MAIN TAKEAWAY OF THE MONTH
In the midst of a tumultuous month, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a controversial partial military mobilization, prompting protests and attempts by Russians to flee the country. The Kremlin has formally announced the annexation of Kherson, Luhansk, Dontesk, and Zaporizhzhia, following so-called referendums in Ukraine’s occupied territories. In response to this move, Ukraine has declared its formal application to the NATO Alliance on September 30th. Meanwhile, four leaks on the Nord Stream pipelines have been identified in the Baltic Sea, causing international outrage and accusations of sabotage, fueling fears of infrastructure attacks and a new stage of a hybrid war just ahead of the winter season. Bosnia & Herzegovina and Bulgaria both headed for elections on October 2nd, while Albania, Kosovo, and Montenegro have all been faced with an increased risk of cyberattacks.