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Scholz Helping Western Balkans in Campaign for EU Membership and Mariupol Risk for Cholera Outbreak

June 9-15, 2022 | Issue 11 - EUCOM

Benjamin Brooks, Martyna Dobrowolska, Pètra van de Gevel, EUCOM Team

Justin Maurina, Editor; Jennifer Loy, Chief of Staff



Western Balkans[1]



Date: June 10, 2022

Location: Pristina, Kosovo

Parties involved: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz; German government; EU countries; EU law enforcement; Western Balkans; Russian government

The event: Scholz announced that his government would help the Western Balkans in its campaign for EU membership. He stated that joining the EU would allow the Western Balkans to mitigate the internal regional tensions and Russian influence.[2]

Analysis & Implications:

  • EU Member States that border Ukraine will very likely criticize the German government for prioritizing the Western Balkans’ campaign over the current war in Ukraine, very likely increasing political tensions between Germany and other EU countries. This will very likely hinder the Western Balkans’ EU membership process, likely causing dissatisfaction toward the EU. This will likely decrease EU efforts to stabilize the Western Balkans region, likely halting the EU's enlargement initiative.

  • In response to Scholz’s statement, the Russian government will almost certainly attempt to increase its influence in the Western Balkans to stop them becoming EU members. The Russian government will likely use disinformation and cyberwarfare tactics to spread nationalist and anti-Western narratives in the region, likely weakening the current diplomatic and economic relationship between the Western Balkans and the EU. Increased Russian cyber presence in the Western Balkans will very likely hinder EU law enforcement from tracking and preventing the spread of Russian disinformation in the region, likely undermining European efforts to bring stability to the Western Balkans and likely decreasing their opportunity to join the EU.


Date: June 10, 2022

Location: UK

Parties involved: Mariupol citizens; sick, young, and elderly population of Mariupol; Mariupol government; Ukrainian forces; UK Defense Ministry; Russian military

The event: The UK Defense Ministry has warned that Mariupol is at risk of a major cholera outbreak. Repeat bombings from Russia have destroyed most of the city’s critical infrastructure, causing water to mix with sewage. Isolated cases of cholera have already been reported.[3]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The government of Mariupol will very likely be unable to treat a cholera outbreak, as numerous medical facilities were destroyed and very likely need long-term construction plans to become operational again. Ukrainian forces are very unlikely to provide the necessary aid to Mariupol citizens as it is under Russian control, very likely causing Ukrainian troop casualties if a confrontation with Russian forces occurs. A cholera outbreak in Mariupol will almost certainly cause a spike in civilian deaths, as the disease will almost certainly spread quickly through Mariupol’s water systems due to the city’s infrastructure damage.

  • The Russian forces in Mariupol will very likely be unable to repair the infrastructure and handle the cholera outbreak and will likely keep all uncontaminated water for their troops. This will very likely increase the number of citizens fleeing Mariupol searching for clean water, likely resulting in a new refugee influx. The cities closest to Mariupol, such as Donetsk, will very likely experience a new wave of refugees, likely causing difficulties providing shelter to Ukrainian citizens as the number of refugees grows.

________________________________________________________________________ The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)

[1]Western Balkans countries” by Marko7 licensed under Creative Commons

[2] Scholz backs giving chance to Western Balkans on EU membership, Al Jazeera, June 2022, https://www.aljazeera.com/amp/news/2022/6/10/scholz-backs-giving-chance-to-western-balkans-on-eu-membership

[3] Cholera in Mariupol: Ruined city at risk of major cholera outbreak - UK, BBC News, June 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-61762787.amp

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