August 2023

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August 2023

August 2023

New Strategy Center publishes the August edition of our monthly newsletter, where we assess the most relevant information and events in or impacting the Black Sea and Balkan region.

The death of Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin in a plane crash has led to much speculation about the Kremlin’s direct involvement in the incident. Russian troops continued their repressive actions against the population of the occupied areas, including raids and forced mobilisations. Economically, Russia is exporting more and more oil to India, but faces a depreciating ruble.

On the front, Russia bombed two Ukrainian ports on the Danube, Ismail and Reni, destroying considerable quantities of grain and damaging port infrastructure. Ukraine made significant advances in the Zaporizhzhya and Kherson regions. Meanwhile, a US-backed training programme for Ukrainian pilots on F-16s is underway.

This month was also marked by the BRICS summit in Johannesburg. At the conference, anti-Western narratives were emphasized, with the group proposing to reduce the power of the US dollar on the world market and reform international organizations to give expanded powers to developing countries. The BRICS also announced the acceptance of six new members: Argentina, Ethiopia, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Egypt.

In the Balkans, discussions on Ukrainian grain corridors and reconstruction took place at the Ukraine-Balkans Summit. Relations between Serbia and Ukraine appear to have improved following a meeting between the two presidents. Belgrade continues to take an aggressive stance towards its neighbors in Kosovo. Meanwhile, Austria continues to oppose the Schengen accession of Romania and Bulgaria. There is also a reference to the financial support that Hungarian President Viktor Orban is giving to pro-Russian Republika Srpska leader Milorad Dodik.

In the Republic of Moldova, the intelligence services in Chisinau have officially suspended their cooperation with the Russian ones, while the separatist tendencies and pro-Russian positions of the Gagauz authorities continue. The Republic of Moldova continues to display its support for Ukraine on the joint development of transport infrastructure and European integration.

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