Eastern Europe and Eurasia
Armenian Prime Minister Resigns After Protests
After days of popular unrest, newly appointed Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan announced
his resignation. Opposition politician Nikol Pashinyan was released from police custody hours prior.
Pashinyan was detained
on Sunday by Armenian authorities after televised talks with Sargsyan collapsed. Pashinyan was the leader of the recent mass demonstrations against former president Sargsyan's appointment to the Prime Ministerial post soon after the transition to a parliamentary government.
Sargsyan, whose presidential term lasted 10 years, retracted
his previous accusations that Pashinyan was "blackmailing the state and legitimate authorities" with an "ultimatum."
Police Chief Tibor Gaspar is the latest high level official to resign
in light of months-long protests following the shooting of journalist Jan Kuciak. Activists feared that Gaspar, who had ties to a firm under investigation by Kuciak, would compromise the investigation into Kuciak's murder.
Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini denied that Gaspar's resignation would have any effect on the ongoing inquiry, citing the need to quell "attacks on all the police force" and lessen media pressure.
The European Court of Justice ruled
that Poland violated EU law in authorizing increased logging in the protected Bialowieza forest. The ECJ rejected Poland's argument that the logging was necessary to combat a beetle infestation. Polish officials have stated that Poland would accept the ruling, and the official responsible for the policy was removed.
In other news, Poland's parliament voted in support of EU-backed changes to the embattled judicial system. After the changes go into place,the justice minister will not be able to remove judges without consultation.
A presidential motion which would establish Ukrainian Orthodoxy's independence from the Moscow Patriarchiate was introduced
to the Ukrainian Rada on Thursday. Domestic opponents of the measure say it is a ploy by President Petro Poroshenko to garner support in the leadup to the 2019 elections.
AZERBAIJAN & BELARUS:
Azerbaijan has reached an agreement
with Belarus to buy Polonez missile systems. The deal, which was previously reported as having been blocked by Armenia, is a response to Armenia's recent acquisition of Iskander missiles from Russia. Though Azerbaijan has not confirmed the deal, Azerbaijani media has widely reported
on its existence.