A new chapter in the Russia-Ukraine war was a turning point for the security architecture in Europe. Although plainly local and between two states, the war in Ukraine is a proxy war that involves NATO and EU states and the Russian Federation. In consequence, other countries could be dragged into the conflict, including those that remain in the sphere of influence for many superpowers.
Representatives of all the most important countries located in the Indo-Pacific region met during the 21st Asia Shangri-La Security Summit in Singapore. Representatives of 42 countries attended the summit, including 37 delegates at ministerial level and over 30 senior defense officials. The Singapore meeting was an occasion for talks by leading allies opposing Chinese expansion in the Indo-Pacific region, led by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
At the beginning, the historic significance of the summit was explained by NATO’s Deputy General Secretary Mircea Geoana at the NATO Public Forum: “It is the most important summit for generations. Generations that never believed that after the atrocities of the First and Second World War, war is still possible in our continent. It shattered the assumptions in which our societies, our security, our economies were built.”
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Nowak visited the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. He met with Anton Alikhanov, the region’s governor, to discuss efforts to strengthen the exclave’s energy security. Perhaps Russia is seeking to go tit-for-tat after Lithuania had banned the transit of some goods to the Kaliningrad region over EU sanctions.
The fierce Ukrainian defense operation in Donbas serves its purpose: as more troops are killed and the Ukrainian army is running short of weapons, Ukrainian forces try to encircle many Russian troops in a relatively small area. It takes a few weeks for Russian troops to claim a major town or city in Ukraine. But they have no military potential to conduct campaigns elsewhere. The authorities in Kyiv seem to have adopted a strategy that consists in delivering heavy losses to the enemy, but this comes at a substantial cost for Ukraine, too. Its officials hope to receive more advanced heavy weapons and additional financial support to stave off Russia’s unprovoked invasion. This tactic needs to bring fruits.
India is seeking to double down on Russian oil imports while Russia is sending more oil from its Kozmino port in the Far East. China suspends imports while other countries, including Sri Lanka, evince growing interest in Russian hydrocarbons. Russia sells oil at heavy discounts, overtaking oil-rich Gulf monarchies that would send its hydrocarbons to the east. They are forced to cut oil prices to make Russian oil less attractive in the long run.
State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, received a draft federal law on “special economic measures” that in fact introduced a centrally planned economy and make private businesses dependent on the state.
Quite surprisingly, Russian gas giant Gazprom has decided not to pay dividends on last year’s results, which were record high.
The price of Russian gas for Moldova increased by 11 percent, to $980 per thousand cubic meters in July, the head of state energy firm Moldovagaz Vadim Ceban said in a statement. Moldova has so far paid $880 per thousand cubic meters of gas.
There has been an increased number of attacks against pro-Kremlin officials in Ukrainian regions that have come under Moscow control, notably in Kherson and Zaporizhia. The southeastern city of Melitopol has been at the heart of the Ukrainian resistance movement while there have been more attacks targeting Russian troops in Kherson and adjacent villages.
Leonid Fedun, the vice president of Russia’s second-largest oil producer Lukoil, has stepped down from his post shortly after the company’s CEO Vagit Alekperov had left the energy giant. Both resignations probably came in response to Western sanctions on Russia. An owner of a top-tier Russian soccer club, Spartak, Fedun had never been sanctioned for his business activity.
On June 28, Bulgaria ordered 70 Russian diplomatic staff out of the country, claiming that they have been working against Sofia’s interests. The expulsion is another blow to the Russian spy ring in Bulgaria.
Russian oil tankers are sailing under a foreign flag to avoid sanctions. China has helped Putin’s Russia by ramping up purchases of Russian oil.
Since Russia launched its most recent invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the United States and NATO have provided political, military, economic, and other forms of aid and support to Ukraine. While well-intentioned, Washington could improve the types, quantity, and velocity of the aid it provides to Kyiv.
From June 28th to June 30th the NATO summit 2022 will take place in Madrid. It will be attended by the Heads of State and Government of every member state as well as by NATO’s pacific partners Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea.
Along with the development of technological innovation, cybercrime is growing, and companies are increasingly falling prey to it. According to the calculations of Chuck Robbins – CEO of Cisco, if you compare the amount of losses generated globally by online criminals with global economies, cybercriminals could successfully create the third largest economy in the world.
The visit of Klaus Iohannis to Ukraine was necessary and one of the more frequent comments was “better late than never”. His presence, however, remained somewhat overshadowed by Emmanuel Macron, Olaf Scholz and Mario Draghi. There were also opinions that his presence supported their policy of concessions to Russia. The case, however, is more nuanced.
A two-month operation to target Ukrainian positions in Severodonetsk failed to produce any tangible effects for Russia. The best way would consist in encircling Ukrainian troops in the Azov chemical plant but Russian forces are unable to do so, seeking to cut off the Ukrainians further, which is on the western bank of the Donets River. Claiming Lysychansk would put an end to the defense of Severodonetsk.
Since the war in Ukraine has begun, due to the strong and adverse response from the West, many experts were cautiously observing China’s role in the conflict. One of the questions was to what extent China would replace the EU in the terms of economic relations, and after the planned embargo on Russian oil introduced by the EU.
Russia has recently violated Danish territorial waters, performed flights with transponders off, and staged a large-scale drill in its exclave region of Kaliningrad. Thus Moscow has reacted aggressively to the Swedish and Finnish bids to join the Western military alliance NATO. Such breaches could become common as NATO leaders will meet in Madrid on June 28–30.