MAIN TAKEAWAY OF THE MONTH
The withdrawal of Russian forces from northern Ukraine has uncovered evidence of crimes committed in places such as Bucha, causing an international outcry and a determined call for an investigation. Russia has regrouped and is now focusing its efforts in the eastern region of Donbas, attempting to surround Ukraine’s forces and seize control of the strategic port city of Mariupol. Aside from the refugee issue, regional tensions are building as a result of a series of explosions in Transnistria, the breakaway region of the Republic of Moldova, which has sparked worries of a possible spillover of the conflict. Tensions in the energy sector have been exacerbated by Russia’s decision to suspend gas deliveries to Bulgaria and Poland, a move that Europe has labeled as “blackmail” and has caused nations to seek alternative supply sources. The Balkans remain split in their approach to the Ukraine situation, with pro-Russia rallies erupting in Serbia after the government’s decision to distance itself from Moscow. Meanwhile, the Balkan states’ European future remains unclear, as Bulgaria continues to block North Macedonia’s accession.