Photo : IIya Pitalev/Kremlin.ru
19 January 2023, Thursday | NIAS Europe Daily Brief #414
War in Ukraine: Day 329
By Padmashree Anandhan
War on the Ground
On 17 January, the Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories released a data found by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy which recorded the aid received by Ukraine. The data revealed that since the start of war, Ukraine has received EUR 113 billion in form of military, financial, and humanitarian support from the international. While EU leads in financial aid with the support of EUR 52 billion, the US remains the lead in security aid with EUR 48 billion.
On 18 January, Ukraine’s General Staff of the Armed Forces reported on the ground efforts by Russian troops to be focused towards Bakhmut, but the offensive towards Avidiivka were observed to be ineffective. The attacks from Russia in Luhansk and Donetsk area seemed to be countered well by Ukraine forces and Belarus was reported to be supporting Russia through joint exercises. Russian shelling was also reported towards Zaporizhzhia and Kherson.
On 18 January, Ukrinform reported on the continued use of forces as “cannon fodder” by Russians and the loss incurred by Russia in the battles for Bakhmut and Soledar. In the report, Bakhmut and Soledar remains the hotspots, where Russia’s Wagner group has lost close to 40,000 in the battle.
The Moscow View
Claims by Russia
On 18 January, in the 80th anniversary of the blockade of Leningrad, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin stated why Russia invaded Ukraine. He expressed how it was unbearable for Russia to withstand Ukraine’s act of eliminating people who were linked to Russian culture and language which invoked Russia to launch the military operation. Putin added: “We endured for a long time, tried to reach an agreement for a long time. But, as it turns out now, we were simply led by the nose, deceived.”
On 18 January, in the same forum, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that Russia would halt its operation when there is no threat from the military infrastructure in Ukraine. He stressed on Ukraine to “ not discriminate against and harass Russian speakers.” He also condemned the West for not implementing the international treaties and for lying on signed commitments. Lavrov also highlighted West as “colonialist mentality in a new dimension.”
The West View
Responses from the US and Europe
On 17 January, the EU announced to speed its chemical and nuclear preparedness measures through a stockpile in Finland. It allocated EUR 242 million to Finland to create a reserve against chemical, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) threats to protect the member states. According to European Commissioner for Crisis Management: “..will provide the EU with a significant safety net enabling a quick and coordinated response at EU level.” The reserve is expected to be ready from 2024, which will include medical countermeasures, response equipment and medical devices.
On 18 January, NATO’s Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General issued statements on the trajectory of the Ukraine war. According to Jens Stoltenberg: “This is a pivotal moment in the war and the need for a significant increase in support for Ukraine.” He stated that for striking a peace solution, more arms would be needed at present. According to Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana: “We have no indication that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin's goals have changed…Russia has mobilized more than 200,000 additional troops.”
On 18 January, aligning with Canada’s Defence Minister Anita Anand announcement, Canada sent 3000 tonnes of military support to Ukraine. This includes 200 armoured personnel carriers totalling to the CAD five billion overall aid to Ukraine.
The Global Fallouts
Implications of the Ukraine war
On 18 January, Israel’s Defence Forces (IDF) confirmed on the transfer of US’s stockpile located in Israel. The transfer is not viewed as threat to the Israel’s readiness, but till now Israel had maintained a neutral stance in the Ukraine war. The transfer of weapons to Ukraine means US using of its existing reserves would be to support the back end production of weapons and munitions. According IDF, the transfer does not imply change in its defence policy but was agreed upon US’s request.
“International aid to Ukraine exceeds €113B,” Ukrinform, 17 January 2023
“War update: Enemy conducts unsuccessful offensive actions in Avdiivka direction,” Ukrinform, 18 January 2023
“Wagner Group loses about two-thirds of its personnel in battles for Bakhmut and Soledar – expert,” Ukrinform, 18 January 2023
“We couldn’t ignore what was happening in Ukraine – Putin,” RT, 18 January 2023
“US deception, future of Ukraine conflict, and no business as usual with West: key points from Lavrov’s big Q&A,” RT, 18 January 2023
“Russia indicates when Ukraine conflict may end,” RT, 18 January 2023
"Meeting with veterans of the Great Patriotic War, residents of besieged Leningrad and representatives of public patriotic associations," Kremlin.ru, 18 January 2023
“Vladimir Putin took part in commemorative events marking the 80th anniversary of the breaking of the siege of Leningrad,” Kremlin.ru, 18 January 2023
“EU sets up first stockpile to respond to chemical and nuclear emergencies in Finland,” Euronews, 17 January 2023
“Canada already sent more than 3,000 tonnes of military aid to Ukraine,” Ukrinform, 18 January 2023
“Ukraine updates: Interior minister dies in helicopter crash,” Deutsche Welle, 18 January 2023
“US will reimburse Israel for weapons transferred to Ukraine,” The Jerusalem Post, 18 January 2023
By Madhura S Mahesh
UK's think tank's find 330,000 worker loss in labour fource due to Brexit
On 17 January, the UK in a Changing Europe and Center for European Reform released data which outlined that Brexit cost UK economy 330, workers. The data revealed that the net loss of workers was around one per cent of the UK’s labour force. The two think tanks highlighted that as of September 2022, the number of EU-origin workers in the UK had decreased by 460,000 when compared to figures if the UK was part of the EU. They also observed an increase of approximately 130,000 non-EU workers which offset the potential consequences caused by the decrease in workers. This has led to a decreased labour supply for certain sectors of the UK economy such as wholesale and retail, manufacturing, transportation and storage, administration, accommodation and food. (Benjamin Fox “Brexit cost 330,000 drop in UK labour force, new research finds,” EURACTIV, 18 January 2023)
New set of protests by nurses for hike in pay
On 18 January, nurses in the UK staged a walkout demanding a rise in pay adding to the surge of strikes by public workers. Nurses from hospitals and clinics staged a 12-hour strike which led to a delay and postponement of appointments and procedures. While emergency care and cancer treatment were not affected, the strikes added pressure to the overwhelmed public health system. Royal College of Nursing union head Pat Cullen has called on health officials to the negotiating table to prevent further strikes in February. The 12-hour strikes are said to continue on 19 January. Public workers in the UK have been staging multiple strikes demanding an increase in pay amid rising inflation and the cost-of-living crisis. (Jill Lawless “UK nurses stage new walkout as strike wave intensifies,” AP News, 18 January 2023)
EU to increase humanitarian aid funding to EUR 1.7 billion in 2023
On 18 January, the European Commission stated that the EU’s humanitarian aid for 2023 will be EUR 1.7 billion. The aid will be distributed in Southeast Europe and the European Neighbourhood, the Sahel, Central African Republic and the Lake Chad basin, East and Southern Africa, the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and Latin America. The aid will also be distributed for climate-related crises, innovative projects, and policy initiatives and reserved for unanticipated humanitarian crises. Around EUR 1.3 billion will be distributed to the various regions to address the consequences of armed conflict, food crisis, climate disaster, regional conflicts, refugee assistance and consequences of the Russian war. (“Humanitarian Aid: EU increases funding to €1.7 billion for 2023,” ec.europa.eu, 18 January 2023)
The final version of the EU's Chips Act focuses on regulation and promotes international cooperation
On 18 January, Euractiv outlined the new changes made to the Chips Act by the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE). The changes include defining the conditions to qualify as a first-of-a-kind facility and introducing concrete triggers for implementing emergency measures which will be developed by the EU in collaboration with national authorities and market representatives. The ITRE also added the list of critical sectors in the annex of the Act for efficient regulation, increased funding, safeguarding supply chains through international cooperation, and increased protection of IP rights. (Luca Bertuzzi “EU Parliament’s leading committee readies final position on Chips Act,” EURACTIV, 18 January 2023)
Lithuania renounces cross-border cooperation agreement with Belarus
On 18 January, Lithuania’s Interior Ministry renounced the agreement signed with Belarus outlining the principles of cross-border cooperation. The Ministry added that the implementation of the agreement is not possible due to the current geopolitical scenario. The Interior Ministry’s Deputy Arnoldas Abramavičius said: “The Belarusian government has taken a confrontational stance, both by organising the flow of irregular migrants and by being directly involved in and supporting Russian aggression.” The agreement was signed between Lithuania and Belarus on 01 June 2006 outlining areas of cross-border cooperation. The areas highlighted were infrastructure, sports, tourism, education, movement of vehicles and passengers, energy efficiency and more. (“Lithuania renounces cooperation agreement with Belarus,” LRT.lt, 18 January 2023)
Ursula introduces the ‘Green Deal Industrial Plan’ at the WEF Davos 2023
On 17 January, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen introduced the EU’s Green Deal Industrial Plan’ at the Davos 2023. According to Von der Leyen, the plan aims at making “Europe the home of cleantech and industrial innovation on the road to net zero.” The plan has four pillars, first is the regulatory environment ensuring efficient speed and access to reach net zero. The second pillar looks at increasing investments and financing of clean-technology production to keep the European market attractive and competitive. Third, the development of skills ensures a smooth transition and the fourth pillar is to support fair and open trade of clean technology for the benefit of all. Von der Leyen added that the EU would take up various policies and initiatives under the four pillars and existing initiatives to ensure an efficient implementation of the plan. (“Special Address by President von der Leyen at the World Economic Forum,” ec.europa.eu, 17 January 2023)
Taiwan to share semiconductor technology with Lithuania
On 18 January, Lithuania’s Teltonika IoT Group and Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute signed an agreement on semiconductor chip technology sharing. The EUR 14 million deal will help Teltonika gain access to use the licences of the chip manufacturing technology and devices developed by the institute. Out of the EUR 14 million, EUR 10 million will be given by the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry and the rest will be supplemented by Teltonika. The projects under the deal are said to be completed by 2027. Teltonika IoT Group Founder and President Arvydas Paukštis said: “I believe that the implementation of the planned works will help Lithuania to be among the most advanced countries in the world.” (Giedrius Gaidamavičius “Lithuania and Taiwan sign deal on semiconductor technology sharing,” LRT.lt, 18 January 2023)
Urmas Reinsalu reiterates Estonia’s support for the EU monitoring mission at the Armenian-Azerbaijani border
On 18 January, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu met with Armenian President Vahagn Khachaturyan where the two discussed increased cooperation between Armenia and Estonia. Reinsalu reiterated Estonia’s support for a permanent EU monitoring mission at the Armenian-Azerbaijani border to establish peace in the region. The two also discussed the effective implementation of the EU's Eastern Partnership platform. Khachaturyan is on an official visit to Estonia where he met Estonian President Alar Karis on 16 January. (“FM: Estonia supports decision to deploy permanent EU monitoring mission along Armenia-Azerbaijan border,” NEWS.am, 18 January 2023)