New Strategy Center publishes the May edition of our monthly newsletter, where we assess the most relevant information and events in or impacting the Black Sea and Balkan region.
Ukraine appears to be finalizing the preliminary steps of its counteroffensive, bombing military and critical infrastructure targets not only in Russian-occupied territories but also inside Russia. The first incursion into Russian territory has taken place in Belgorod by two paramilitary organizations made up of Russians fighting on Ukraine’s side. This month also saw Russia’s most intense drone strikes and air raids, particularly against Kyiv. Despite the escalation of the conflict, including Moscow’s placement of nuclear missiles in Belarus, Russia extended the grain export corridor agreement through Ukraine’s Black Sea ports for another 60 days.
In Russia, tensions between Wagner and the military are rising, and Moscow is heavily recruiting migrants, promising them faster acquisition of Russian citizenship. At the same time, authoritarian measures are increasing against Russian civilians and soldiers alike. On the economic front, Russia is becoming increasingly dependent on China, especially for exports of energy resources.
The Republic of Moldova continues its process of Europeanisation, despite tensions in the Gagauzia region, where the newly elected pro-Russian forces are proposing policies of rapprochement with Moscow and showing separatist tendencies. Romania has reaffirmed its intention to help the Republic of Moldova on its European path and to achieve energy independence from Moscow.
In the Balkan region, the Turkish presidential elections were in the spotlight. After opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu pushed the election into the second round, President Erdogan eventually won a new mandate. Parliamentary elections were held in Greece, where the ruling centre-right New Democracy party won. In local elections in Albania, the ruling party dominated most regions. Further incidents have been registered in the Serb-majority region of Kosovo, raising tensions between Serbia and Kosovo.
The monthly “2B Brief” aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the complicated context in the Black Sea and Balkan region, both for specialists and for anyone interested in the dynamics of events in the area.