People attend a march in Belgrade, Serbia  on the first anniversary of the murder of opposition Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic   in the town of Mitrovica in Kosovo. Photograph: Kevin Coombs/Reuters

Government-backed rally to welcome Russian president Putin to Belgrade on Thursday

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras speaking in parliament on Tuesday.  He is expected to retain power and press on with ratification of the accord. Photograph: Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images

Athens rejects Russian criticism of historic name-change agreement

Kosovo’s prime minister Ramush Haradinaj near the monument dedicated to missing persons in Pristina, Kosovo, on new year’s eve. Photograph: Armend Nimani/AFP/Getty Images

Specialist chambers at The Hague to tackle cases from 1998-9 war in Kosovo

Protesters light flares in front of a banner reading in Serbian Cyrillic “It has began” in Belgrade, Serbia on Saturday. Photograph: Andrej Cukic/EPA

Anti- and pro-government demonstrators plan rival rallies this week

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban. There will be two civilisations in the EU. A mixed Muslim-Christian one in the west and a traditional European-Christian in central Europe,” he said on Thursday. Photograph: Bernadett Szabo/Reuters

Nationalist leader says migration debate to dominate European elections in May

Demonstrators wave old Macedonian flags at a protest against a process of renaming the country North Macedonia. Photograph: Robert Atanasovski/AFP

Athens has yet to clear pact that would help renamed ‘North Macedonia’ join Nato and EU

Metropolitan Epifaniy  (second from left), participates in Christmas liturgy with Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko (fourth from right) at St Sophia’s cathedral in Kiev on Monday. Photograph: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

Crowds gather in Kiev on Orthodox Christmas Day to see church independence decree

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban: “slave law” enforces   hundreds of hours of overtime without full or immediate compensation. Photograph: Akos Stiller/New York Times

Unions support demonstrators accusing Orban of destroying democracy

A worshiper enters the basement of the Church of the Archangel Michael in Rivne, Ukraine, where the Moscow-led Orthodox branch holds services. Photograph: Brendan Hoffman/New York Times

Moscow warns disputes over church property could cause bloodshed

 People attend an anti-government protest in Belgrade, Serbia on Saturday. Photograph: Srdjan Suki/EPA

President Aleksandar Vucic accused of undermining democracy and rule of law

Romanian Social Democrat Party leader Liviu Dragnea and Romania’s prime minister, Viorica Dancila. Photograph: Daniel Mihailescuu/AFP/Getty Images

First term in presidency comes against backdrop of domestic political turbulence

Anna Donath, deputy leader of Hungary’s Momentum party, at a recent anti-government rally. Photograph courtesy of Momentum

Opposition alliance comes together to plan rallies, strikes and blockades to start 2019

Demonstrators during a protest against a proposed new labour law, billed as the “slave law”, in front of the parliament building in Budapest, Hungary, on Friday. Photograph: Bernadett Szabo/Reuters

‘Slave law’ and court reform opposed by wide range of government critics

A protest against a proposed new labour law, billed as the “slave law”, outside the headquarters of Hungarian state television in Budapest. Photograph: Bernadett Szabo/Reuters

Under-fire government blames protests over so-called slave law on ‘Soros putschists’

Demonstrators outside parliament  in Budapest, on Sunday. Photograph: Laszlo Balogh/Getty Images

‘Slave law’ ignites anger against government accused of usurping rule of law

Newly elected Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine  Epifaniy Sergiy Dumenko conducts the first liturgy since the creation of a new Ukrainian church independent from Russia in the Saint Michaels Golden-Domed Cathedral in Kiev on December 16th, 2018. Photograph:  Genya Savilov

‘It is a church without Putin,’ declares Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko

Ukrainians loyal to the Moscow Patriarchate of the Orthodox Church held prayers outside parliament in Kiev on Friday. Photograph: Dan McLaughlin

Religion politicised as most clerics loyal to Moscow to boycott ‘unification council’

People attending a protest against the new labour law in front of the Parliament building in Budapest on December 13th, 2018. Photograph: Bernadett Szabo

Budapest’s nationalist government rejects criticism and blames Soros for protests

Russian president Vladimir Putin and Moldova’s president Igor Dodon in St Petersburg on December 6th, 2018. Photograph: Olga Maltseva

Russia offering amnesty to Moldovan migrants who go home for key February vote

Romanian president Klaus Iohannis salutes the honour guard during a military parade marking 100th Romania’s Great Union Day, in Bucharest. Photograph: Robert Ghement/EPA

Brussels said to want a ‘truce’ between scandal-hit government and critics

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban: government’s voice is dominant in print and broadcast media, as it promotes anti-immigration and Eurosceptic messages and marginalises criticism of corruption. Photograph: Martin Divisek

PM says merger of almost 500 titles and outlets act of ‘national strategic importance’

The prime minister of Serbia, Ana Brnabic, speaking during the COP24 UN climate change conference  in Katowice, Poland, on December 3th, 2018. Photograph: Reuters/Kacper Pempel

Nato, which leads peacekeeping force in Kosovo, says military upgrade is ‘ill-timed’

Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg called on Russia to immediately release the Ukrainian sailors and ships it had seized. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

Military alliance rebuffs Kiev’s call to send warships urgently to flashpoint area

A stairs inside the Central European University  building in Budapest: the university has been forced to move to Vienna. Photograph: Attila Kisbenede

Fine Gael has ‘grave concerns’ over college expulsion by Hungarian ally Viktor Orban

Russian president Vladimir Putin in Argentina for the G20 gathering. Photograph: Marcos Brindicci/Reuters

Putin rejects international calls to free 24 Ukrainian sailors and three ships

A  Ukrainian helicopter engages in military drill near the village of Urzuf close to Mariupol in eastern Ukraine: martial law has been imposed in border regions for 30 days. Photograph: Sega Volski/AFP

Merkel plans to discuss hostilities with Putin after Trump cancels G20 summit talks

Seized Ukrainian military vessels in a port of Kerch, Crimea. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

How did we get here, who is to blame and what might happen next?

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko called on Nato states to send naval ships to the Sea of Azov to support Ukraine. Photograph: Mykola Lazarenko/AP

Germany backs ‘dialogue’ as Kiev calls for Nato ships in Sea of Azov

Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko meets servicemen as he visits the 169th training centre “Desna” of the Ukrainian army ground forces in Chernihiv Region, on Wednesday. Photograph: Mykola Lazarenko/Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via Reuters

Kremlin blames Kiev and its western allies for Black Sea clash that sparked new crisis

A Ukrainian sailor (right) is escorted by a Russian intelligence agency FSB officer to a courtroom in Simferopol, Crimea on  Tuesday. Photograph: AP Photo

Much of Ukraine to impose martial law on Wednesday amid rising tension

   President Petro Poroshenko    after the Ukrainian parliament voted to  introduce  martial law in regions close to the Black Sea, Sea of Azov and along of the border with Russia, for a period 30 days.  Photograph: Stepan Franko/EPA

US condemns Moscow’s ‘outrageous violation’ as Black Sea tensions soar

St Andrew’s church in Kiev, which was attacked with petrol bombs this month after it was given over to the use of the Constantinople Patriarchate, in recognition of its support for Ukrainian church independence from Russia. Photograph: Daniel McLaughlin

Rift emerges in Orthodox world as Kiev prepares to secure church independence

People attend a rally for the Soros-founded Central European University, in front of Hungary’s parliament building in Budapest on November 24th, 2018. Photograph: Bernadett Szabo/Reuters

Pressure from Orban nationalist government set to force out Central European University

Oliver Ivanovic, who was murdered on January 16th. On Friday police detained suspects for suspected involvement in the killing. File photograph: Armend Nimani/AFP/Getty Images

EU official discusses ‘urgent need for calm and de-escalation’ with Belgrade and Pristina

Kosovo prime minister Ramush Haradinaj at the parliament in Pristina on Thursday. Kosovo’s move to slap Serbian imports with a 100 per cent tariff triggered a new surge of tensions between the former  foes. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Kosovo targets Serbia's imports after Belgrade blocks its bid to join Interpol

Budapest-Nyugati palyaudvar train station in Budapest, Hungary.

Beijing eyes high-tech firms in western Europe and big transport projects further east

Then Macedonian prime minister Nikola Gruevski (left) with his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban in Skopje in 2011. Photograph: Ognen Teofilovski/Reuters

Facing jail at home, Nikola Gruevski claims to have been given refuge in Budapest

Maidan Square in Kiev, on December 23rd, 2013, while the protest was under way.  Photograph: Mykhailo Liapin/AFP/Getty

Authorities accused of blocking reform and inquiries into attacks on Ukraine civil society

A white spot marks the place of  a painting stolen from the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam on October 16th, 2012. Photograph: Robin Utrecht

‘Tête d’Arlequin’ has been missing and feared burned since 2012 heist in Rotterdam

Demonstrators call for the resignation of Czech prime minister Andrej Babis, on Saturday, the day marking the 29th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, in front of Prague Castle. Photograph:  Michal Cizek/AFP/Getty Images

Billionaire prime minister flies to see his son after kidnap claims stun Czechs

Photographs of Slovak investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee, Martina Kusnirova, in the office of the news outlet in Bratislava where he worked. They were shot dead in February.

Questions remain over who ordered Jan Kuciak's killing and government response to crisis

 Czech prime minister Andrej Babis: mounting pressure to step down. Photograph:  EPA/Martin Divisek

Andrej Babis says ‘mentally ill’ son went voluntarily on Crimean holiday

Former Macedonian prime minister Nikola Gruevski (left) and  Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban. Mr Gruevski is reported to have said on his Facebook  page  that he  was in Hungary, seeking political asylum. Photograph: Aleksandar Kovacevski/EPA

Unclear how Nikola Gruevski entered tightly guarded, anti-immigration Hungary

 Romanian prime minister Viorica Dancila  and Social Democracy Party (PSD) leader Liviu Dragnea. “I assure you that Romania is ready” for the presidency, said Ms Dancila. Photograph: Robert Ghement/EPA

President Klaus Iohannis calls government an "accident" that has "gone off the rails"

People attend a campaign meeting for  Denis Pushilin, in Donetsk. Photograph: Aleksey Filippov/AFP/Getty Images

Moscow defiant as US and Europe denounce separatist ballots in Donetsk and Luhansk

Acting head of the  Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) Leonid Pasechnik during his pre-election address this week ahead of the upcoming vote for a new leader in Luhansk, Ukraine. Photograph: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters

US unveils new sanctions over Moscow's role in Crimea and the Donbas region

Prime minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán. Photograph: Kimmo Brandt/EPA

Hungarian police end investigation linked to prime minister Viktor Orbán’s son-in-law

People holding placards reading “Who are Gandzyuk’s killers?” in front of the ministry of internal affairs of Ukraine. Photograph: Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty

Deadly acid attack on Kateryna Handziuk ignites anger over crime and corruption

Protesters demonstrate in front of Ukraine’s ministry of internal affairs in remembrance of  anti-corruption campaigner Kateryna Handziuk. Photograph: Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images

Kateryna Handziuk’s death leads to domestic and international outcry and calls for action

Ukrainian anti-corruption activist Kateryna Handziuk, who died on Sunday.

Poroshenko urges law enforcement agencies to find and punish her killers

Migrant children protest in the vicinity of Maljevac border crossing with neighbouring Croatia, near the northern Bosnian town of Velika Kladusa, on October 24th.  Photograph: Elvis Barukcic/AFP/Getty Images

Anti-immigration leaders in central Europe follow US lead in opposing global framework

 Greek alternate foreign minister Giorgos Katrougalos  shakes hands with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s Bujar Osmani  as deputy foreign minister for Greek diaspora Terens Quick looks on. Photograph: Alexandros Vlachos

Skopje government drafts constitutional changes as nationalists cry foul

Romanian PM Viorica Dancila, surrounded by her cabinet members, as they pay their respects for dead soldiers at the Unknown Soldier Memorial in Bucharest, Romania, on October 25th. Photograph: Robert Ghement/EPA

Brussels fears Romania is following Hungary and Poland by weakening rule of law

Prosecutors believe people have been paying €5,000 for Bulgarian passports and that about 30 per week were issued.

Thousands may have acquired EU passports through corruption in Sofia and other cities

Soldiers march during a military parade in Prague on Sunday to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the creation of the independent Czechoslovak state. Photograph: Martin Divisek/EPA

Macron calls for EU solidarity as Merkel and Mattis also join festivities

Janos Somloi, Leonard Hollo and Istvan Gajdos:  homeless men living near Lake Feneketlen in Budapest. Since October 15th, sleeping rough has been illegal in Hungary. Photograph: Dan McLaughlin

‘Illiberal’ Orban accused of demonising new vulnerable group after migrants and NGOs

Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov during a court hearing in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, in August 2015. Photograph: Sergey Pivovarov/Reuters

Oleh Sentsov, jailed in a show trial, survived 145-day hunger strike in Arctic prison

The refugee camp in Velika Kladusa, in August. On Monday, about 200 migrants walked from Velika Kladusa to the frontier with Croatia to protest. Photograph:   Attila Husejnow/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Migrant arrivals hit record numbers as conditions worsen and officials squabble

Macedonian prime minister Zoran Zaev said his government wanted to work with the opposition to prepare the necessary constitutional amendments within 15 days to change the country’s name. Photograph: Robert Atanasovski/AFP/Getty Images

Police protection given to Skopje deputies who backed pact with Greece

Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill holding a church service in Minsk. Photograph: Sergey Vlasov/AFP/Getty Images

Schism over Ukraine rattles church and wider relations across eastern Europe

Macedonia’s prime minister Zoram Zaev:  his government secured the 80 seats it needed after persuading deputies to break ranks with the right-wing VMRO-DPMNE. Photograph: Robert Atanasovski/AFP/Getty

Nationalist deputies switch sides to pass controversial western-backed accord

Teenagers mourn victims of the gun and nail-bomb attack at a vocational school in Kerch, Crimea. Photograph: Stringer/EPA

Killer Vladislav Roslyakov’s past and connections scrutinised as death toll climbs to 21

Emergency services carry an injured victim of a blast at at a college in the port city of Kerch, Crimea in this still image taken from a video on Kerch.FM.

Investigators say teenager carried out shooting and bomb attack before killing himself

Metropolitan Hilarion, chairman of external relations department of the Moscow Patriarchate and permanent member of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church,  in Minsk, Belarus, on Monday. Photograph: Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

Orthodox schism looms over Ukraine's bid for church independence

Macedonian prime minister Zoran Zaev: require the support of at least nine opposition deputies. Photograph: Georgi Licovski/EPA

Zoran Zaev asks parliament to choose between ‘a European Macedonia or poverty’

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban: his nationalist government in Budapest has doled out more than one million passports – with voting rights – to ethnic Hungarians in neighbouring states.  Photograph: Reuters/Bernadett Szabo

Kiev decries ‘idiotic myths’ about supposed threats to minority’s safety

Bulgaria’s Central Bank  in Sofia. While on average the top one-fifth of people in EU states earn 5.2 times more than the bottom one-fifth, in Bulgaria the haves make more than eight times more than the have-nots. Photograph: Getty

Rich Land, Poor Land: The EU’s poorest state is rife with corruption and inequality

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko: creation of an independent church represents “a victory for good over evil, light over darkness”.  Photograph: Sergei Chuzavkov/AP

Warnings as Kiev set to form own Orthodox Church after centuries of Moscow rule

Patriarch Filaret has called for Ukraine’s churches to unite and choose one leader. Photograph: Genya Savilov/AFP

Moscow furious as Istanbul synod backs Kiev’s bid for national Orthodox church

A portrait of murdered Bulgarian television journalist Viktoria Marinova during a candlelit vigil in the city of Ruse. Photograph: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images

Country’s PM rejects fears over press freedom after death of Viktoria Marinova

Bosnian-Serb leader Milorad Dodik: “I am going there, to this presidency, to work above all and only for the interests of Serbs.” Photograph:  Milan Radulovic/AFP/Getty Images

Elections boost Kremlin ally Milorad Dodik and put Bosnian Croats at odds

 Protestors hold pictures of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul. Photograph:  Ozan Kose/AFP

Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance overshadows Budapest talks with Viktor Orban

Busts of Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and Habsburg nobleman Miklos Zrinyi, whose forces clashed here in 1566. Courtesy of Norbert Pap. Photograph: Daniel McLaughlin

Erdogan to visit Orban as both leaders brush off allegations of autocratic tendencies

Former prime minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski accompanied by his bodyguard arrives in the court in Skopje where he was appealing his two-year sentence for corruption.  Photograph: Georgi Licovski/EPA

Gruevski loses court appeal against corruption conviction as state debates Greece agreement

Romanian elderly women  marching during a support rally for the family redefinition referendum planned for this weekend, southeast of Bucharest, on Thursday. Photograph:  Robert Ghement/EPA

Government rallies its rural base amid street protests and EU criticism

Demonstrators hold Greek flags as they protest against a referendum to re-name Macedonia, in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, last Sunday. Photograph:  Sakis Mitrolidis/AFP/Getty Images

Sunday’s referendum in Skopje declared a success despite only 37% voter turnout

Liviu Dragnea, who controls the Romanian government from behind the scenes. Photograph: Liviu Florin Albein/Iquam Photos via Reuters

The EU and US fear Bucharest is backsliding on corruption and rule of law

Protesters in Skopje boycott a referendum on changing Macedonia’s name to pave way for it to join Nato and the EU. Photograph: Marko Djurica

Skopje threatens snap elections if nationalists block pact and steps towards EU and Nato

Woman attends a debate on voting Yes on a pact that would see Macedonia renamed North Macedonia in exchange for Greece lifting its 27-year opposition to EU and Nato accession for its Balkan neighbour. Photograph: Robert Atanasovski/AFP/Getty

Skopje government still likely to seek parliamentary vote on pact with Greece

A billboard reading in Albanian “The future depends on your vote!” in the town of Gostivar, on Friday. Photograph:  Armend Nimani/AFP

Country’s nationalist president calls the pact with Greece ‘historical suicide’

 Slovak investigative reporter Jan Kuciak (27) and his fiancee Martina Kusnirova (27) were shot dead in February. Photograph:  Reuters/Radovan Stoklasa

Jan Kuciak shot dead in February after finding alleged government-mafia links

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban arrives at the informal EU summit in Salzburg. Photograph: Kerstin Joensson/AP Photo

Use of EU funds, attacks on the media and Orban’s lavish lifestyle under fire

A refugee couple reach the Croatian border near Velika Kladusa in  Bosnia and Herzegovina on August 13th, 2018. Photograph: Maciej Luczniewski/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Velika Kladusa Letter: Political mudslinging over migrants contrasts with public goodwill

Russian minister of foreign affairs Sergei Lavrov receives a medal from the president of the Republic of Serbian entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Milorad Dodik (right). Photograph: Vladimir Stojakovic

Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik to visit Moscow ahead of October 7th vote

Liviu Dragnea guides the government from behind the scenes. Photograph: Robert Ghement/EPA

Legal travails and street protests sparked challenge to Social Democrat boss

Hungarian foreign minister Péter Szijjártó: Ukrainian foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin said he would discuss the citizenship issue with Mr Szijjártó in New York next week at the UN General Assembly. Photograph: Reuters/ Denis Balibouse

Budapest is already blocking some Kiev-Nato co-operation over language row

Russian president Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban during a joint news conference following their talks at the Kremlin. Photograph: Reuters

‘Illiberal’ leaders of Hungary and Russia stay close despite east-west chill

US defence secretary James Mattis and Macedonian prime minister Zoran Zaev. Photograph: Tomislav Georgiev/AFP/Getty Images

Deal with Greece would help Macedonia join Nato despite Kremlin opposition

Pope Benedict XVI and Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew light candles  at a Greek Orthodox  cathedral in Istanbul, 2006. Photograph: Ecumenical Patriarchate/Reuters

Moscow freezes ties with Constantinople patriarch over Kiev's independence bid

Ripped poster of  Kosovo Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic who was killed in a drive-by shooting in Mitrovica. Photograph: Armend Nimani

Eight months after Oliver Ivanovic was shot dead, many people suspect a cover-up

  A protester   gestures at a placard with combo portrait picturing faces of the President Poroshenko and former president Yanukovich with a slogan ‘No to elections with Yanukovich law’ during their rally near the Parliament building in Kiev, Ukraine. Photograph: EPA

Ukraine and Russia locked in dispute over whether borrowings should be repaid

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban: many supposed allies in the European People’s Party voted to condemn his hard-line policies. Photograph: Patrick Seeger/EPA

Viktor Orban to visit Russia next week after bruising European Parliament defeat

Prime minister of Ukraine’s self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic Alexander Zakharchenko: was killed on August 31st. Photograph: Dimitar Dilkoff/ AFP/AFP/Getty

Allegations between Moscow and Kiev over warlord’s murder, religion and water supply

Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic addressing people in Mitrovica, Kosovo on Sunday. Photograph:  Laura Hasani/Reuters

Aleksandar Vucic vows to defend Kosovo Serbs as roadblocks disrupt visit

A protest against  Macedonia in Thessaloniki in Greece. Photograph: Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Nationalists reject ‘North Macedonia’ name change that would open Nato and EU paths

Serbia’s president Aleksandar Vucic listens at a forum in Alpbach, Austria, in August. File photograph: Herbert Neubauer/AFP/Getty Images

Critics fear a proposal to change borders could have violent consequences

Alexander Zakharchenko, left, the leader of pro-Russian rebels in Donetsk, was killed in a bomb attack last Friday. Photograph: Darko Vojinovic/AP Photo

Germany and France urge calm amid fears Moscow could abandon diplomacy

Pall bearers walk with the coffin of Alexander Zakharchenko in Donetsk. Photograph: Aleksey Filippov/AFP/Getty Images

Russian foreign minister calls bombing of Donetsk restaurant ‘provocation by Ukraine’

Young people fishing reading sunbathing on dock at Piran Slovenia on the Adriatic Sea coast with Church of St Clement at Punta Lighthouse. Photograph: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images

Slovenia and Croatia mostly get along, but can’t agree on beautiful Bay of Piran

A mural in the Serb district of Mitrovica, an ethnically divided town in northern Kosovo, reads: “There’s no going back from here. Kosovska Mitrovica.”

Broad multi-ethnic opposition in Kosovo to talk of border changes with Serbia

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