Photo : Kremlin.ru
06 April 2023, Thursday | NIAS Europe Daily Brief #480
War in Ukraine, Day 406:
Putin emphasizes integrating the annexed regions in the Security Council meet
By Padmashree Anandhan
WAR ON THE GROUND
On 05 April, Ukrinform reported on Ukraine’s “Operational Command South” observation in the Black Sea. It revealed the deployment of 15 warships by Russia’s forces in the Black Sea. According to the report: “The naval group in the Black Sea grew to 15 warships, including as many as 6 missile carriers, 2 of which are submarines, which may indicate to an extremely high threat of a missile strike.”
On 05 April, Ukraine’s Ministry of Energy released a joint statement with Germany on expanding the energy partnership with a focus on “green recovery,” and reconstructing Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. According to Ukraine’s Energy Minister, Galushchenko the partnership will include government and businesses and he expects the cooperation to help in stabilising Ukraine’s energy system.
On 05 April, on the situation in Bakhmut, Ukraine’s Border Guard Service reported on countering the attacks on Russia’s Wagner Group. The spokesperson said six groups of Wagner Group launched an attack in the same time which was “decimated” by Ukrainians through mortars, heavy machine guns, and snipers.
On 04 April, Ukraine’s Minister of Health, Viktor Lyashko confirmed receiving assistance from Canada’s Red Cross worth USD 220 million. He highlighted the issues faced by Ukraine’s health sector due to infrastructure damage, and economic inflation, which has strained access to medical care. Lyashko stated how the Canadian Red Cross and the Ukrainian Red Cross Society have been key in bringing initiatives to fill such gaps.
THE MOSCOW VIEW
Claims by Russia
On 05 April, Kremlin.ru reported on Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s Security Council meeting. During the meeting, Putin discussed on ensuring rule of law, public security in Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson. Criticising Ukraine for committing crimes through artillery and mortar attacks, he called for the integration of historical lands of Russia in Donbass and Novorossiya into its economic, legal and education sectors.
On 05 April, RT reported on Estonia’s technical regulatory authority (TTJA) move to block 53 websites which were used to view banned Russian channels. It was done to align with the EU’s sanctions. According to the TTJA Director, the per cent of trust in the Russian channels has decreased from 40 to 18 per cent and as per the census, Estonia has only a minor Russian speaking population.
On 05 April, Russia’s Foreign Ministry accused Ukraine for interrupting its “civil communication satellites. It called it a violation of international law. The reports state that the SpaceX support given to Ukraine had become the tools of conflict in the war.
THE WEST VIEW
Responses from the US and Europe
On 05 April, Poland’s President Andrzej Duda in a meeting with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy assured to send all its MiG-29 fighter jets and vowed to “secure additional security” in the upcoming NATO summit in July. In response, Zelenskyy urged Poland’s acceptance of the refugees at the border could turn into a solid arrangement.
On 04 April, Romania’s Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu announced that Romania would allocate separate funds for NATO’s “defense potential development programs.” Under the initiative, it aims to give USD 800,000 to Ukraine and USD 750,000 to Moldova to boost their defence capabilities. Aurescu emphasized on supporting vulnerable areas of the EU to defence against Russia.
On 05 April, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced NATO’s plans to create a “multi-year assistance” programme for Ukraine. This will focus on the transition, building institutions, and improving interoperability to push towards NATO membership. Stoltenberg said: “We do not know when this war will end, but when it does, we must ensure that President Putin cannot continue to chip away at European security.” The programme will ensure Ukraine’s integration into the “Euro-Atlantic.”
THE GLOBAL FALLOUTS
Implications of the war
On 05 April, 49 countries, the EU objected Russia was using its power as a permanent member of the UNSC in the illegal deportation of people, children and spreading disinformation. In a statement: “These reprehensible actions have taken place in the context of the Russian Federation’s full-scale invasion and illegal war of aggression against Ukraine, which we condemn unreservedly.”
On 05 April, IAEA Chief Rafel Grossi held talks with Russia’s nuclear agency Rosatom Head, Alexei Likhachev on ensuring safety of Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Since Russia claimed control of the are from March 2022, continued threats to the safety of the power plant has been raised.
“Russia deploys six missile carriers in Black Sea – OC South,” Ukrinform, 05 April 2023
“Канадський Червоний Хрест перерахував понад 220 млн доларів підтримки Україні,” moz.gov.ua, 04 April 2023
“Ukraine and Germany are expanding energy partnership for the "green" restoration and reconstruction of the Ukrainian energy industry,” mev.gov.ua, 04 April 2023
“Border guards repel Wagner Group assault in Bakhmut,” Ukrinform, 05 April 2023
“Security Council meeting,” Kremlin.ru, 05 April 2023
“EU country cracks down on Russian media,” RT, 05 April 2023
“Ukraine is targeting Russian civilian satellites – Moscow,” RT, 05 April 2023
“rumyniya-vydelit-750-tys-na-razvitiye-oboronnogo-potentsiala-moldovy,” newsmaker, 04 April 2023
“NATO will start working on multi-year assistance program for Ukraine – Stoltenberg,” Ukrinform, 05 April 2023
“Ukraine updates: Poland pledges gear as Zelenskyy visits,” Deutsche Welle, 05 April 2023
“Statement on behalf of,” Canada Mission UN/Twitter, 05 April 2023
Europe in Brief
By Padmashree Anandhan
Estonia to deploy 110-member unit in Iraq
On 05 April, ERR reported on Estonia’s Defence Forces statement on its plans to deploy unit of upto 110 members in Iraq for six months as part of the US’s “Operation Inherent Resolve.” This unit will handle the “base protection, rapid response and providing security for key personnel.” The unit will also include Estonian Special Operations Forces (ESTSOF), non-commissioned officers (NCOs). According to Estonian Defence Forces Commander: “The participation of our units in foreign operations has made a strong contribution to Estonia's good relations and ability to cooperate with our allies.” (“Estonian Defense Forces company to be deployed to Iraq,” news.err.ee, 05 April 2023)
Latvia brings back mandatory defence service
On 05 April, Latvia’s Parliament adopted a law to re-introduce the compulsory national defence services. 68 members voted in favour while 11 were against, the service will include military and alternate civil services. If a person avoids the service, he will be subject to “criminal liability.” This will be mandatorily applicable to men born after January 2004 and for those men and women aged between 18 to 27 can apply voluntarily. They will be an option to be in the National armed forces for 11 months, or five years in National Guard or through five-year education programme assigned for Reserve Lieutenant. (“Compulsory military service to be re-introduced in Latvia,” eng.lsm.lv, 04 April 2023)
NATO foreign minister meet focused on threat rising from China’s ties with Russia
On 05 April, NATO Foreign Ministers continued the meeting for the second day. The meeting focused on China’s relations with Russia, where the NATO Secretary General highlighted how the legal aid of China to Russia would have “profound implications.” According to him, although China stands aloof from objecting to Russia in the invasion, its growing trade partnership despite sanctions raises concerns. The discussion also focussed on the impact of war in the Indo-Pacific and “global ramifications.” During the meeting, a proposal of keeping two per cent as the minimum defence target was also pledged as many EU member states such as Germany is yet to meet the target. (“Newly enlarged NATO talks China and Ukraine,” Deutsche Welle, 05 April 2023)
France’s carbon emissions down by 8.5 per cent
On 03 April, France’s Energy Transition Minister reported on the reduction of France’s emissions by 8.5 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2022. According to France’s carbon agency, the emission had reduced and without considering the imported products, the gas emission had gone down by 2.5 per cent in 2022 compared to 2021. This means France is now aligned with its target given under the “National Low-Carbon Strategy,” fixed in 2015. (Paul Messad, “France saw 8.5% drop in CO2 last year, not enough to meet EU goals,” EURACTIV, 04 April 2023)