Ukraine: Constitutional Court Approves Decentralization Bill

The Ukrainian constitutional court today ruled that a bill proposing greater decentralization of power in Ukraine does not contravene the constitution. The new bill, proposed by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko earlier this month, would allow each of Ukraine’s regions greater flexibility and create a “separate law” which would be used to govern the regions currently…

EU, Iran Hold Formal Talks in Tehran

EU Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini is currently in Tehran to hold talks with Iranian leadership there. The two sides will hold talks concerning how the nascent nuclear deal will be implemented, as well as on potential areas of cooperation. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has indicated that energy, human rights and regional security concerns such…

Russia refuses to renew Ukraine gas contract

Russia has announced via Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev that Kiev will not be allowed to sign any additional natural gas delivery deals from Gazprom, the state gas company, saying that “we won’t extend a transit contract with Ukraine on disadvantageous terms.” The current agreement lasts through 2020, but consistent disagreements and renegotiations on payments have…

Tajikistan: Government Instructs Officials to Avoid Independent Media

The government of Tajikistan has instructed its officials to prioritize state-controlled over independent Tajik or international media sources. As a result, in-country journalists complain, their already restricted contact with government officials has been almost entirely eliminated. The official statement released by the Tajik government instructs its officials to limit its contact with any independent journalists…

Kyrgyzstan cancels treaty with US over diplomatic row

Kyrgyzstan has followed through on its threat to cancel a cooperation agreement with the US after the US awarded a human rights prize to Azimzhan Askarov, an activist currently serving a life sentence in Kyrgyz prison. Human Rights Groups have recently demanded Askarov’s release from jail, and the deal had granted US personnel connected with…

Iran: Ayatollah Rules out Better Relations with US

Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamanei announced that relations between Iran and the US will not improve as a result of the nuclear accord. The remarks, given on Iranian state-controlled television, indicated that the accord comes out of a marriage of convenience and that new areas of collaboration between the two sides would not be explored. Khamanei…