Daily Briefs

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11 February 2023, Saturday | NIAS Europe Daily Brief #434

War in Ukraine: Day 352

War in Ukraine: Day 352
By Padmashree Anandhan

War on the ground
On 10 February, Head of Kyiv city military administration, Serhiy Popko upon the threat of a missile attack urged the people to take shelter. The order was given after Tu-95 strategic bombers were launched by Russia. Ukraine’s spokesperson added: “Enemy aviation is in the air and ships which can carry Kaliber missiles are in the sea. The enemy launched the missiles. The air alert will be long.” The same was confirmed by The Kyiv Independent, which reported explosions in the Dnipropetrovsk region.

On 10 February, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted on the meet with Poland’s President Andrzej Duda. The discussion focused on security issues, joint action, and military support. On the same day, Zaporizhzhia was observed to have hit by 17 missiles, majorly on the energy infrastructure cutting off the power supplies.

The Moscow View
Claims by Russia

On 10 February, TASS reported on Ukraine troops using of US manufactured rocket systems to attacks. It highlighted: “..require coordinates provided or confirmed by the United States and its allies for the vast majority of strikes using its advanced US-provided rocket systems.” Therefore, the accuracy to assist in targeting and also to ensure the protection of limited ammunitions has been the strategy of the US according to Ukraine’s spokesperson.

On 10 February, TASS reported on Russia’s claims on facility damage in the Khmelnitsky region. In the reports, targeting of energy infrastructure was recorded, along with shelling in Dnepropetrovsk.

The West View
Responses from the US and Europe 

On 10 February, Moldova’s Foreign Minister stated that Russian missile had breached its air space. It said that it would be summoning Russian Ambassador in opposition of the move. The same was confirmed by Ukraine’s armed forces Commander-in-Chief observed that the missiles had been launched from the Black Sea which crossed into Moldova and Romania before Ukraine. According to the Romanian Defence Ministry released a statement: “The closest the target trajectory got to Romania's airspace was recorded by the radar at roughly 35 kilometers northeast of the border.” There has been no response from Russia yet.

On 10 February, the US Assistant Secretary of Defense commented that of the total “main battle tanks” of Russia, half of them are likely to have been ruined or taken by Ukraine. The White-House announced US President Joe Biden schedule to visit Poland in support of Ukraine.

On 10 February, Switzerland denied Spain’s request to grant the export of “Swiss-made anti-aircraft guns” to Ukraine. One of the key rules of Swiss law maintains to restrict export of war materials to a country when it is involved in conflict.

The Global Fallouts  
Implications of the war

On 10 February, the World Bank announced a restoration package for Ukraine worth USD 50 million. It is also expecting to announced an additional funding of USD 535 million. According to World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia: “Ukraine needs urgent investments to repair damaged essential transport routes.”

Ukraine updates: Moldova — Russian missiles crossed airspace,” Deutsche Welle, 10 February 2023
Ukrainian officials admit they rely on US data for precision targeting — newspaper,” TASS, 10 February 2023
Critical infrastructure facilities damaged in Ukrainian regions — authorities,” TASS, 10 February 2023

By Madhura S Mahesh and Femi Francis

Government plans to permanently eradicate homelessness by 2027
On 11 February, Nord news reported that Finland is looking to totally eradicate homelessness, and they are looking into a national action plan that would help them achieve this goal by 2027. Finland is the only country in the EU which has been successful in reducing the amount of homelessness. Housing Finance and Development Centre reported that between 2008- 2022 there has been a 54 per cent decrease in homelessness in Finland. Prime Minister Sanna Marin believes that eradicating homelessness is possible to plan with a specialized mechanism to aid the process with decentralized measures like providing them with phones, provision of removal of evection and providing them with long term support with round clock support can help with eradication. (“Homelessness can be eradicated by close cooperation by 2027: Report,” Nord News, 11 February 2023)

France's dependency on frozen food imports increased
On 10 February, Les Echos reported that France is highly dependent on imports of frozen vegetables from EU nations. The frozen food imports reached an all-time peak of 74 per cent benefiting Belgium, Spain, and Italy while reducing the self-sufficiency quotient of the French food market to only 40 per cent. French exports have reduced to half since 2010 and 14 per cent for frozen food. This is further aggravated by climate change for example, peas production has been largely affected by drought where the harvest fell by 16 per cent in 2022.  To bring back sustainability the French government have proposed that production increase by 15 per cent which would mean the consumption of self-sustaining needs to be increased as well. Investments need to be made in modernized industries to make a move towards decarbonization. (Dominique Chapuis “Vegetables: France's dependence on imports is getting worse,” Les Echos, 10 February 2023)

The fishing industry agrees to sign the new agreement for the fishing industry.
On 10 February, the fishing industry agreed to sign a collective agreement with Fisheries in Iceland. The new agreement highlighted the wage hike to be in line with General and Special workers in Iceland. A rise in pension and increased measures would be taken for the safety and health of the workers. The final vote on the agreement would be done late in the coming week, for now, the public has shown general satisfaction with the agreement. The seafood industry is a vital industry for the Icelandic countries. They employ around 7,500 people which is 3.9 per cent of the workforce and contributes to eight per cent to the GDP. While the indirect contribution can account for 43 per cent of marine products. ( Jelena Ćirić “Fishing Industry Parties Sign 10-Year Collective Agreement,” Iceland review, 10 February 2023)

Ruling government resigns amidst numerous crisis
On 10 February, Moldova’s Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilița and her government resigned citing a lack of support from the public. Gavrilița 18-month-old pro-western government faced several protests led by opposition politician Ilan Shor. This comes as Moldova is facing numerous crises including increasing inflation, a rising influx of Ukrainian refugees and the energy crisis. After the Ukraine war broke out, Moldova has faced power cuts, increasing cyberattacks from Russia and has struggled to reduce its dependency on Russian gas. Gavrilița came to power in August 2021 with an agenda to fight corruption and fastrack Moldova’s accession to the EU. Moldova was given EU candidate status in 2022. Moldovan President Maia Sandu accepted the resignation and nominated Dorin Recean for the position of Prime Minister. (Alexandra Brzozowski “Moldova’s pro-EU government falls amid economic turmoil, Russian pressure,” EURACTIV, 10 February 2023; “Moldova: Pro-Western government collapses amid crises,” Deutsche Welle, 10 February 2023)   

Poland suggests a compromise to strict Wind Turbine legislation
On 09 February, Deutsche Welle reported that Poland plans to find a medium for wind power development after the period of unregulated production between 2001 and 2013. There wasn’t any thought given in regulating the distance between roads and houses when it came to production, to halt this PIS party passed a law in 2016 called the “10H” rule. Where the distance between the turbines and the nearest house should be at least ten times the turbine's height. This legislation is criticized by some stating that it virtually leaves no land for the production of wind turbines, it is an issue as Poland needs lots of wind energy transmission. To reach a consensus in 2023, the amendment was proposed cutting the distance between turbines to house/nature to 500 meters, this would open up 7 per cent of land area. (Aleksandra Fedorska “Wind power in Poland: Trying to find a happy medium,” Deutsche Welle, 09 February 2023)

EU launches pilot projects in Romania and Bulgaria to curb irregular migration 
On 10 February, the European Commission and EU member states leaders launched two pilot projects in Romania and Bulgaria to curb irregular migration. According to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the first project will “offer an integrated package of mobile and stationary infrastructure, from cars to cameras and watchtowers to electronic surveillance.” The second project will be launched with the support of Europol police and Frontex. It will focus on improving procedures at the external borders in terms of registration, fast and fair asylum repatriations and practices. These projects will be aimed at protecting EUs external borders and controlling irregular migration and will be financed by national and EU budgets. Along with the two projects the EU countries’ leaders also collectively agreed to recognize the decisions taken on deportations which will lead to faster repatriations. (Mark “EU strengthens border protection in Romania and Bulgaria,” Frankfurter Allgemeine, 10 February 2023)

European Parliament agree on a common definition for low-carbon hydrogen 
On 09 February, European Parliament lawmakers adopted a definition for low-carbon hydrogen which puts it at the same level as renewable hydrogen. According to the definition low carbon-hydrogen “is derived from non-renewable sources and meets a greenhouse gas emission reduction threshold of 70 per cent.” The definition also includes nuclear power-derived hydrogen. French lawmakers viewed this as a win and will be able to push for further integration of low-carbon hydrogen into the EUs decarbonisation goals. For hydrogen to be low-carbon its production should not exceed 3.38 kilograms of CO2-equivalent per kilogram of hydrogen. France can currently produce nuclear-derived hydrogen at 2.77 kilograms of CO2-equivalent per kilogram of hydrogen. Paul Messad “EU Parliament backs pro-nuclear definition of ‘low-carbon’ hydrogen,” EURACTIV, 10 February 2023)       

EIB to invest USD 40 million across South Asia and India for climate action
On 10 February, the European Investment Bank (EIB) Vice President Kris Peeters announced a USD 40 million investment to address climate action and environmental investment across South Asia and India. The fund will be invested in the GEF South Asia Growth Fund III, a venture of GEF Capital Partners. The EIB said that the aim is to increase the investment to USD 300 million with the majority of it being invested in India and around 10 per cent in South and Southeast Asia. (“EIB increases support for high impact climate action and environmental investment across India and South Asia with $40 million for new regional investment fund,” eib.org, 10 February 2023)

Two former Bulgarian ministers sanctioned under the Magnitsky act
On 10 February, the US Treasury Department sanctioned two former Bulgarian ministers under the Magnitsky act for being involved in corruption. The two former ministers sanctioned are former Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov under former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and former Energy Minister Rumen Ovcharov under former Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev. The US claimed that Goranov in his term in office supported bribes being given to government officials and helped Bulgarian oligarchs benefit from the tax revenue system. On Ovcharov, they claimed that he revived bribes and was involved in “corrupt” energy contracts with Russian companies. Additionally, the US has also sanctioned three other high-profile Bulgarians includes Nikolay Malinov, and two former heads of the Kozloduy nuclear plant. (“The US sanctions two former Bulgarian ministers under Magnitsky act,” EURACTIV, 10 February 2023)  

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