Photo : Mikhail Metzel / TASS
28 September 2022, Wednesday | NIAS Europe Daily Brief #318
By Madhura S Mahesh
New measures introduced towards helping electricity production from renewable energy resources
On 27 September, the European Commission approved three new measures to aid electricity production from renewable energy sources in Germany. The three measures are, first, change to sliding market premium in the payment structure for innovation tenders. Second, financial incentives for consumers to invest in small rooftop solar photovoltaic installations. Three, additional round of ground-based and rooftop solar photovoltaic tenders in 2022. These measures add-on to the German Renewable Energy Act and help towards realising Germany’s environmental targets and the EU’s objectives with respect to the European Green Deal. Assessed under the EU State aid rules, the commission observed that the aid is necessary and fitting to promote the use of renewable energy sources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The aid is observed to be balanced and that the positive effects of the measures offset its negative effects. (“Commission approves additional German measures to support electricity production from renewable energy sources , ec.europa.eu, 27 September 2022)
Finance Minister reveals Irish budget for 2023
On 27 September, Ireland’s Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe presented the Budget for 2023 where he outlined tax giveaways. The surplus was a result of increased tax collection from corporations, especially from American tech companies. 2023 budget is aimed towards helping families and businesses as they face the cost-of-living crisis from the Ukraine war and COVID-19. With the passing of the budget, the citizens will be subject to pay 40 per cent more if the income exceeds EUR 40,000. In exchange, electricity credits, increase in social welfare, reduction of childcare fee, and a business support scheme to protect from the increase of energy prices. He said: “As one of the most open economies in the world, we benefit when things are going well internationally, but when they reverse, we are also one of the most exposed.” (Shane Harrison, “Irish budget: Finance minister unveils tax 'giveaways'”, BBC, 27 September 2022)
Turkish police attacked by Kurdish militants
On 26 September police in the Mezitli district of Mersin were attacked by two alleged Kurdish militants who later killed themselves by discharging suicide bombs. A police officer and a civilian were wounded while a second police officer was killed. The two women militants were identified as associated with the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party. Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu while talking to the reporters said that the civilian hit by a stray bullet and the wounded police officer were not seriously hurt. The militant group is yet to respond. (“Kurdish militants attack Turkish police, kill themselves, apnews, 27 September)
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
NATO researchers succeed in making QKD and PQC communications secure
On 27 September NATO released updates on ongoing projects on quantum technology to improve communication and security. NATO researchers under its “Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme” achieved success in an exercise conducted to test two methods, quantum key distribution (QKD) and post-quantum cryptography (PQC). QKD is a quantum communication method where decryption keys will be sent through quantum means while the encrypted message is sent via traditional means. PQC is a way to transmit information securely using cryptography and mathematical functions. These two methods are introduced to prevent hacking by quantum computers and other emerging disruptive technologies. The tests were successful in creating a secure communication bubble between participants and also proved to be secure even for long distant communication. Further, the SPS will look at integrating both to protect information infrastructure in the best way possible for NATO. (“Using quantum technologies to make communications secure,” nato.int, 27 September 2022)
Droughts in the EU could be the norm by 2050 says European Drought Observatory
On 27 September the Members of the European Parliament were warned that the droughts plaguing Europe can become a norm by 2050 if measures are not taken to mitigate them. Andrea Toreti, a member of the European Drought Observatory briefed the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public health and Food Safety (ENVI) on the same. He said that the climate crisis that hit Europe last summer was going to occur every year if mitigation measures are not introduced. Currently, 64 per cent of Europe is experiencing drought conditions in varying degrees, where agriculture, transport and energy sectors are facing problems due to this drought. Harvest has rapidly decreased and key waterways are reported low levels. Toreti proposed a European approach to deal with this which will not only focus on Europe but look at mitigating at the global level with greater cooperation. Parallel extreme events have contributed greatly to the worsening situation in Europe and that immediate measures are required to deal with the fallout to prevent the worsening of the situation in the future. (Alice Tidey “Severe droughts 'could be the norm' in the EU by 2050, experts say“, euronews, 27 September 2022)
Leaks in the Nord Stream pipeline found to last for a week
On 27 September, new leaks were identified in the Nord Stream pipeline 1 and 2. According to the Danish and Swedish authorities, underwater attacks in the Baltic Sea had resulted in damaging the pipelines leading to leakage of gas. They have predicted the leak to continue for “at least a week.” Maritime agencies of Sweden and Denmark have issued fresh instructions for ships in this area and have also included warnings to aircraft flying over the Danish and Swedish economic zones in the Baltic Sea. Speculations have risen that Russia caused this leak by initiating underground explosions as a form of aggression towards the EU and intended as sabotage for the upcoming winter. While it is too early to say what caused these leaks, these speculations are not being dismissed by European leaders as they are of the view that multiple leaks could not be a coincidence. (“Nord Stream: Explosions recorded prior to discovery of major gas leaks,” euronews, 27 September 2022)
Renewed checks at Czech border amidst a new migrant wave
On 27 September, the Czech government announced new round of checks at the border shared with Slovakia which will be effective from 29 September. The checks will be conducted at 27 border crossings between the two countries for at least 10 days by 560 police and customs officers. These checks are to prevent people from crossing the border at any point except for for farmers, foresters and fishermen working at the border areas. The Czech Interior Ministry said that it was necessary after 12,000 illegal migrants and 125 human smugglers in Czech territories were caught. The ministry identified most of them to be illegal migrants were from Syria and that the Czech Republic is viewed as a gateway to the West. Slovakia’s government accepted this decision but has asked for a larger discussion at the EU level. (“Czechs to renew border checks amid new migrant wave”, apnews, 27 September 2022)
EU to provide EUR 1.5 million as humanitarian aid to Sri Lanka
On 27 September, the European Commission approved EUR 1.5 million as humanitarian aid to address the socio-economic crisis in Sri Lanka. This aid will fulfill in terms of cash interventions, address basic needs of the people such as health, food, protection and education. EU’s Commissioner for Crisis management highlighted the hardships, shortage in resource and food insecurity faced by Sri Lankans. (“Sri Lanka: EU releases €1.5 million to respond to growing humanitarian needs” ec.europa.eu, 27 September 2022)
Republic of Korea’s mission to NATO approved
On 26 September, the North Atlantic Council approved the Republic of Korea’s mission in Belgium to NATO upon its request Korea. Korea has been an active partner of NATO and has forged a strong alliance on shared values since 2005 and part of the new strategic concepts NATO has welcomed new strategic partners mainly to expand its activities in the Indo-Pacific. Apart from this, the other areas of collaboration are non-proliferation, civil preparedness, disaster relief, counter-terrorism, cyber defence and security-related civil science projects. (“Alliance agrees the Republic of Korea’s Mission to NATO”, nato.int, 27 September 2022)
War in Ukraine: Day 216
By Sai Pranav
War on the Ground
On 27 September, Ukraine’s Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food, Mykola Solskyis announced the export of 50000 tonnes of wheat grain to Ethiopia and Somalia. The grains will be transported through Ukraine’s Black Sea ports with the help of the World Food Programme. Solskyis reported on Ukraine’s mass grain and oil crops with more than 20 million tonnes of stock, of which 70 per cent is expected to be exported.
The press service of Ukraine’s State Emergency Service reported that two robots are being used to demine, areas in the Vinnytsia region. The robots cost around UAH four-and-a-half million are helping the bomb disposal experts.
Ukraine received 700000 doses of polio vaccine from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to contain the Polio outbreak in Ukraine, which is worsening due to the Russian invasion. UNICEF provided both oral and inactivated polio vaccines to Ukraine, urging its citizens to take the polio vaccines. The US agency for International Development (USAID) and Japan’s government funded the cost of the vaccines which will be for children and adults to strengthen their immune systems against poliovirus.
The Moscow View
Claims by Russia
On 27 September, Russia’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov accused Ukraine for rejecting Russia’s offer to negotiate. Russia’s Defence Ministry announced that it would not force the return of Russians who have already fled to Kazakhstan, Georgia and other countries. He said that the Military, Enlistment Office, and Ministry of Internal Affairs will work together to hand out summons near the border of Georgia and target those who are currently attempting to escape conscription.
On 27 September, the State Duma adopted an amendment to the Labour Code to preserve jobs for mobilized people. As per the amendment, the people with valid employment contracts who are undergoing conscription will retain their positions and be able to resume work once their service is complete. The law also includes additional guarantees for the family members of those who receive a conscription call. Who would be given a job to sustain themselves and will not be terminated even if the employer institutes a mass lay-off.
On the same day, TASS reported that the process of annexation of the occupied territories into Russia will be decided the results of the recent referendums are calculated and revealed. In this context, Luhansk People’s Republic’s ambassador to Moscow, Rodion Miroshnik said that voter turnout in Luhansk exceeded 50 per cent and accused Ukraine for launching attacks in places where referendums took place.
The West View
Responses from the US and Europe
On 27 September, the UK’s Ministry of Defence in its daily intelligence update reported on the upcoming Putin’s address on 30 September, where there is a possibility to announce on the accession of the Ukrainian-occupied regions after the referendums end.
On the same day, a new pipeline connecting he Norwegian gas shelf and Poland through Denmark was inaugurated. The new Baltic pipeline will provide Poland with 15 per cent of its annual energy needs. Russia had halted gas supply to Poland through the Yamal pipeline after Poland refused to pay in roubles. The news pipeline will thus be an alternative to Russian energy. Poland can now supply gas to the Baltics through the Gas Interconnector Poland Lithuania pipeline. It had managed to receive energy from Lithuania through the interconnector. Norway’s Energy Minister Terje Aasland said, “It was an important step on the important road to Europe's independence from Russian energy,”.
The EU said it would impose new sanctions against Russia for conducting illegal referendums in Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine. The EU’s Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, High Representative Josep Borrell said that there would consequence for people who that participate in the unlawful referendums. The next set of sanctions will contain new bans on Russian exports and imports, companies, and individuals responsible for the false referendums in the four Russian-occupied territories in Ukraine.
On 27 September, France’s Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna paid a surprise visit to Ukraine as a show of solidarity. She is scheduled to visit Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Prosecutor Andriy Kostin and Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy. The visit displays France’s support and solidarity for Ukraine and its people.
The Global Fallouts
Implications of the Ukraine war
On 27 September, referring to the Russian citizens attempting to flee the country, Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said, “Most of them are forced to leave because of the hopeless situation. We must take care of them and ensure their safety.” According to Kazakhstan’s Interior Ministry, close to 98000 Russians have entered till now after the military call by Putin.
On 26 September, Japan’s Consulate General in Vladivostok, Tatsunori Motoki, was arrested by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) for obtaining classified information for money. He was ordered to leave the country 48 hours after his detention. On 27 September, the Japanese government protested by alleging that Russia’s action was a clear violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The Japanese government demanded an official apology from Russia for the actions against Motoki. This comes following a new set of sanctions imposed by Japan on Russia.
On 26 September, China and Russia’s warships were spotted by a US Coast Guard ship on a daily patrol in the Bering Sea. The US Coast Guard first found a Chinese guided-missile cruiser 75 nautical miles north of Kiska Island of Alaska. Both countries were said to be participating in a training exercise within the US zone as an extension of the completed Vostok exercises. The US speculates that the Navy display was a show of solidarity between Russia and China.
“Enough wheat in Ukraine to cover own demand, help others - Agrarian Minister,” Ukrinform, 27 September 2022
“Robots to help Ukrainian bomb disposal experts demine liberated areas,” Ukrinform, 27 September 2022
“DECREE OF THE PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE No. 671/2022,” president.gov.ua, 27 September 2022
“DECREE OF THE PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE No. 670/2022,” president.gov.ua, 27 September 2022
“DECREE OF THE PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE No. 669/2022,” president.gov.ua, 27 September 2022
Ministry of Health of Ukraine, “UNICEF provided Ukraine with about 700,000 doses of polio vaccine,” kmu.gov.ua, 27 September 2022
“The Kremlin explained the new terms of negotiations with Kyiv,” LENTA.RU, 27 September 2022
“Putin told Erdogan he remained ready for talks with Ukraine — Kremlin spokesman,” TASS, 27 September 2022
“The Ministry of Defense decided not to return the departed Russians forcibly,” LENTA.RU, 27 September 2022
“The State Duma adopted a law on the preservation of jobs for mobilized citizens,” interfax.ru, 27 September 2022
“Press review: New regions on track to join Russia and EU eyes ban on Russian slabs,” TASS, 27 September 2022
The UK Ministry of Defence, “Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine - 27 September 2022,” Twitter, 27 September 2022
“The EU said it will slap sanctions on organisers of “illegal” votes in four occupied regions of Ukraine,” The Guardian, 27 September 2022
“A new pipeline that will carry Norwegian gas via Denmark was inaugurated in Poland,” The Guardian, 27 September 2022
Alasdair Sandford, “Baltic Pipe: Norway-Poland gas pipeline opens in key move to cut dependency on Russia,” euronews, 27 September 2022
“Holiday in Montenegro becomes escape from call-up for Russians,” Reuters, 27 September 2022
“French foreign minister makes surprise visit to Kyiv,” Le Monde, 27 September 2022
“Kazakhstan to ensure safety of Russians fleeing military call-up,” alarabiya, 27 September 2022
“Japan consul to be expelled from Russia for alleged espionage,” The Mainichi, 27 September 2022
Minnie Chan, “Chinese, Russian warships in ‘show of solidarity’ near Alaska,” scmp, 27 September 2022