February 2024

Home / Newsletter / February 2024

February 2024

February 2024

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

On the Ukrainian front, Russian forces took control of the Ukrainian town of Avdiivka after Ukrainian troops withdrew, Russia’s biggest victory since capturing the town of Bakhmut in May 2023. President Zelensky cited delays in ammunition deliveries from the West as a major factor in the loss of the town. While Ukrainian forces have managed to shoot down several Russian military aircraft, Russian Federation drone and missile attacks on Ukrainian cities continued, causing casualties, damage and power cuts. In the context of the assessment made two years after the start of the Russian invasion, Zelensky said that 31,000 Ukrainian servicemen had died on the front.

In February, Zelensky made significant changes in the military leadership, with the focus being on replacing General Valery Zaluzhny as commander-in-chief with General Colonel Oleksandr Sirsky.

International support has continued, with the EU pledging €50 billion by 2027, overcoming resistance from Hungary. However, pledges to deliver one million artillery shells by March 2024 could not be met. As a result, the Czech Republic is leading an initiative to buy ammunition from outside the EU, with countries such as Sweden, Canada and France pledging to contribute financially.

Protests by Polish farmers that led to the blocking of the border with Ukraine have intensified. Negotiations between Ukraine and Poland on a bilateral agreement to defuse the situation are still ongoing.

In Russia, the death of Alexei Navalny has had a significant impact, prompting controversy and accusations against the Kremlin. Sanctions imposed by the EU and the US have continued to show their effect, with problems reported in transactions between Russian banks and some Chinese and Turkish banks.

In the Republic of Moldova, tensions have increased with Transnistria. The congress convened in Tiraspol decided to turn to the Russian parliament and the international community for help and protection, a decision that was initiated after companies were asked to pay customs duties on imports to the Moldovan budget instead of the local budget.

 In the Balkans, Serbia has faced political turmoil, opposition protests and challenges to the legitimacy of the December elections. Prime Minister Ana Brnabić has rejected calls for an international investigation, and tensions over relations with Kosovo remain.

See full PDF version here.