War in the neighborhood: IPN update

Belarus in the footsteps of North Korea

Ukraine will break diplomatic relations with Belarus if its troops cross the border to support the Russian invasion.

“Belarus is an accomplice to the crime of aggression, no one questions this issue. We broke diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation immediately after the start of the full-scale attack. They will also be broken with Belarus if the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus cross the border of Ukraine,” Dmytro Kuleba, the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in an interview with Forbes.

Earlier, Ukraine ended diplomatic relations with the  Democratic People’s Republic of Korea after this recognized the so-called “independence” of the temporarily occupied territories Donetsk and Luhansk.

At odds with everyone on Earth

According to the KSE Institute, the sanctions imposed on Russia seriously affected the country’s oil sector. The failed incomes by the end of 2022 were estimated to total US$79 billion.

In May 2022, as against February 2022, Turkey increased Russian oil imports by 50%, China - by 25%, India - by 800%. At the same time, the BCEC countries in May 2022 almost fully renounced the Russian oil. The EU decreased purchases by 12%, while the U.S. and the UK together reduced the imported volumes by 89% on February 2022.

In 2023, oil production in Russia is projected to decline to 7.27 million barrels a day, which is by 3.1 million barrels a day less than at present or by 38% less than the current OPEC + quota.

No one knows what will happen next...

President Volodymyr Zelensky removed the head of Ukraine’s security services and its prosecutor general on Sunday, later announcing that hundreds of criminal investigations for suspected “treason and collaboration activities” were underway in the besieged country.

Ivan Bakanov, head of Ukraine’s security services, the SBU, and Iryna Venediktova, the country’s prosecutor general, were relieved of their posts Sunday in presidential decrees that announced the government’s biggest shake-up since Russia’s full-scale invasion began nearly five months ago.

Zelensky named two temporary replacements for the suspended pair on Monday: Vasyl Maliuk will lead the SBU and Ukraine’s deputy prosecutor general, Oleksii Symonenko, will head the Prosecutor's Office..

Ukrainians do not believe Russian army thinks about hungry Africans

Officials in Kyiv and Brussels are skeptical that efforts to free millions of tons of Ukrainian grain being blockaded by Russia will succeed, even as the U.N., which is sponsoring the deal, touts progress.

Germany’s Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir on Monday said believing Russian President Vladimir Putin's assurance is akin to believing in “Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.

“I don’t think that much will come of it because [it] is based on Putin’s word [which is] not worth the paper it’s written on,” Özdemir said in Brussels as he arrived for a meeting of the EU's agricultural ministers.

Kissinger also longed for single EU voice

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz supported the need for internal reforms in the European Union. He believes that the right of veto, which allows one state to block the decision of the entire EU, should be abolished.

He emphasized that this concerns decision-making in matters of foreign policy and security policy. Currently, the EU applies the principle of unanimity for the adoption of the most key decisions, in particular in the field of international relations, as well as the issue of sanctions.

“We simply can no longer afford a national veto, for example in foreign policy, if we want to continue to be heard in the world of competing great powers,”: said Olaf Scholz.

Russia has offered to lift its blockade of Ukrainian ports in exchange for the West lifting economic sanctions -- a proposal European leaders say amounts to blackmail. They’re discussing complex solutions to bring Ukrainian grain back to the world's markets – fast. Global wheat prices are skyrocketing, and there are fears that food insecurity could bring further unrest to countries that are already troubled.

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