May 2024

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May 2024

May 2024

The New Strategy Center publishes the May 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 military front, Russian attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure continue, causing substantial damage and putting pressure on key cities such as Kharkov and Sumi. More than 800 heating installations have been damaged by Russian strikes since the beginning of the invasion. On the front, Ukrainian forces are engaged in resistance, particularly in Vovceansk, near Kharkov. The restructuring of the government in Kyiv has led to the replacement of Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov by Vasyl Shkurakov. International military support for Ukraine has been strong, with contributions from several countries supporting defence efforts. Ukraine is preparing for a counteroffensive in 2025, backed by substantial US military aid. Meanwhile, the EU is stepping up sanctions against Russia, targeting political entities and imposing restrictions to counter Russian influence.

In Russia, Putin’s fifth term as president has begun, with changes in the government, most notably the replacement of Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu by Andrei Belousov as defence minister. Putin’s first international visit after his inauguration was to China, focusing on trade cooperation. Domestically, Russia has temporarily lifted a ban on gasoline exports due to market saturation and proposed a progressive personal income tax system. Despite government measures, inflation persists.

In the Republic of Moldova, pro-Western policies continue to bring benefits, with substantial promised US aid and the establishment of a security partnership with the EU. However, pro-Russian sentiments persist in Gagauzia, leading to tensions. Justice reforms in Moldova face challenges amid resignations and political maneuvering.

As China’s ties with Serbia and Hungary deepen, there are mixed developments in the Balkans, raising questions about foreign influence. From political tensions in Albania and cybersecurity concerns in Kosovo, to nationalist gains in elections in Northern Macedonia, these events have characterised the region’s dynamics.

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