand how it is possible not to invite Ukraine”, Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba said earlier this week. Kuleba said Kiev was grateful to NATO for its “constant confirmation of the open door policy”, but nothing had been done to implement it.
- In one report published yesterday, Facebook appointed Russia as one of the main disseminators of disinformation, along with Iran, The Moscow Times reports. Most of Russia’s disinformation operations were linked to the Internet Research Agency, a “Troll factory” in St. Petersburg that the US intelligence community also blames for Election interference of 2016. Russian military intelligence has also been cited as a source of disinformation. “Facebook’s broader security strategy against influence trading was developed in response to foreign interference from Russian actors in 2016,” Threat Report 2017-2020 says.
- Candidates put forward by Armenian Parties as we approach next month elections raised their eyebrows, Eurasianet reports. The list for Civil contract of interim Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan party, which came to power as an anti-corruption force, understands the oligarch Gurgen Arsenyan, as well as Khachatur Sukiasyan, known as one of the “thieves’ barons” of the 1990s. Edmon Marukyan, the head of the Bright Armenia evening, who is not standing for election, called the candidates “a setback to some of their achievements [of the government so far]. “People are already talking,” he said.
- As Uzbekistan getting ready for presidential elections October 24, current leader Shavkat Mirziyoyev receives mixed reviews for his tenure, Voice of America reports. Last month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken welcomed “the progress made by Uzbekistan in its reform program, in particular with regard to the fight against trafficking in persons, the protection of religious freedom and the expansion of space for civil society”, during an interview with Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov. Home, Leader of the Senate Tanzila narbaeva conceded to VOA that “the reforms have so far been messy.”