Press "Enter" to skip to content

Weekly Newsbriefing #2

Ukraine

On Monday, two top officials, secretary of state Antony Blinken and defence secretary Lloyd J. Austin, went to Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.

Then, on Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres embarked on his trip to Moscow for talks and then finally visited war-torn Ukraine. During his visit to Kyiv, Guterres was a witness to airstrikes that were carried out by Russia.  

In response to Europe’s sanctions on Russia and its arms support to Ukraine, Russia stopped gas shipments to Poland and Bulgaria, possibly leading to a gas crisis in Europe.  However, Russia argued that the reason to halt gas supplies to these two countries was their unwillingness to pay in rubles – despite the fact that the contracts state that payments are to be made in either euros or dollars. 

The countries that have been subject to Russian gas cuts will now receive gas supplies from other EU member states to compensate for the losses. 

Stay up to Date – Subscribe to our newsletter.

Russia

Two months into Russia’s war in Ukraine, the European Commission is preparing the sixth package of sanctions on Russia, and EU leaders are now finally preparing an embargo on Russian oil. 

A final decision on the embargo is yet to be made. However, it is expected that there will be opposing voices within the EU. Mostly, Germany and Hungary have been critical of banning Russian oil, given that this would seriously harm their economies.

Amidst increased weapons deliveries from the west to Ukraine, the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov accused NATO of engaging in a “proxy war” and emphasised once again that the threat of the war escalating into a nuclear conflict should not be underestimated. 

Twitter

On Monday, April 25, Elon Musk struck a deal to take over Twitter for roughly $44 billion, almost two weeks after Musk made a bid to buy the social media platform. The company first adopted a so-called “poison bill”, being alarmed by the proposal and wanting to prevent Elon Musk from taking over the platform. And yet, roughly ten days later, the company’s board decided to take thMusk’s offer and sell Twitter. 

Assumptions on how the platform could change emerged after the deal was set, referring to some cues Elon Musk has given previously. For example, Musk has been very vocal about “free speech” and critical of the company’s content and moderation policies. It is thus likely that he seeks to implement some changes in this area. Moreover, it is possible that he will bring back people that have previously been banned from the platform.  

In other News

Hungary: On Wednesday, April 27, the European Commission took a historic step and finally triggered the Rule of Law Mechanism against Hungary, which could result in the country losing its access to EU funds. You can read our take on it here.

Moldova: On Monday and Tuesday, several explosions struck Transnistria, the breakaway region in Moldova that is allied with and dependent on Russia, raising fears of Moldova being dragged into this conflict. Current investigations by Moldovan authorities suggest Russian involvement in the explosions. The event also heightened concerns that Russia would open up a new front to attack Ukraine.

Beijing: Further lockdowns are imposed in Beijing amid a surge of Coronavirus infections, just as  Covid measures in Shanghai begin to ease. 

That’s it for this week! Thank you for reading, and we hope you enjoyed this newsletter. If you would like to support this briefing, you can do so here.

What does the US withdrawal from Afghanistan mean for NATO?

By pulling out of Afghanistan, Joe Biden has put an end to 20 years of U.S. troop involvement in Afghanistan and thus to Washington's "forever war" in the mountainous, landlocked country. This strategic decision leaves the democratically elected government in Kabul struggling to hold on to power. The withdrawal of US and NATO troops is therefore likely to fuel an assortment of security and geostrategic consequences contrary to Euro-Atlantic interests.

The Spreading Tentacles of Chinese Economic Diplomacy: Ethnic Conflict in Indonesia and Pakistan

In 2014, China’s GDP based on purchasing power parity has overtaken that of the United States. Though the US is still regarded as the world’s major economy, trends are shifting away from the narrative of a post-Cold War hegemony of liberal democracies. In light of such circumstances, this analysis assesses how Chinese development finance and investment in the Global South is shaping both, current geopolitics and the internal structure of Pakistan and Indonesia.

Fidesz’ continuous assault on the Hungarian LGBT+ Community and the recent Szájer affair

Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party has been long known for its tough stance on LGBTQI issues, its discrimination against same-sex couples and its ridiculous position on “traditional family values”. The recent Szájer affair further exposes the ruling party's hypocrisy, as it continues waging a war against the LGBTQI community. If there is one thing for sure, it is that Fidesz never learns.

Viktor Orbán at CPAC: Why Republicans admire the Hungarian strongman

On August 1st, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán travelled to the United States to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, Texas. Despite the recent outrage due to his racist remarks during a speech in Romania just the week before, Orbán’s invitation to speak at the conservative conference was not cancelled. Before the start of CPAC, Orbán even met Trump, who called him his “friend” and acknowledged Orbán’s expertise in world affairs. But where does this admiration for Orbán, the leader of a small eastern European country, come from?

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.