The Eastern Europe Weekly Geopolitical Watch: Matisse Grenier, Olga Chekhurska, Elisabeth Nagy.
10/08/2022 : Belgrade and Pristina confirm the existence of a German-French proposal for an agreement on Kosovo, without mentioning the same content. – Matisse Grenier –
According to local media (Balkaninsight), Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic confirmed on Saturday October 8, 2022 the existence of a German-French proposal for an agreement on Kosovo.
Aleksandar Vucic revealed that the proposed agreement provides for Kosovo’s entry into the UN, without opposition from Belgrade, in exchange for financial support and integration into the European Union. However, he said that it was unacceptable for Kosovo to join the UN as this would be contrary to the Serbian constitution, which still considers Kosovo to be its province.
Shortly afterwards, Kosovo’s Foreign Minister Donika Gervalla also confirmed the proposal, saying that the path mentioned by Aleksandar Vucic was not the objective of the text, which was in fact a “basis for discussion“.
10/09/2022 : The opposition in the Bosnian Serb Republic organises a new demonstration against “electoral fraud”. – Matisse Grenier –
According to local media (Balkaninsight), more than 10,000 people demonstrated on Sunday 9 October 2022 for the second time in the streets of Banja Luka, the capital of the Serbian entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the call of the opposition parties.
The demonstrators protested against the election of Milorad Dodik on October 2, 2022 as President of the Bosnian Serb Republic, which was considered fraudulent by some of the population.
Milorad Dodik has already held this position for two consecutive terms between 2010 and 2018, before becoming the Serb member of the presidential college of Bosnia and Herzegovina alongside his Croat and Bosnian counterparts. He is sanctioned by Washington for his secessionist ambitions, although he remains very influential among Bosnian Serbs.
The main opposition candidate, Jelena Trivic, called on Sunday night at the rally for “a recount of the votes in all polling stations” in the Bosnian Serb Republic.
10/10/2022: The Russian bombings in the many Ukrainian cities took place on October 10. -Olga Chekhurska-
On the morning of October 10, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said that around 9 a.m. several explosions in Kyiv and the Kyiv region took place. City authorities halted subway traffic to use the stations as bomb shelters.
Lviv, Kharkiv, Odessa, Dnipro, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil, Khmelnitsky, Konotop, Rivne and Poltava regions were also hit by missiles. Later, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reported attacks on energy infrastructure in Kyiv, Rivne, Khmelnitsky, Ternopil, Konotop, Zhitomir, Lviv and Kharkiv. According to the Lviv City Council, about 90% of the city was without electricity. Trams and trolleybuses were not running, more than 80% of traffic lights were no longer working. Regulators were working at large intersections.
According to Ukrainian authorities, 83 missiles were fired by Russian forces on October 10, of which about half were intercepted. 11 important infrastructures had been damaged in eight regions and in the capital.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Emergency Situations announced that five Ukrainian regions had no electricity supply as a result of the shelling. Just as it has announced that it will stop its electricity exports to Europe due to power cuts affecting many regions.
The Russian Ministry of Defense has officially confirmed the October 10, missile strikes on Ukraine. On October 11, the Russian Defense Ministry said that the Russian Armed Forces continued a massive strike with high-precision long-range air and sea weapons against the military command and energy facilities in Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin also confirmed the massive strikes carried out “against Ukraine’s energy, military and communication infrastructure at the proposal of the Ministry of Defence and in accordance with the plan of the General Staff“. He also claimed the attack was a response to Ukrainian actions, particularly the attack on the Crimean Bridge on October 8, which he blamed on Ukrainian security services.
Russia continued on October 11, to strike with cruise missiles and drones in various parts of Ukraine, but the second day of attacks was not as intense as the first.
10/11/2022: The emergency G7 meeting on Ukraine took place on October 11. -Olga Chekhurska-
After the Russian bombings on Ukrainian cities on October 10, the members of the G7 met by videoconference on Tuesday October 11, with the presence of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) have condemned these “attacks in the strongest possible terms” and have recalled that “indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilian populations constitute a war crime”. The recent annexations of the regions of Lugansk, Zaporizhia, Kherson and Donetsk by Russia will never be recognized by the members of the G7. They call on “all countries to unequivocally oppose these violations of international law” and urge Russia to “withdraw from Ukraine“.
G7 leaders pledge to continue to provide Ukraine with “financial, humanitarian, military, diplomatic and legal support […] for as long as necessary” and announce that new economic sanctions will be put in place against Russia.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on G7 leaders to provide Kyiv with modern air defence systems as soon as possible. “It is important that we have a sufficient number of missiles for air defence and missile defence and that they are integrated into our defence systems. The air shield for Ukraine is part of our formula for peace,” the Ukrainian President said. He also approached French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi with a request for the supply of SAMP-T anti-aircraft missile systems.
10/13/2022: European Commission blocks Russian oil imports to Serbia via Croatia. – Elisabeth Nagy –
On October 12, 2022, the European Commission issued a report on enlargement in which the case of Serbia’s application to join the EU was discussed. As a candidate for EU membership since 2011, Serbia needs to make further efforts and commitments to the EU strategy in order to align itself with its values and implement them.
Indeed, Serbia has not aligned itself with EU sanctions against Russia, which has undermined its progress towards accession.
Serbia has good relations with Russia both culturally and historically, and wished to adopt a position of neutrality towards Russia in the wake of the war in Ukraine. However, this neutrality is being challenged by the EU because the country is almost entirely dependent on Russian gas and continues to receive it.
Thus, the European Commission adopted sanctions against Serbia, blocking the Croatian port terminal of Omisalj, on the island of Krk, through which Russian oil was transported to Serbia via the Adriatic Janaf pipeline.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic was quick to respond. He accused Croatia of being the main culprit behind the blockage, comparing it to the pro-Nazi Croatian state during the Second World War: “Croatia has just done what it has been doing since 1941″.
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic also reacted by saying it was an “enemy act”, to which the Croatian Prime Minister replied: “Belgrade, which claims to want to join the European Union, cannot refuse EU sanctions against Russia while benefiting from cheaper Russian oil distributed through European ports and pipelines. We are not useful idiots.”
Since the war in Ukraine, the oil company NIS has benefited from the fall in Russian oil prices by increasing its supplies by 60%, whereas before the war in Ukraine they accounted for only 16%, with 47% coming from Iraq.
On October 8, Aleksandar Vucic finally declared that Russian oil would be replaced by Iraqi oil in order to continue to pass through the Croatian port terminal.