Daily Briefs

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09 July 2022, Saturday | NIAS Europe Daily Brief #249

War in Ukraine: Day 135 US to supply HIMARS launchers to Ukraine | Putin's warning to West

War in Ukraine: Day 135
By Padmashree Anandhan
War on the Ground
On 07 July, Ukraine's foreign affairs minister, Dmytro Kuleba urged the Oceanian countries to join the international powers in sanctioning Russia. It is to target Russia’s maritime activities and prevent them from Ukraine’s territorial waters. He also warned the Oceanian countries which have joint projects with Russia.

On 08 July, Ukraine's prime minister and the president of the French Senate met to discuss the rising food shortage, energy crisis and unblocking the seaports. The president also emphasized how Ukraine is helpful in supplying electricity to the European energy market.

The South Operational Command reported a Russian attack on the infrastructures in Mykolaiv, which was spotted using Smerch multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS). It also reiterated the block continued by Russia’s navy in the Black Sea using two submarines, and three landing crafts.

On 08 July, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy presented his address in the Slovenia Parliament where he thanked Slovenia’s support for Ukraine’s EU candidacy. He highlighted the growing food crisis and hunger in Ukraine due to Russia blocking of ports, stating: “Russia deliberately blocked our exports in order to worsen the price crisis, to make it catastrophic, including for Europeans.” On the energy system, he mentioned how Ukraine is becoming an exporter of electricity to Romania and Slovakia at a low price than the EU.  Zelenskyy held a meeting with the commander of the Kakhovka operational group of troops and Brigadier General Mykhailo Drapatyi where they discussed assembling defence structures, material, and technical support in the Dnipropetrovsk region.

The Moscow View
Claims by Russia

On 08 July, Russia president Vladimir Putin warned the West about the continuity of its sanctions over the Ukraine war. He called the US to stop asking countries to rely on Russian oil since it will affect the price caps of oil and lead to more impact on the economies that are not sanctioning Russia. At the same, he said: “Further use of sanctions may lead to even more severe — without exaggeration, even catastrophic — consequences on the global energy market.”

On 08 July, TASS reported that Russia had launched strikes using a “sea-launched smart weapon” to take down two Harpoon missile launchers located in the Odessa region, which was given by the UK. According to Defense Ministry Spokesman Lieutenant-General Igor Konashenkov, “Sea-launched precision weapons eliminated two Harpoon coastal missile launchers in the area of the settlement of Liman in the Odessa Region delivered from Great Britain.” Harpoon missiles are those which have the capacity to hold a 225 kg warheads and travel at subsonic speed in a range between 120 to 280 kilometers.

People’s militia officer of the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) reported that Ukraine had deployed “new fortifications” near Artyomovsk and Soledar cities in the DPR region. The cities located in the east of DPR are currently held by Ukraine. Another spokesperson said that the Ukrainian 80th air assault brigade was also discovered near the cities.

The West View
Responses from the US and Europe 

On 08 July, the Finland government announced the upcoming informal meeting on 11 July between the EU home affairs ministers, Justice, and Home Affairs Council. It will be the first meeting held under the Czech Presidency. The agenda includes a discussion of the effects of war, the EU’s internal security, increasing child abuses, and interoperability between the EU information system and the Council.

The US announced a new set of military aid to Ukraine worth USD 400 million which will include HIMARS launchers, that will aid Ukraine in attacking targets in the ammunition dumps that have missiles from a longer distance. With the HIMARS system, Ukraine now will be able to deter Russia’s strikes on the frontlines and counter its artillery operations.

On 08 July, Poland Border Guard reported on its border checks where it found 4.62 million people to have entered Poland from Ukraine since the start of the war. The Border Guard added: “2.68 million people had left Poland for Ukraine since the beginning of the war. On Thursday, 22,000 people crossed the border from Poland to Ukraine.”

The Global Fallouts
Implications of the Ukraine war

On 08 July, Canada government announced a new set of sanctions on Russian Orthodox Church leader, Patriarch Kirill, and 29 other individuals. As per the statement: “..sanctions against the Patriarch could only be introduced by Satanists.

On 08 July, the UN release the report on food prices for June month and it found the wholesale food prices to have fallen by 2.3 per cent. Whereas the prices of cereals, edible oils, and food shot up due to the Ukraine war. Overall, it observed an increase of 23 per cent rise compared to the prices in June 2021. The UN Food Prices Index tracked the most traded food commodities to be “cereals, vegetable oil, dairy, meat, and sugar.”

Address by the President to the Parliament of Slovenia,” president.gov.ua08 July 2022
Volodymyr Zelenskyy held a meeting regarding the operational situation in the territory of the Kryvyi Rih district of the Dnipropetrovsk region,” president.gov.ua08 July 2022
Prime Minister of Ukraine discussed with the President of the French Senate the role of our country in the energy and food security of Europe,” kmu.gov.ua08 July 2022
Russians strike Mykolaiv with Smerch MLRS, fire cruise missile at Odesa Region,” Ukrinform, 08 July 2022
FM Kuleba calls on Oceanian countries to join sanctions against Russian Federation,” Ukrinform, 08 July 2022
Putin warns Western sanctions risk energy price 'catastrophe',” TRT World, 08 July 2022
Russian forces destroy two UK-supplied Harpoon missile launchers in Ukraine operation,” TASS, 08 July 2022
Russia destroys more foreign weapons in Ukraine – military,” RT, 08 July 2022
 “Ukraine’s military actively preparing for Artyomovsk defense, LPR militia reports,” TASS, 08 July 2022
Poland accepts 4.62 mln refugees since war in Ukraine started,”The First News, 08 July 2022
EU home affairs ministers discuss the effects of the war in Ukraine on the Union’s internal security,” Finnish Government, 09 July 2022
Ukraine war round-up: Russia jails critic, US trains fighters,” BBC, 08 July 2022

By Rishma Banerjee

Memorial march to pay respect to the victims of the Srebrenica massacre
On 08 July, thousands of people in Bosnia joined a Peace march to commemorate the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. In July 1995, around 8,000 Bosniak males were separated by Serb troops from their families, chased through the woods, and then killed. The bodies of these soldiers were then dumped in mass graves. So far the remains of 6,600 people have been found. The Sebrenica killings are the only acknowledged genocide in Europe since World War II and took place at the peak of the war in Bosnia, after the break-up of Yugoslavia. The 100-kilometer memorial march traces the route taken by the victims while attempting to flee the Bosnian Serbs. (“Thousands march in Bosnia in memory of Srebrenica massacre,” AP News, 08 July 2022)

Bulgaria to go through snap elections as PP party fails to form a new coalition
On 08 July, Reuters reported that Bulgaria is likely to face a snap election soon. Kiril Petkov’s government fell after members of the ruling coalition resigned, and co-leader Assen Vassilev was given the responsibility by president Rumen Radev to form a new government. However, he reported that his party would not propose a new government as it had failed to gain the support of four lawmakers needed for an absolute majority. While other parties will get two attempts to form a government, they are unlikely to succeed. The president will then appoint a caretaker government before Bulgaria conducts fresh elections- the fourth one since 2021. (Tsvetelia Tsolova, “Snap election looms in Bulgaria after PP party fails to form government,” Reuters, 08 July 2022)

“Mega-fire” in France burns 1500 acres of land overnight
On 08 July, a massive fire was reported in France’s southern Gard region. The blaze started near the Bordezac village and forced evacuations from nearby Bessèges and other settlements. Around 1,500 acres of land were burned overnight. Almost 1,000 firefighters, 12 water-dropping planes and 2 helicopters struggled to contain the fire. Reportedly, 13 firefighters have been injured and 100 people had to be evacuated from their homes. A red alert for fire risks has been issued by several neighboring areas by France’s national meteorological service. (“Almost 1,000 firefighters tackle ‘mega-fire’ in southern France,” The Guardian, 08 July 2022)

No-confidence vote to be initiated as ruling coalition falls short of a majority
On 08 July, Ireland's main opposition party, Sinn Fein announced that it will initiate a no-confidence motion next week. The new development comes after Joe McHugh of the center-right Fine Gael resigned the party whip, after voting against a bill introduced by the government. The resignation means that the coalition government made of Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Green Party now has 79 seats in the 160-seat lower house, which is one short of a majority. Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald said: "This government has lost its parliamentary majority, failed to tackle the cost of living and housing crisis… this government is out of touch and out of time… We need a government that puts workers and families first." (“Sinn Féin tables no confidence motion in Irish government,” BBC News, 09 July 2022)

Protests in North Macedonia over French proposal on a compromise deal with Bulgaria
On 08 July, protests were reported in North Macedonia, against a proposed compromise deal with Bulgaria that would allow the country to begin the process for their EU membership. Hundreds of people took part in the protest by parking their vehicles around government building and blocking regional roads too. The proposal by France is expected to be debated by North Macedonia next week. However, the leader of the largest opposition party VMRO-DPMNE, which supports the protest, Hristijan Mickoski said: "We will never, never accept this treaty because it is contrary of our national interest and it is contrary to our identity.” (Fatos Bytyci, “Protests block North Macedonia's capital over Bulgaria, EU compromise,” Reuters, 08 July 2022)

Rishi Sunak enters race for next prime minister
On 08 July, Rishi Sunak announced his intention to run for the position of the leader of the conservative party and the prime minister. The former finance minister’s resignation from the cabinet was in part what triggered the mass walkout of ministers, which resulted in Boris Johnson having to stand down as Tory leader. Sunak announced his decision in a social media video and said: “Someone has to grip this moment and make the right decisions." Several senior members of Parliaments of the Tory party supported Sunak's candidacy, promoting his campaign slogan "Ready for Rishi." (“Ex-Chancellor Rishi Sunak launches bid to be Conservative leader,” BBC, 09 July 2022)

Morocco and EU release joint statement on border control
On 09 July, the EU and Morocco issued a joint statement on anti-trafficking efforts. The agreement comes after thousands of migrants crossing from Morocco to Spain's Melilla rushed to the border, where 23 died in the chaos. Spain's interior minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, Morocco's interior minister Abdelouafi Laftit and the EU commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson met in Rabat to discuss the issue. According to the statement, the new agreement will include border management support and strengthening of police cooperation. Cooperation between Moroccan and EU agencies working with the issues will also be strengthened. (“EU, Morocco announce joint anti-trafficking effort after migrant tragedy,” Deutsche Welle, 08 July 2022

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