Introduction & Updates in National Landscape
The war in Ukraine is now in its eleventh month. As of 12 December, Russia had destroyed half of the country’s energy infrastructure, the UN said. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Zelensky left Ukraine for the first time since the start of the EUSA to make an official visit to the USA. Zelenskyy met President Biden at the White House and also delivered a speech to Congress.
Against this backdrop, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Belarus on 19 December, where he met president Alexander Lukashenko. Following Putin’s first visit to Minsk in three years, where he was accompanied by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and talks with Lukashenka, Belarusian authorities banned civilians in the border area of the Gomel region, which directly borders on Ukraine. Simultaneously with the imposition of the ban, the transfer of Russian military equipment to the areas that border the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions of Ukraine began. Additionally, on 21 December, information came from Belarus according to which fighters of the Liga PMC (part of the Wagner PMC) arrived at the border with Ukraine. It is believed that the Russian side seeks in this way to divert resources of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in order to strengthen its own offensive in Donbas, which remains a priority for now.
Putin made his traditional New Year’s address unexpectedly from the headquarters of the Southern Military District. He made his longest New Year’s Eve address ever in power. He accused the West of lying and using Ukraine to divide Russia.
On 20 December, the deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, visited China, where he met Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Also, it’s important to mention that on 8 December 2022, the US and Russia held a prisoner swap, exchanging Brittney Greiner, a US Women’s National Basketball Association player and Olympic athlete for the US national team, who earlier that year had been convicted in Russia of cannabis possession and sentenced to nine years in prison, for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer.
Transnational Activities & Group Interactions
On 18 December, Serbian nationalists from Serbia, Montenegro, and Republika Srpska gathered at the Serbian-Kosovo border crossing in Jarinje for a rally, including supporters of the Russian Movement “RUSOV”. They were protesting and expressed their support for the Serbs living in Kosovo. During the event, there was a clash with the Serbian police, who prevented the protesters from moving closer to the checkpoint.
Russian neo-Nazi Denis Whiterex Kapustin (Nikitin) was interviewed by nationalist journalist Oleg Kashin. Kapustin admitted that he is the head of the Russian Volunteer Corps unit, which included other Russian neo-Nazis who defected to the side of Ukraine.
Serbian nationalists from the Serbian Action translated and published a statement from the Russian Imperial Movement in defense of arrested German nationalists from the Reichsbürger movement who were planning to stage a coup d’état.
UN: Half of Ukraine’s Energy Infrastructure Destroyed by Russian Attacks
Putin flew Lukashenko to Minsk for the first time in three years. Why?
New Year’s address to the citizens of Russia http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/70315/videos
Medvedev flies to China with a letter to Xi Jinping from Putin
Brittney Griner: Russia frees US basketball star in a swap with arms dealer Viktor Bout
RUSOV post https://vk.com/wall-49804789_53098
Serbian Action Telegram post https://t.me/srbska_akcija/1056