Photo : AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews
03 October 2022, Monday | NIAS Europe Daily Brief #322
By Sai Pranav
Bosnia holds presidential and parliamentary election
On 03 October, the partial vote count in Bosnia’s tripartite inter-ethnic presidency displayed that the moderate Social Democratic Party’s (SDP) candidate, Denis Becirevic, is in the lead. He won 55.78 per cent of the votes over the nationalist Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) Party of the Democratic Action (SDA) candidate, Bakir Izetbegovic. The election was to pick Bosnia’s new President and parliamentarians at national, regional and local levels. The preliminary results of the polls will be updated by the election commission on 03 October. The commission pointed out that the voter turnout was 50 per cent by seven pm. (Daria Sito-sucic, “Moderate Bosniak candidate leads in race for presidency seat,” Reuters, 03 October 2022)
Former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov looks for a narrow victory in the snap election
On 02 October, Bulgaria held its fourth election in less than two years, with former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov’s GERB party set to win narrowly with 23.6-25.5 per cent of votes. People hope his predictability and stability will help the country ease the high inflation and problems from the war in Ukraine. Former Prime Minister Kiril Petkov’s reformist party, We Continue the Change, lies in second place with 19.5-19.9 per cent of the vote. Petkov’s cabinet collapsed in June 2022, leading to instability in fragile Bulgarian politics. Borissov should make a difficult decision on coalition talks which might lead to a hung parliament or even another election. The sentiment toward Russia is mixed as Bulgaria went along with the West to condemn Russia for invading Ukraine but also is trying to renew its relations after the war ends. (Tsvetelia Tsolova, “Bulgarian GERB ahead in election, but coalition outlook uncertain,” Reuters 03 October 2022)
Krisjanis Karins and his party win for the second time in Latvia
On 02 October, The result from 95 per cent of Latvia’s districts showed that the centre-right New Unity Party won the state election body, held on 01 October, with Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins reelected for the second time. The party won with 18.9 per cent of the vote beating the centrist and environmentalist United List Party, which had 11.5 per cent. The election occurred amid an economic crisis, soaring energy prices, communal division and the effect of the war in Ukraine plaguing Latvia. The Baltic state’s majority is shunning the Russian-speaking minorities due to Russia invading Ukraine. The Russian-supporting opposition, Social Democratic Party Harmony, did not fare well in the recent election due to its friendly nature with Russia. Prime Minister Karins said he would again form the same coalition government that he had formed in 2019 if he wins the recent election. (“Latvia election: Karins wins reelection amid Russia-Ukraine war,” Deutsche Welle, 02 October 2022)
Bulgaria finds gas supply through the new Greece-Bulgaria pipeline
On 01 October, a pipeline connecting Greece and Bulgaria was launched. The Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) will supply Azeri gas to Bulgaria, whose gas supply was halted by Russia for its failure to pay in roubles. The pipeline connects the northern Greek city of Komotini to the Bulgarian city of Stara Zagora. The pipeline will be linked to the Southern Gas Corridor pipeline which supplies Azerbaijan’s gas to Europe. The inaugural ceremony of the launch was attended by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen and leaders of Bulgaria, Greece, Azerbaijan, Romania, Serbia and North Macedonia in Sofia. The pipeline could also provide Azeri gas to Serbia, North Macedonia, Romania, Moldova and Ukraine. It was a joint venture between Bulgaria’s state energy company BEH, Greek gas utility DEPA and Italy’s Edison worth EUR 240 million. (“Greece-Bulgaria pipeline starts operations to boost non-Russian gas flows,” euronews, 01 October 2022)
Turkish warplanes neutralized 23 Kurdish militants
On 02 October, Turkey’s Defence Ministry reported that 23 Kurdish Militants were eliminated by Turkish warplanes in the Asos region of Northern Iraq. The regions controlled by the autonomous Kurdish regional government in Iraq are warned to expect a growth in the number of casualties by the Turkish Defence ministry. The ministry said that it is conducting operations to prevent the Kurdish militant group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), from attacking its border with Turkey. Operation Claw-Lock launched ground and air forces to battle against the Kurdish militants. PKK is considered a terrorist organization by the US, the EU and Turkey.(“Turkey says 23 Kurdish militants killed in Iraq airstrikes,” apnews, 02 October 2022)
Protesters gathered in front of the Iranian embassy dispersed by Swiss police
On 01 October, demonstrators gathered in front of Iran’s Embassy in Bern to protest against the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in Tehran over an improper way of wearing a hijab. She was killed by the morality police for wearing her hijab, an Islamic headscarf loosely. The protest started with two men entering the embassy’s premises unauthorized and bringing down the Iranian flag from a flagpole in the yard. It was followed by other people attempting to access the area. Swiss police dispersed the protesters with rubber bullets, which did not cause any injuries. (“Swiss police violently disperse anti-Iran protest at embassy,” apnews, 02 October 2022)
War in Ukraine: Day 220 & 221
By Madhura S Mahesh
War on the Ground
On 01 October, the World Bank announced USD 530 million fund for Ukraine to address its critical, economic, and social needs. The fund will address the critical needs which are important government services and the consequences of the war on the economic and social sectors of Ukraine. This will be financed by the UK and the Kingdom of Denmark. The World Bank in total has provided aid worth USD 13 billion to the Ukraine Government.
On 02 October, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and French President Emmanuel Macron discussed on the nuclear blackmail threat by Russia, the problem at Zaporizhzhia NPP and increasing support for Ukraine’s defence in a call.
On 02 October, the application for accelerated membership of Ukraine to NATO was supported by Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and the US were the members who extended their support to Ukraine’s bid for membership.
On 02 October, Zelenskyy hailed the success of the launch of Ukraine’s first corvette Hetman Ivan Mazepa. This was launched when the First Lady of Ukraine, the head of the President’s Office and other representatives visited Turkey. The corvette is built with the help of Turkey which was started in 2021. The Ukrainian delegation in Turkey also met the Chairman of the Baykar’s Board and visited the factories of the Baykar company that manufactures Bayraktar UCAVs which are supplied to Ukraine. Zelensky also revealed the plans to collaborate with the Bayraktar company to open a training centre and a subsidiary in Ukraine and to manufacture aircraft engines together.
The Moscow View
Claims by Russia
On 01 October, the Ministry of Defence announced the casualties of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the strike carried out by the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) in Krasnolimansk. The Armed Forces are reported to have lost 200 people, 320 wounded, and 10 tanks and 25 infantry fighting vehicles were destroyed. Additionally, the Armed Forces also lost over 100 servicemen and 12 units of military gear when the Russian forces launched a missile near the 92nd and 14th mechanised brigades.
On 02 October, Russia’s Ministry of Defence reported that the Russian Armed Forces had demolished warehouses containing military equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The warehouses were based in Sadovod, Kalinovka, Zaliznichnoye, Rivenpilye, Skogoshnoye, Kramatorsk and Volnoye Pole. The armed forces were observed to have demolished the guidance radar of the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system in New Kaluga.
On 02 October, the Russian Constitutional Court published its review of the annexation treaties. The Court announced that the Donetsk and Lugansk regions will be allowed to keep their position as republics in the Russian Federation, whereas the regions of Kherson and Zaporozhye will be known as Russian regions. Officially the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) will be a part of the Russian Federation with Russian as their state language. They will be able to preserve their mother tongue and continue to develop it.
On the same day, the Constitutional Court also asked the administration to appoint interim heads to the four annexed regions. The President will appoint the interim officials within 10 days of the annexation and they will be in power until a formal election. The heads of Zaporozhye and Kherson will be known as governors and that of DPR and LPR will be called heads due to their republic status. The period of transition for the four new regions was announced by the Court to be until 01 January 2023 wherein they should be fully integrated into the Russian Federation.
On 02 October, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said that the lower house will discuss the matters related to the integration of the four new regions annexed. In an interview with the “Moscow. Kremlin. Putin” show, the Duma will investigate amendments that need to be introduced to adopt the treaties and litigation that needs to be introduced which will award the people of this region the same rights as that of a Russian. This will be discussed in a plenary meeting on 03 October.
The West View
Responses from the US and Europe
On 01 October, AP News reported on the veto by Russia in the against a UN resolution which condemned the referendums held by Russia in Ukraine. The UNSC resolution was sponsored by the US and Albania and the council was divided 10-1 with abstentions from India, China, Brazil, and Gabon. The resolution was aimed at bringing the Russian invasion to an end and the withdrawal of all its forces. With Russia continuing to veto, US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield outlined their next move which is to take up the matter in the UNGA where there is no veto power.
On 01 October, Germany’s Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht visited Odessa and met the Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov. This was her first visit since the war began and comes at the time when Ukraine is asking Germany to supply battle tanks to aid in its fight. Lambrecht observed the status of Ukraine’s military equipment and commended the strength of Ukraine’s air defence and artillery. She also observed how the people were distressed by the drones flying closely. On battle tanks, she reiterated the view of Chancellor Olaf Scholz that is it “We will always confer with our partners about what Ukraine needs.” This visit comes after the annexation of four Ukrainian regions which has been condemned by Germany. On 02 September Lambrecht announced the supply of 16-wheeled armoured howitzers, costing EUR 92 million, which will be built in Slovakia with funding from Germany, Demark, and Norway.
On the same day, US President Joe Biden rejected Russia’s claim on US to be behind the Nord Stream pipelines leak. According to the West, Russia is making these claims only to draw attention away from the annexation of Ukrainian territories.
On 02 September, the Polish President’s Office published a statement outlining the position of nine Central and Eastern European countries on the annexation of Donetsk, Kherson, Lugansk, and Zaporizhzhia by Russia. The presidents of all the countries came together to denounce the annexations and reaffirmed their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty. Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia were the nine signatories to this statement, demanding for the withdrawal of Russian troops. They also voiced their support of Ukraine becoming a member of NATO and encouraged all the allies to increase the military supply to Ukraine.
On 02 October, former advisor to US Defence Secretary Douglas Macgregor accused the west to be behind the Nord Stream pipelines leak. Appearing in the Judging Freedom podcast, Macgregor claimed that either the US or the UK are behind this as they have the naval capability to do so. When asked if Russia can be behind this, he said "The Russians did not do this." He also ruled out any German involvement in the incident.
The Global Fallouts
Implications of the Ukraine war
On 02 October, Pope Francis implored Russian President Vladimir Putin to put an end to the war in Ukraine. He called for peace for the first time since the conflict began and said that the crisis was causing an “absurd” risk of the inevitable consequences of a nuclear crisis. Urging that the conflict was an “error and horror”, the Pope appealed to Zelenskyy to explore peace proposals. Addressing the public in St. Peter’s Square, he said the war in Ukraine has become threatening to the point where it causes immense tensions in the world order, with the emergence of the uncontrollable consequence of nuclear risks and stressed Ukraine’s right to defend itself from aggression. The Pope denounced the employment of arms and has singled out the leaders of Russia and Ukraine in a bid to end the violence between the two. The Pope expressed that the beginning of negotiations and solutions should be mutually agreed upon and not “imposed by force”. He has also communicated that the mutual cease-fire would be based on respect for the “sacrosanct value of human life” and has firmly etched on the consideration of all human life in the aftermath of the crisis
On 02 October. Canada announced that it will help Ukraine in rebuilding its railway infrastructure, together with the specific projects and programs that would revitalise Ukraine’s railway system. Ukraine has faced a deadly amount of railway tracks, worth 6,000 kilometres, being wrecked and destroyed beyond measure. A joint working committee in collaboration with Canada has ensured assistance in setting up installations. The Canadian Pacific Railway Company (CP) and the Canadian National Railway (CN) have lodged support in logistics and railway management, along with infrastructure and reconstruction. Negotiations led by the Transport Ministers of both countries resulted in the ignition of a much-required rehabilitation of Ukraine’s primary transport services.
On 02 October, AP News looked at the consequences of that the Russia-Ukraine war on the climate goals of Asia. Europe has lost its largest oil supplier Russia and in its search for alternative sources, it is dipping into suppliers whose main clientele are Asian nations. This is leading to a price rise as there is increased competition for a valuable resource. There are two blocks in Asia, one that is looking at energy security and the other that is looking at climate goals. Countries like Sri Lanka, Indonesia, China, and India are focusing on energy security while South Korea and Japan are focusing on climate goals. The first block is going back to coal to support their energy requirements and keep inflation down in their economies. China and India are still buying cheap oil and gas supplied by Russia despite western sanctions to supplement the need that rises due to their large population. This is not to say they are not focusing on their climate goals. The first block is alternatively looking at resources and innovations to increase the supply of clean energy. The second block of South Korea and Japan are feeling the burden of rising prices and to combat this they are turning towards nuclear energy as an alternative source. This has faced a lot of doubt, especially in Japan as they do not want another Fukushima incident.
“Ukraine to get additional $530M from World Bank”, Ukrinform, 01 October 2022
“Zelensky, Macron discuss Russia's nuclear blackmail”, Ukrinform, 02 October 2022
“President’s Office thanks NATO member states supporting Ukraine's future membership”, Ukrinform, 02 October 2022
“Ukraine was and will be one of the European centers of the military and aviation industry – address of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy”, president.gov.ua, 02 October 2022
“Russia announced the withdrawal of forces from the Red Estuary”, LENTA.RU, 02 October 2022
“Russia withdraws troops after Ukraine encircles key city”, AP News, 02 October 2022
“The Ministry of Defense revealed the losses of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Krasnolimansk direction”,LENTA.RU, 02 October 2022
“The Russian military destroyed seven warehouses with ammunition and weapons of the Armed Forces of Ukraine”,LENTA.RU, 02 October 2022
“DPR, LPR to keep status of republics with Russian as state language in Russian Federation”, TASS, 02 October 2022
“Putin to appoint interim heads of 4 new regions within 10 days after accession to Russia”, TASS, 02 October 2022
“The terms of the transition period for the integration of new regions into the Russian Federation have been outlined”, LENTA.RU, 02 October 2022
“Duma speaker says bills on accession of new entities to Russia to be considered on Oct. 3”, TASS, 02 October 2022
Edith M. Lederer “Russia vetoes UN resolution calling its referendums illegal”, AP News, 01 October 2022
“Germany’s Defence Minister Visits Ukraine”, Kyiv Post, 02 October 2022
“Germany, Denmark, Norway to deliver 16 howitzers to Ukraine”, AP News, 02 October 2022
“West rejects Putin’s claim it sabotaged Baltic gas pipelines”, AP News, 01 October 2022
“9 European Heads Support NATO Membership for Ukraine”, Kyiv Post, 02 October 2022
“Joint statement of Presidents of Central and Eastern Europe”, president.pl, 02 October 2022
“Ex-advisor to Pentagon chief suggests US, UK might be behind Nord Streams incident”, TASS, 02 October 2022
“Pope warns of nuclear war risk; appeals to Putin on Ukraine “, AP News, 02 October 2022
“Canada Helps Ukraine Restore Railway Infrastructure”, Kyiv Post, 02 October 2022
Aniruddha Ghosal and Sibi Arasu “What the war in Ukraine means for Asia’s climate goals”, AP News, 02 October 2022