The director of the Institute of International Relations in Rome, Nataliya Tochi, wrote an essay on Foreign Affairs in which she ponders how long Europe will be able to maintain unity with regard to Ukraine. Tochi notes both the speed with which the EU managed to agree on sanctions against the Russian Federation and support for Ukraine, which is uncharacteristic of Brussels, and the threats to European unity. According to the author, the greatest danger is not the lack of progress on the part of Ukraine, but the transition of the conflict into a frozen stage, which will allow the Kremlin to create an "illusion of peace" for Europe. Tochi notes the surge of populism in European politics as a hint of what will happen next. Populist and nationalist parties in Italy and France, for example, loudly claim that sanctions against the Russian Federation have caused inflation and destroyed jobs. Populists, the author writes, use the Kremlinʼs textbook of lies: they say they want peace, but in reality they are ready to sacrifice Ukraine. In addition to the rise of populism, the risk for EU unity is the division between the continentʼs east and west, as well as north and south. These divisions are caused by the proximity to military operations and the impact of the energy crisis on individual EU countries. The leader of the Russian Federation is convinced that these challenges will be able to break European unity, because, in his opinion, liberal democracies are weak and unstable. An important factor that will influence the development of events will be, in fact, events at the front. Moscowʼs atrocities will be able to keep Europe on a common path, but if Putin changes tactics - reduces the number of missile strikes, takes a break to rest and regroup - then some EU countries will be tempted to seek reconciliation with the Russian Federation. This time will be the most critical test of European values and unity, Tochi believes.
The Washington Post writes about the impact of the war in Ukraine on the escalation of the situation in Kosovo. The publication describes the context of events in Kosovo, where the majority of the population is of Albanian ethnicity, but there are about one hundred thousand Serbs. In August, Kosovo began to demand that the number plates on Serbian cars be changed to Kosovo ones - in response to the same rule in Serbia. After protests erupted, the rule was suspended pending EU-brokered talks. At the same time, Russia does not recognize the independence of Kosovo and supports the position of Serbia. Although this does not prevent Putin from drawing analogies with the so-called peopleʼs republics in Ukraine and accusing the West of hypocrisy: they say, why does it recognize Kosovo, and the "LNR" does not. At the same time, both sides - both Kosovo and Serbia - are using the situation in Ukraine to strengthen their rhetoric. The prime minister of Kosovo, the newspaper writes, accused Serbia of serving the interests of the Russian Federation, and the president of Serbia said that Kosovo is using anxiety about the war in Ukraine to its advantage.
The war between Ukraine and Russia is also taking place on the chessboard: Ukrainian grandmaster Andriy Baryshpolets is running for the position of president of the FIDE International Chess Federation, which has been under the control of the Russians for 30 years, writes the Financial Times. Currently, the federation is headed by the former Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Arkady Dvorkovich, which, according to Baryshpolets, is unacceptable against the background of Russiaʼs full-scale invasion of Ukraine. FIDEʼs ties to the Kremlin create moral, practical and reputational problems for the federation, says the Ukrainian grandmaster. In his opinion, the Kremlin has been using the federation for years to whiten its reputation. Although the election campaign of Baryshpolets is low-budget and takes place mainly through zoom calls, he is full of optimism. "Itʼs a choice between the past and the future," says the chess player.