The Ukraine Crisis; Situation Update #16
Foreign Policy Brief #158 | By: Ibrahim Sultan | November 24, 2022
Header photo taken from: Facebook
Follow us on our social media platforms above
Browse more foreign policy briefs from the top dashboard
Photo taken from: Inquam Photos
Deadly missile strikes in Ukraine have made headlines in recent days for the widespread destruction and chaos being generated through their use. Last week a missile strike killed two civilians in Poland’s eastern region near its border with Ukraine. The missiles were at first thought to have been fired by Russian forces, which would have indicated a Russian attack on a NATO member state. The situation created such panic that an emergency NATO roundtable was held on the sidelines of the G20 summit to address the attack.
However, it was later revealed that the missiles were in fact accidentally fired by Ukranian forces. Polish authorities believe that the strike was most likely caused by Ukrainian air defense attempting to intercept a missile fired by the Russian military. Though obviously tragic regardless of who fired the missiles, the knowledge that it was not Russian forces who attacked a NATO member provided relief for a global community fearing a major escalation in the war. In response to the attack Poland’s Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak announced that Poland would accept German patriot missile launchers near its eastern border to defend against possible further attacks.
The confusion over who was responsible for the missile strike in Polish territory stemmed from the fact that after their recent withdrawal from Kerson, Russian forces launched an intense wave of airstrikes on cities across Ukraine. The strikes created widespread blackouts and hit residential buildings in multiple cities including in the capital, Kyiv. The barrage targeted key cities from Lviv in the west to Kharkiv in the northeast, destroying infrastructure in what was one of the largest coordinated attacks of the war thus far.
The strikes have wreaked havoc on Ukraine’s power grid and will leave millions in the dark as winter has begins. The head of Ukraine’s national power grid operation has described the damage dealt to Ukrainian power infrastructure by Russian missile attacks as “colossal”.
Azerbaijan-Russian Gas Deal
A deal signed between Azerbaijan and the EU earlier this year was meant to help remove dependence on Russia for Europe’s energy needs and find alternatives to brace for the coming winter.
Now it seems that as a result of the deal Azerbijan has begun to import gas from Russia in order to meet its own domestic demand for energy. On November 18, Russian gas producer Gazprom announced that it had begun supplying gas to Azerbaijan’s state gas company SOCAR.
Azerbaijan is seeking to maintain supplies to its domestic gas customers while also meeting its export commitments to various countries such as Georgia, Turkey, and now its recently expanded trade with Europe. More gas was needed and the Azeri government turned to Russia to help fill the gap.
This clearly creates problems for the EU’s commitment to ween itself off of Russian energy.
Photo taken from: BP
If the EU’s purchase of gas from Azerbaijan is directly leading to the purchase of more gas from Russia, it creates major holes in the EU attempts to sanction and punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
The Makings of a Global Conflict
Photo taken from: Tasnim News Agency
As we have seen over the past few months, the war in Ukraine is not a self contained event without spill over into the rest of the global community. Different countries have taken different sides and approaches to the war. in some instances previous allies have aligned themselves into different camps, others have instead strengthened their ties and resolve. Still others have more solidly solidified their hostility towards perceived enemy nations. One stark example, the US has accused North Korea of secretly supplying Russia with artilery shells. US officials believe both North Korea and Iran have supplied Russia with weaponry needed to continue its invasion.
Meanwhile, the US announced this month that it intends to buy 100,000 rounds of artillery ammunition from South Korean arms manufacturers to provide to Ukraine. The arrangement allows South Korea to circumvent its pledge that it would not send lethal aid to Ukraine. There have already been increasing tensions on the Korean peninsula and it is worrisome that the two Koreas would provide weaponry to a war between two neighbors in Europe. On Tuesday at a World Cup match, Hungarian Prime minister Viktor Orban, wore a scarf depicting the old Hungarian imperial territory that existed before Austria-Hungary’s defeat in World War One.
The territory depicted on Orban’s revisionist map presented territory from Romania and Ukraine as within Hungary’s borders. Orban is one of Putin’s strongest allies in Europe and the only one in the EU. Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said Kyiv was summoning Hungary’s ambassador to express severe disapproval of the move.
Though the act itself was not violent, it sends a powerful message as to what this leader within the EU sees as his country’s rightful territory and even raises fear about alliances and the possibility of future land disputes rather than unity and peace. It shows that the war in Ukraine has had profound international effects in a number of sphere.