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Security Brief: EUCOM Week of December 27, 2021

Week of Monday, December 27, 2021 | Issue 57

Pètra van de Gevel, Iris Raith, Austin Straniere, EUCOM Team

Demetrios Giannakaris, Clea Guastavino, Senior Editors


Sicilian Port of Pozzallo, Italy[1]


Date: December 28, 2021

Location: Kosovo

Parties involved: Government of Kosovo; Kosovo Energy Distribution Systems (KEDS); Kosovo citizens; Business owners; European countries

The event: Low domestic power production in Kosovo due to technical faults and cold weather knocking out production at power plants from Kosovo Energy Distribution Systems (KEDS) is forcing Kosovo to import energy from other countries as its energy crisis escalates. The government of Kosovo declared a state of emergency to allocate more money to energy imports and introduced power cuts as the price of imported energy rose from 70 to 515 Euros per megawatt-hour (MWh). Kosovo citizens have purchased generators to provide power to their homes and businesses but are struggling to pay for the gas and Diesel as demand is surging.[2]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Kosovo citizens will likely experience adverse effects due to the lack of electricity such as reduced access to clean water and food, insufficient lighting, and inadequate healthcare as clinics will not be able to store medicines appropriately. Citizens will very likely not have suitable heating and will likely lack proper nutrition as refrigerators will likely not be functioning correctly.

  • Kosovo citizens will likely experience a decrease in income as many jobs will likely have reduced working hours due to businesses being unable to operate normally without electricity. Citizens will almost certainly experience surge pricing of gasoline as it is necessary to power their homes and businesses via generators. Decreased economic stability is likely to increase homelessness, unemployment, and job insecurity.

  • Kosovo citizens will likely become frustrated with their government as they will likely feel that it is not able to provide basic necessities. Frustrated citizens experiencing economic instability will likely protest the increasing energy prices, likely resulting in political instability and civil unrest.

Date: December 28, 2021

Location: Russia

Parties involved: Russian government; Russian Supreme Court; Memorial International; Non-governmental organizations (NGOs); Russian civil society; The Prosecutor General’s Office; The Memorial Human Rights Centre; Russian law enforcement; Political prisoners; The Russian Research Centre for Human Rights

The event: The Russian Supreme Court ordered the closure of the country’s oldest and most prominent human rights group, Memorial International, after the Prosecutor General’s Office tried to revoke the group’s legal status in November 2021. The decision comes after increased pressure on human rights groups, media outlets, and NGOs by the Russian government. Memorial International was founded to document political repression during the Soviet era and strives to promote the truth about the Russian totalitarian regimes through school programs, but it is also seen as critical of the current Russian government and has broad public support. The group’s sister organization, The Memorial Human Rights Centre, also risks being closed.[3]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The Russian government will very likely continue to close human rights organizations, media outlets, and NGOs to minimize the ability of these platforms to criticize the government. It is likely the Russian government will try to close the Russian Research Centre for Human Rights as it almost certainly plays a key role in supporting other human rights organizations in Russia. Such developments will very likely have a negative effect on Russian civil society as it will almost certainly become harder to address human rights violations and political repression in Russia.

  • The decision to close Memorial International will very likely spark public outrage and protests. Russian law enforcement is likely to respond to protests with force and arrests. Protests will likely further incite political unrest in Russia, likely resulting in future clashes between Russian security forces and protesters.

Date: December 31, 2021

Location: Sicily, Italy

Parties involved: Charity vessel Sea Watch 3; Italian government; Sea Watch charity organization; African refugees; Italian society; African and Middle Eastern countries; European citizens; Asylum seekers

The event: The German charity organization Sea Watch announced it was planning to dock its vessel Sea Watch 3 in the Sicilian port of Pozzallo. It hosts 440 refugees on board, primarily from African countries, including 200 minors. The ship sought a European port in the Mediterranean to dock to ensure the refugees disembarked safely. Italy has already allowed another boat carrying refugees to arrive and disembark at another Sicilian port, Augusta, on Tuesday, 28 December, 2021.[4] Countries that regularly face an influx of refugees from African and Middle-Eastern States include Greece, France, and Spain.[5]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The arrival of a second ship within one week carrying refugees is very likely to spark outrage within Italian society. This is likely to reinforce anti-refugee sentiments throughout Italy but also other affected European countries. Due to the current financial burden of the COVID-19 pandemic, European citizens will very likely perceive incoming asylum seekers as an additional economic burden on their governments, likely resulting in political unrest and violence against refugees.

  • Permission to dock at Italian ports is very likely to increase the arrival of refugee ships in Italy in the next months. If this trend continues, routes to Italian ports will very likely be preferred to other common Mediterranean paths that lead to Spain and Greece from African and Middle-Eastern countries.

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[1] ‘’Porto di Pozzallo, Ragusa, Sicilia, Italia’’ by L'Ibleo licensed under Public Domain

[2] Residents fire up generators as Kosovo energy crisis escalates, Reuters, December 2021, https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/residents-fire-up-generators-kosovo-energy-crisis-escalates-2021-12-28/

[3] Russian court orders closure of country’s oldest human rights group, The Guardian, December 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/dec/28/russian-court-memorial-human-rights-group-closure

[4] Charity boat with 440 migrants to dock in Italy, Reuters, December 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/charity-boat-with-440-migrants-dock-italy-2021-12-31/

[5] Migration and asylum, European Parliament, March 2019, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/infographics/migration/public/index.html?page=intro

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