January 01-11, 2023 | Issue 1 - EUCOM
Andreea Troneci, Martina Sclaverano, Lucy Game
Argyrios Chatziilias, Editor; Shachi Gokhale, Senior Editor
Donetsk Region, Ukraine
Date: January 1, 2023
Location: Makiivka, Donetsk Region, Ukraine
Parties involved: Ukrainian forces; Ukrainian representatives; Ukraine; Russian soldiers; Russian Defence Ministry; Russia; USA; NATO members
The event: Ukrainian forces fired six rockets at a building where Russian soldiers were storing ammunition. The attack was among the deadliest ones since the beginning of the war in February 2022. Ukrainian representatives claim the attack killed approximately 400 Russians, while the Russian Defence Ministry says there were fewer than 100 victims. Ukrainian forces used a HIMARS launch system provided by the US to carry out the attack.
Analysis & Implications:
Russian troops in Ukraine will likely be unable to entirely deter and intercept similar Ukrainian attacks. The military aid provided by the US will likely strengthen Ukrainian capabilities to conduct high-precision missile attacks on Russian-controlled territories. The US and other NATO members will very likely intensify air military support to overwhelm Russian capabilities in the short term. To counter these efforts, Russia will likely try to buy either heavy offensive weapons or more sophisticated defensive systems from allies like Iran and North Korea.
Russia will very likely intensify its attacks in the following days in response to this event as a form of retaliation, continuing to target critical infrastructure. This will almost certainly cause more casualties among civilians who will very likely have to flee their homes and look for shelter in neighboring countries like Poland or Romania, likely deepening the refugee crisis in Europe. Countries like the USA and European countries will very likely continue to sanction Russia against the backdrop of an expanding humanitarian crisis. These sanctions will very likely affect the Russian economy throughout the year, likely prompting Russia to strengthen its relationship with other countries that deal with sanctions from Western nations, such as Iran or North Korea.
Date: January 6, 2023
Location: Shterpce, Kosovo
Parties involved: Kosovo police; Kosovo Security Force; Kosovar government; Kosovars; Kosovo; Serbs; Serbian far-right groups; People’s Patrol; Serbia
The event: Kosovo police arrested an off-duty Kosovar soldier on suspicion of shooting two Serbs aged 21 and 11. Local Serbs protested the attack by blocking the road that connects Shterpce with the rest of the country.
Analysis & Implications:
Serbs living in Kosovo will likely lose trust in the Kosovo police and military. Serbs' reluctance to cooperate with Kosovar security officials will very likely increase during daily interactions like traffic stops. Kosovar security forces’ authority in Serb-dominated areas will very likely decrease, encouraging acts of aggression or criminality against Kosovar security forces.
The Serbian community will likely perceive the shooting of Serbs as arbitrary and ethnically motivated. Serbian far-right groups such as People’s Patrol will likely exploit the incident, increasing Serbian-Kosovar tensions to boost their support and undermine Kosovar security services. The shooting will almost certainly increase ethnic tensions, however, it is unlikely that the shooting alone will be the sole cause of widespread unrest between Kosovars and Serbs. The Kosovar government and police will very likely expand their internal scrutiny and auditing process to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future and avoid rising ethnic tensions.
Date: January 8, 2023
Location: Castrop-Rauxel, Germany
Parties involved: German police; German citizens; German government; German intelligence community; two Iranian citizens; US police authorities; far-right groups; far-right group Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamicisation of the Occident (PEGIDA); Germany
The event: German police arrested an Iranian citizen and his brother on suspicion of planning an Islamist-motivated attack. The authorities received a tip-off from the US police authorities, according to which the Iranian citizen procured cyanide and ricin for an attack. German police searched the suspect's residence garages and seized electronic storage devices, without finding cyanide or ricin. The two Iranian citizens are in custody while the German police continue their investigation. The younger brother has already been sentenced for attempted murder in 2019.
Analysis & Implications:
The incident will very likely attract stigmatization of Iranian citizens, likely increasing the levels of racism and hate crimes in Germany. This will likely motivate German citizens to protest against the German government’s immigration laws, which will likely fuel far-right groups like PEGIDA to commit more hate crimes against the Muslim community. There is a roughly even chance the German government will have to hold a public meeting to reduce the developing public unrest and the anti-immigration public sentiment. The German government will likely need to hold a press release to offer additional information that will likely prevent far-right groups from capitalizing on this event to gather more supporters.
German authorities will very likely compensate for the lack of evidence by investigating the suspects’ online activity, likely emboldening the German intelligence community to argue for loosening online intelligence-gathering restrictions. German police will almost certainly continue holding the two suspects in custody due to the intelligence tip-off and the younger suspect’s criminal record, very likely to examine their motive and plan. Iran will likely leverage the absence of hard evidence by framing the arrest as arbitrary and unjustified, almost certainly worsening German-Iran relations. Iran will very likely use this to deflect attention from its domestic issues with arbitrary arrest.
 Ukraine claims up to 400 Russian troops dead in barracks strike, Sky News, January 2023, https://news.sky.com/story/ukraine-claims-up-to-400-russian-troops-dead-in-barracks-strike-12778467
 Off-duty Kosovo soldier suspected of wounding two local Serbs, Reuters, January 2023, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/off-duty-kosovo-soldier-suspected-wounding-two-local-serbs-2023-01-06/
 Germany: No toxins found in anti-terror garage searches, Deutsche Welle, January 2023, https://www.dw.com/en/germany-no-toxins-found-in-anti-terror-garage-searches/a-64325291