Moldova’s gas distribution company, Moldovagaz, says it has paid Russian state-owned gas giant Gazprom for natural gas supplied in December 2021. By January 20, 2022, the company has to make a down payment for this month’s gas bill. But the price of Russian gas has risen since the beginning of this year, making Moldova unable to pay its commodity bill and forcing the country to ask Gazprom for an extension. If no agreement is reached, Russia may again cut off its gas supplies to Moldova.
Talks in the Normandy format, which brings together Ukrainian, Russian, German, and French officials to help end the conflict in Donbas, have stalled. It is painful for Moscow whose top officials expected that Berlin and Paris would force Kyiv into putting the Minsk agreements into practice. As the Kremlin is seeking to turn to Washington to solve the problem, Ukraine is looking for some balance, highlighting the importance of the Normandy format. What poses a bigger threat to Kyiv is a pile of potential concessions from the Joe Biden administration.
Czech and Slovak intelligence and counterintelligence agencies mention the threat from China in their reports more and more often. The growing importance of the PRC and its attempts to influence these countries are closely monitored. The degree of danger is frequently compared to Russian actions
The United States entered 2021 with a newly elected President Joe Biden. The summary of China’s policy is also an assessment of the first year of the new administration at the White House. It was clear from the beginning that the key issue for the new president would be relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
On Wednesday, January 12, the Warsaw Institute organized a discussion panel concerning the assessment of Monday’s negotiations between representatives of the US diplomacy and their counterparts on the side of the Russian Federation. The topic of the talks in Geneva was the issue of Ukraine’s security. For months, nearly 100,000 Russian soldiers have been stationed on the Russian-Ukrainian border.
Russian-led forces have begun their gradual withdrawal from Kazakhstan, the Russian defense ministry informed. No details are known how long the pullout will take and whether any Russian troops will stay in Kazakhstan. Importantly, Moscow and ex-Soviet nations deployed more than 2,000 to help Kazakh officials not to stop the revolution, but to consolidate Tokayev’s grip on power against people close to Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi visited Eritrea, Kenya, and the Comoros between January 4 and 7. It was an opportunity for further declarations of support in many domains of African countries and the presentation of new initiatives.
The protests in Kazakhstan, which have led to mass unresti and the resignation of the governmentii, have caught the attention of its neighboring states. The Russian Federation even sent its troops to Kazakhstan, aiming to bring the situation under control.iii Even though the People’s Republic of China (PRC) did not do likewise, its representatives have widely commented on the current events.
A meeting of top U.S. and Russian diplomats has not produced any tangible results. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov were tasked with outlining proposals and expectations. Nonetheless, what both said after the meeting could hint at some future conclusions.
Negotiations between the United States and the Russian Federation begin in Geneva on Monday, January 10. The topic of talks between representatives of both countries is the security of Ukraine and the entire region of Eastern Europe.
It is not only about deploying hundreds of Russian military personnel to Kazakhstan, but a great deal of political support the Kremlin threw to Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. The Kazakh president will pay for it later. In consequence, Kazakhstan is becoming a Russian vassal, being no longer its independent ally.
What Western and Russian officials say just before a round of talks in Geneva, Brussels, and Vienna highlights the firm positions of the two sides. The talks seem unlikely to bring a breakthrough so Russia is likely to push on Ukraine every harder than now. The latest statements by the Russian deputy foreign minister show that Moscow is ready for the fiasco and is thus upping the ante beforehand.
In December 2021, gas prices in Europe increased dramatically, even several times within a few days. The sudden change was caused, among others, by the reduction of the transit of the Russian gas via the Yamal gas pipeline, which runs through Poland and supplies Western Europe. The American LNG may turn out to be the cure for shortage.
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The expert of the Warsaw Institute, Grzegorz Kuczyński, speaks about the crisis and protests in Kazakhstan.
It has been more than two weeks since Joe Biden’s last conversation with Vladimir Putin. The videoconference, which lasted more than two hours, focused on Russia’s potential aggression against Ukraine, the situation on NATO’s eastern flank, and the matter of Alliance’s enlargement by including new countries, especially those located in the so-called “near abroad” of the Russian Federation.
According to the information provided by the Russian national space agency Roscosmos and obtained by the Chinese daily The Global Times, China and Russia will sign a new space cooperation program for 2023-2027 in 2022. Several schemes are planned under it. This is yet another step in cooperation between Beijing and Moscow as well as rivalry with the US.
The end of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s long political career and the resulting change of government in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) is a reorganization that is significant not only in the German and European context, but for this country’s policy towards the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko met in St. Petersburg on the sidelines of an informal CIS summit, a meeting that confirms Moscow’s growing appetite to integrate its military with Belarus as soon as possible. Belarus is growing in importance for Russia amid mounting tensions with the North Atlantic Alliance and a tug-of-war in Ukraine.
Russia has successfully tested the S-550 air defense system, Russian military sources reported on December 28. The new system is derived from the S-500 Prometheus but will be capable of hitting ICBMs and satellites. It is another step toward building a Russian offensive space capacity that is dangerous to U.S. items orbiting around the Earth.