Eastern Europe Geopolitical Watch – From July 2 to July 8, 2022

Eastern Europe Geopolitical Watch team: Olga Chekhurska, Victor Martin, Amandine Paillette, supervised by Clelia Frouté.

07/02/2022 : Belarus accuses Ukraine of using missiles to target its territory – Amandine Paillette –

On the eve of the commemoration of the liberation of Minsk by the Red Army on July 3, 1944, President Alexander Lukashenko claimed during a ceremony that military targets had been aimed a few days earlier from Ukraine. He said “Thank God, our Pantsir anti-aircraft systems intercepted all the missiles fired by Ukrainian forces“. In the words of the President, these are provocations against his country, which must be held firm, explaining “A bad peace is better than a good war“. 

Alexander Lukashenko, who is accused of being an ally of the Kremlin, reiterated his non-intention to participate in the fighting in Ukraine, but nevertheless specified “We will fight only in one case, if you (…) enter our land, if you kill our people, then we will respond“. He then warned that any enemy attack on its territory would have immediate repercussions, saying “If only you dare to strike […] then the response will come instantly, in just one second“. These statements echo the delivery of Iskander-M missiles promised by Moscow in the coming months. The latter have the capacity to carry nuclear-type charges.

During his speech, the Belarusian president explained that only a month earlier he had “ordered the units of the armed forces [of Belarus] to target […] the decision-making centers of your capitals, with all the consequences that follow“.

07/03/2022: Ukraine’s military announced, on July 3, its withdrawal from the city of Lysychansk, a city in the heart of the Donbass region. -Olga Chekhurska-

On July 3, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced that after the heavy fight for Lysychansk, the Defence Forces of Ukraine had to withdraw from their positions and lines.

In the conditions of the multiple superiority of Russian occupation forces in artillery, aviation, MLRS, ammunition and personnel, the continuation of the defence of the city would lead to fatal consequences. In order to preserve the lives of Ukrainian defenders, a decision was made to withdraw,” the report states.

In his daily address to the nation late on July 3, President Volodymyr Zelensky promised to retake lost territories with the help of Western long-range weapons.

We will rebuild the walls, we will retake the land, but above all we must protect the people,” said Volodymyr Zelensky.

On the same day, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to Russian President Vladimir Putin that the offensive operation in the Luhansk region had ended with the liberation of one of the largest cities in the region, Lysychansk. He also reported that the entire “Luhansk People’s Republic” has been liberated. According to Sergei Shoigu, a total of 670 square kilometres of territory were taken under control during the active offensive operations.

However, the head of the Luhansk region, Serhiy Gaidai, announced on July 4 that the fighting in the Luhansk region continues. The Ukrainian armed forces, after leaving Lysychansk, hold the line in the Belogorivka region, which is located on the administrative border with the Donetsk region.

According to the Institute for the Study of War, the capture of Lysychansk, the last major city in the Luhansk region, paves the way for the Russian army to advance further westward in the Donetsk region.

07/07/2022: Chisinau requests unilateral withdrawal of Tiraspol posts from the security zone. -Victor Martin-

On June 7, Moldova requested that Transnistria withdraw the border posts it unilaterally installed in the security zone. This security zone was established after the 1992 war and is located between Transnistria and Moldova. It is controlled by the Joint Control Commission, a tripartite commission composed of the two parties to the conflict and Russia.

At the Commission’s meeting on June 7, several reports from the Joint Military Command mentioned checkpoints unilaterally installed by Tiraspol in the security zone. Moldovan authorities called these actions “illegal and provocative” and demanded that Transnistria withdraw its soldiers immediately.

However, the Commission has not made a decision and will meet again next week.

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