Russia Monitor Monthly 12/22

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Policy Brief. Kremlin Watchers Movement Report

Policy Brief. Kremlin Watchers Movement Report

Russia uses disinformation as a foreign policy tool, and its military actions in Ukraine are supported by disinformation operations. Poland, as one of Ukraine’s main allies, is an important country against which the Kremlin uses disinformation.

The Balloon Escalation

The Balloon Escalation

On Saturday, February 04, 2023, the U.S. Air Force F-22 stealth jet fighter shot down what the U.S. identified as a Chinese surveillance balloon off the coast of South Carolina. Similar events involving unidentified Chinese balloons have happened before, but this incident has a symbolic significance. The shot-down balloon becomes the next escalation point in relations between the U. S. and China.

The Greatest Challenges to Ukraine’s Accession to the European Union

The Greatest Challenges to Ukraine’s Accession to the European Union

On February 28, 2022, just days after Russia’s renewed aggression against Ukraine, the country submitted its formal application for membership in the European Union (EU). Ukraine’s bid for EU accession had been a long-awaited goal, but it had been hindered by the significant obstacle of Russia’s 2014 attack on Ukraine. It had been used as a pretext by Western European countries to delay the membership process.

Russia Moves Troops From Far North To Ukraine

Russia Moves Troops From Far North To Ukraine

The Norwegian and Estonian intelligence agencies recently presented their open threat and risk assessments in 2023. Both emphasized that Russia poses the greatest threat to European security. Interestingly, Russia has relocated large ground forces from the High North to Ukraine, according to both reports.

War In Ukraine Dominates Munich Security Conference

War In Ukraine Dominates Munich Security Conference

The Russian invasion of Ukraine topped the agenda of the Munich Security Conference this year. The summit gathered top leaders including Polish President Andrzej Duda, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the conference via a video link.

Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address

Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address

U.S. President Joe Biden’s state of the union address mostly concentrated on domestic issues, with geopolitical turmoil being somewhat of secondary importance. When tackling foreign affairs, Biden focused mostly on Ukraine and U.S-China rivalry.

Israel Makes Slight Shift In Ukraine Policy

Israel Makes Slight Shift In Ukraine Policy

Ukraine Monitor presents the latest news concerning internal and external matters of Ukraine – a unique country where the interests of the East and the West clash almost every day. Date: Author: Grzegorz Kuczyński Israel Makes Slight Shift In Ukraine...

Russia Boosts Presence in Mali

Russia Boosts Presence in Mali

The Malian junta appointed several pro-Russian figures to high-ranking military positions, indicating growing Russian influence over the Malian government. In addition, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov traveled to Bamako, the Malian capital, where he was awarded one of the highest Malian orders. All this points to the growing influence of Moscow in the African country.

Staff Reshuffles in Russia’s Security Council

Staff Reshuffles in Russia’s Security Council

It was long ago when Russia’s Security Council saw major staff changes. They may undermine the reputation of Nikolay Patrushev, its chairman. Recent appointees include people from outside the inner circle of the former FSB chief. In addition, a new person linked to Vladimir Putin took a job at the Council. Perhaps the institution saw some personnel changes ahead of the forthcoming Federal Assembly address. Or possibly Putin is seeking to chasten some hawkish officials within the Council.

Russian Forces Destroyed Near Ukraine’s Vuhledar

Russian Forces Destroyed Near Ukraine’s Vuhledar

Russia made a failed attempt to encircle and capture the strategically located town of Vuhledar in the south of Donetsk province. Russian forces have sustained their biggest defeat so far near the eastern Ukrainian town, according to sources in Russia.

Russia Cuts Oil Output As Sanctions Bite

Russia Cuts Oil Output As Sanctions Bite

Russia will cut crude oil production by half a million barrels per day starting in March. That means the country’s major challenge is to export crude oil. Reduced export volumes for crude means that Russia is unable to sell as much of its oil – even at a discounted price – as before the price cap and the EU embargo came into effect.

Russia Celebrates Invasion with Rally and Federal Assembly Address

Russia Celebrates Invasion with Rally and Federal Assembly Address

The Russian propaganda machine is exploiting one year exactly since Russia recognized two breakaway republics in Donbas and its full-scale invasion of Ukraine to unify Russian people around the leader. There will be an effort to mobilize people in Russia with Putin’s Federal Assembly speech and a concert in the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow. Chances are that Russian forces will advance some gains in Ukraine such as the seizing of Bakhmut, which could be further exploited in Putin’s speeches.

Ukraine’s Reznikov Not to Be Dismissed Despite Rumors

Ukraine’s Reznikov Not to Be Dismissed Despite Rumors

Another head would allegedly roll in Ukraine’s government purge amid recent corruption scandals. Rumors of a possible Reznikov resignation appeared on February 5. For the defense minister, there was reputational damage in relation to the inflated catering contracts.

Zelensky Announces Personnel Changes Within Law Enforcement Agencies

Zelensky Announces Personnel Changes Within Law Enforcement Agencies

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced a new series of personnel reshuffles. The Ukrainian leader learned a lesson from earlier mishaps while seeking to tackle corruption – as fighting corruption is one condition set by Ukraine’s Western allies. In addition, Ukrainian media outlets seemingly ended a grace period for authorities after the country had been invaded by Russia.

The Ally We Trust. Warsaw’s Perspective On Washington And Berlin

The Ally We Trust. Warsaw’s Perspective On Washington And Berlin

February 24, 2022, remain a historic milestone that may mark a new chapter in the perception of international reality. This day certainly marks a particular significance for the Central and Eastern European region. From Poland’s perspective, the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine was another test of allies we could trust and could not. The widespread social and political mobilization and attitude of our key partners solve the debate about security direction for Warsaw in the upcoming years.

Lavrov Visits Sudan to Conclude Red Sea Naval Base Agreement

Lavrov Visits Sudan to Conclude Red Sea Naval Base Agreement

Following the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Sudan last week, Moscow and Khartoum have finalized the terms of an agreement on establishing a logistical center for the Russian Navy in Sudan, concluded a few years ago. The deal was somewhat derailed due to an unstable situation in Sudan. Sudan has been without a parliament after a popular uprising led to the military overthrow of longtime autocrat Omar al Bashir. Russian officials get on well with the Sudanese military junta while some top Sudanese generals have benefitted from collaboration with the shadowy military contractor Wagner Group.

Russia Races Against Clock Before Much-Awaited Offensive

Russia Races Against Clock Before Much-Awaited Offensive

In January, Western officials and military analysts believed a new Russian ground offensive to begin in March if not later. A renewed Russian offensive in the east of Ukraine is underway in February. Why did Russia’s much-awaited offensive begin now and where a renewed push could be observed? Does it hint at any breakthrough in Moscow’s war with Ukraine?

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