Daily Briefs

Photo : Reuters/Yves Herman

28 February 2022, Monday | NIAS Europe Daily Brief #136

President Zelenskyy appeals to accede into the EU

Germany gives additional military support to Ukraine; Ukraine receives Bitcoin donations worth GBP 6.7 million; EU ban on airspace


By Joeana Cera Matthews and Padmashree Anandhan


Germany: Declares direct military support to Ukraine again

On 28 February, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz during an emergency parliamentary meeting declared an addition of USD 113 billion asserting the direct supply of arms to Ukraine. so far Germany was found to be differed from other European countries when it came to transferring of arms to Ukraine. The changed stance of Germany shows a drastic shift in Germany’s foreign policy. This also shows the derail in the diplomatic approach of Germany in resolving the conflict between Russia-Ukraine. The main instigator to the quick move is due to increasing Russian attacks and the vulnerability of Ukraine. (Damien McGuinness “Ukraine conflict: Putin's war prompts dramatic German U-turn,” BBC, 28 February 2022)


President Zelenskyy appeals to accede into the EU

On 28 February, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed an application requesting membership in the EU. The move followed the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s Euronews interview where she stated that Ukraine was one of them while adding that the bloc wanted them to be a member. The appeal is claimed to be a call “for the immediate accession of Ukraine via a new special procedure.” However, EU officials denied the possibility of such a rapid accession. However, the EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell said: “We have to provide an answer for the coming hours, not for the coming years… Ukraine has clearly a European perspective, but now we have to fight against an aggression.” (“Ukraine: Kyiv demands Russian withdrawal as talks begin — live updates,” Deutsche Welle, 28 February 2022)

Ukraine: Putin and Macron hold a telephonic conversation

On 28 February, Russian President Vladimir Putin engaged in a phone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron. The two leaders discussed the Ukraine crisis in a call that lasted 90 minutes. Following the call, Paris maintained that Putin had reiterated his “willingness” to commit to putting an end to the civilian attacks providing a safe path for those attempting to leave Kyiv. In a separate statement, the Kremlin stated that Putin had reminded Macron of the demands to be met for a potential settlement. (“Ukraine: Kyiv demands Russian withdrawal as talks begin — live updates,” Deutsche Welle, 28 February 2022) 

Thousands protest in Berlin, Europe and Russia against the invasion of Ukraine

On 27 February, more than 100,000 people joined in a rally against Russia’s invasion at the centre of Berlin while the government of Germany met to discuss on the security situation. The protestors carried the signboards saying "No World War 3" and "Stop the killer." It was not just in Berlin, but protests were across Europe, from Baltic states, Switzerland, London, Paris, Rome, Brussels, Vienna, Madrid and Sofia. Apart from these protests were also conducted inside Russia, but were arrested and banned from taking part by the Russian authorities. In a recent letter, Russian President Vladimir Putin said: “War is a humanitarian catastrophe that leads to pain and suffering, we consider violent solutions to political conflicts inhumane and call upon you to cease fire and begin negotiations.” (“Anti-war rally draws at least 100,000 in Berlin,” Deutsche Welle, 27 February 2022; Andreas Illmer, “Ukraine: Protests, donations and solidarity grow across Europe,” Deutsche Welle, 27 February 2022)

European Commission imposes a ban on Russian airlines from using the EU airspace

On 27 February, the European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen announced the blanket flight ban levied on Russian planes. She said: “We are shutting down EU airspace for Russian-owned, Russian-registered or Russian-controlled aircraft.” Due to the ban, any private jets, Russian airlines, Aeroflot, all such flights will be banned to land in any country in the EU. In response, Russian airlines have cancelled all the flights flying to European countries. The ban largely targets state-owned companies, along with this the private companies have also taken measures to prevent using the airspace. (“Ukraine invasion: EU shuts airspace to Russian planes,BBC, 27 February 2022)


Ukraine: Donations worth GBP 6.7 million received via Bitcoin

On 27 February, cryptocurrency analysts announced that approximately GBP 6.7 million worth of Bitcoin had been donated to Ukraine via anonymous donations. In an effort to secure funds, the Ukrainian government, NGOs and volunteer groups had published their bitcoin wallet addresses online. The official Twitter handle of the Ukrainian government had requested users to "stand with the people of Ukraine". The administration has indicated that it accepts donations via other cryptocurrencies including Ethereum and USDT. According to Tom Robinson, the founder of blockchain analysis company Elliptic: “... some crowdfunding and payments companies have refused to allow donations to be made to groups supporting the Ukrainian military, cryptocurrencies have emerged as a powerful alternative.” (“Ukraine live updates: Kyiv warned of toxic fumes after strike on oil depot,” BBC, 27 February 2022) 


Ukraine: Ukrainian ambassador to the UN says international peace depends on Ukraine

On 28 February, the Ukrainian ambassador to the UN Sergiy Kyslytsya cautioned the UN General Assembly (UNGA) that the survival of international peace was dependent on that of Ukraine. He said: “If Ukraine does not survive, international peace will not survive. If Ukraine does not survive, the United Nations will not survive… If Ukraine does not survive, we cannot be surprised if democracy fails.” The ambassador added that Russia was committing war crimes by attacking civilian infrastructure. He further called on the UNGA to demand Russia to stop its aggression towards Ukraine. (“Ukraine: Kyiv demands Russian withdrawal as talks begin — live updates,” Deutsche Welle, 28 February 2022) 


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