Dionis Cenusa Profile picture
Political Risk Analyst, Visiting Fellow @EESC_LT🇱🇹. Associated: @Expert_Grup & @3dcftas_CEPS🇪🇺Sanctions/energy/resilience/EU-Post-Soviet States-Russia-China
May 18 12 tweets 4 min read
#Moldova: I have read some recent comments about the situation in Moldova in the light of the Russian aggression against Ukraine. I will underline some common fallacies, which are detrimental to understanding the true roots of the problems in Moldova:⤵️ 1) There are two issues where Russia has a say and can push the buttons to worsen the situation, if necessary - energy and the Transnistrian conflict. 2) Energy dependence of Moldova on Russian is mainly on gas. Now, this issue depends on the global market and⤵️
May 18 5 tweets 2 min read
#Russia_Ukraine: Russia's defense spending exceeded $9 billion a month in April, or about $300 million a day (twice as much as before the attack on Ukraine). This is almost half of the amount that Ukraine needs to resist aggression and other implications of the war.⤵️ In April, Zelenskiy admitted that Ukraine needs monthly aid of up to 7 billion dollars to overcome the losses caused by the Russian war. While Ukraine demands Western help, Russia is maximizing its budget surpluses due to high oil and gas prices.
May 16 5 tweets 1 min read
#Russia_Sanctions: Today's FAC meeting did not bring the sixth energy package to fruition. Borrel has been quite dissatisfied when responding to journalists. He underlined the following: 1) Serbia is the only candidate state in the Western Balkans that does not align ⤵️ with the EU's foreign policy on Russian sanctions; 2) The EU does not have a cost compensation mechanism for the adherence to the sanctions of North Macedonia, which, on the other hand, has requested macro-financial assistance; ⤵️
May 16 4 tweets 1 min read
#CSTO_Russia: During today's CSTO summit celebrating 20 years since the bloc's creation, interest was expressed in developing practical cooperation with NATO to ease tension on the continent (?). Earlier, Putin noted that the accession of Sweden and Finland ⤵️ does not pose any serious threat to Russia. On the other hand, the CSTO did not publicly commit to supporting Russia, although it did refer to the peacekeeping mission sent to Kazakhstan in early 2022. Unilateral sanctions were also criticized. The CSTO bloc explicitly ⤵️
May 16 5 tweets 2 min read
#Russia_Oligarchs: The Swiss Bankers Association reported that Russian citizens hold up to 200 billion francs in the country. Of these, only 7.5 billion francs have been arrested so far. The Swiss authorities are not determined to freeze the assets. ⤵️ However, Bern established contacts with the "Russian Elites, Proxies and Oligarchs (REPO)" working group, led by the EU and the G7. Meanwhile, Abramovich has announced that the $3.1 billion from the sale of Chelsea FC will be transferred to ⤵️
May 12 6 tweets 1 min read
#Ukraine_EU: A new controversy is emerging around EU membership. No leader of the EU member states questions Ukraine's well-deserved candidate status (to be confirmed in June). However, Macron, von der Leyen and Baerbock said that⤵️ after Ukraine receives candidate status, a long (perhaps shorter than we think, depending on progress in Ukraine) process of reforms (in parallel with reconstruction) will begin on the way to full EU membership. It's worth recalling that Russia's first aggression in 2014 came⤵️
May 11 5 tweets 1 min read
#Ukraine: The great conversation about Ukraine's post-war reparation has begun. The EU wants to link reconstruction with a deep reform process. This means conditionality. Clearly, the money will not be poured out unaccountably and the central authority will play a key role.⤵️ One of the areas that Ursula von der Leyen first mentioned recently was the fight against the oligarchs (setting the rules, enforcing them and disciplining the oligarchs who don’t act by law). She is right because some oligarchs (such as Akhmetov and others) are already⤵️
May 11 4 tweets 1 min read
#Russia_Sanctions: Russian oligarchs and economic elites are moving from EU states to Turkey (along with the United Arab Emirates or the Maldives). Turkey offers two incentives: 1) Ankara has not joined the sanctions and maintains its neutrality (being cautious about⤵️ sanctions evasion); 2) Rich Russians can obtain Turkish citizenship ("golden visa regime") in exchange for investments of at least $250k (to be increased to $400k in real estate or $500k in government bonds, companies etc.). The Turkish passport does not allow travel to ⤵️
May 10 7 tweets 2 min read
#Ukraine: LNR separatists claim they took control of the entire oblast, with military support from Russian forces. Now, most likely, they will stop and consolidate the territorial occupation. Seemingly, the air attacks on Kharkiv and other parts of Ukraine could continue ⤵️ Image until Russia manages the security of the occupied territories in southeastern Ukraine from Mariupol to Zaporozhzhie and Kherson. The next immediate goal is to effectively move the line of contact with the Ukrainian forced army to Dnipropetrovsk and Mykolaiv.
May 10 5 tweets 2 min read
#Russia_Sanctions: The EU made two concessions (compromises) to EU member states regarding the sixth sanctions package on Russia: 1) Hungary (and some others) will have a longer transition period from phasing out Russian oil imports; 2) In the case of Greece, Brussels admitted⤵️ the possibility of using EU ships to export Russian oil by foreign companies owning European vessels (Greek ones) to other third countries (transport service). Overcoming these two obstacles will allow the adoption of the new sanctions package at the end of this week. ⤵️
May 9 7 tweets 2 min read
#Ukraine: In an interview, the temporary head of the occupied Kherson region, Vladimir Salydo, revealed what the future plans are: 1) Under Russian occupation, Kherson will remain an oblast, however, it may join a future Russian federal region ⤵️ together with LNR, DNR, Zaporozhzhye and Crimea. This means that Kherson will not be annexed to Crimea. The absorption of the Ukrainian territories recently occupied by Russia is already being discussed; 2) The Russian-controlled military-administrative apparatus in Kherson ⤵️
May 9 4 tweets 1 min read
#Russia_China: Trade turnover in January-April increased by 25.9% year-on-year, reaching 51.09 billion dollars. Chinese exports reached 20.24 billion dollars or 11.3% more in four months. Imports of Russian goods and services increased by 37.8%, to 30.85 billion dollars.⤵️ The nominal value of exported Russian products is 2.7 times higher than Chinese imports compared to the 2021 trade. Russia wants to expand the range of raw materials exported to China as it is forced to decouple from the Western market. ⤵️
May 9 4 tweets 1 min read
#Russia_Sanctions: The G7 announced new measures against Russia: 1) phasing out the dependency on Russian energy, including the banning of Russian oil; 2) further limiting the provision of key services on which Russia's economy depends in the financial field; ⤵️ 3) new de-SWIFTing of Russian banks (not Gazrprombank) of systemical importance to Russia; 4) fighting the Russian propaganda by banning Channel One, Russia 1 and NTV; 5) more individual sanctions on the financial elites and family members; ⤵️
May 9 6 tweets 2 min read
#Moldova: Despite the outlawed use of the St. George ribbon, the leadership of the pro-Russian Socialist Party used it during today's May 9 celebrations. It is interesting that the head of the pro-Russian Gagauz autonomy, Irina Vlah, did not use the controversial ribbon. ⤵️ Nor did former President Igor Dodon hang the ribbon on the chest of his wife or his youngest son. The choice to publicly share an affiliation with Russia-related symbols among Moldovan political parties is not due to fear of breaking the law and being fined up to 500 euros. ⤵️
Apr 27 4 tweets 1 min read
#Ukraine_Moldova: Zelenskiy has highlighted two things about the destabilization of the breakaway region of Moldova. He is clearly aware of the might of the Ukrainian military compared to the Russian potential in the breakaway region. That explains why the Transnistria region ⤵️ has so far avoided getting involved in the war and Russia was reluctant to do so either. Another interesting aspect raised by Zelenskiy, which seems problematic to me, is his argument that destabilization occurs now to prevent Moldova from supporting Ukraine. As a matter of⤵️
Apr 26 4 tweets 1 min read
#Ukraine_Moldova: Kyiv reports that Russia is considering an airstrike in the Transnistria region to accuse Ukraine afterwards. This scenario will trigger the reaction of the military forces in the region, including the Russian forces (Operational Group of Russian Forces). ⤵️ Ukrainian intelligence argues that the military forces of Transnistria and Russia are already ready to act if necessary, probably in the direction of Ukraine (if the latter is presented as the responsible side). This doesn't rule out that Moldova could be also somehow affected ⤵️
Apr 26 6 tweets 2 min read
#Moldova: The situation has not changed much since yesterday's nerves around the explosions in the breakaway region of Moldova. The "peacekeepers" of the region carry out their function without any change from their mandate. This comforting news comes from the de facto⤵️ authorities of Transnistria. It is worth mentioning that neither the OSCE Mission to Moldova nor the Polish OSCE Chairmanship made any statement on the provocation aimed at destabilizing security in the Transnistria region. This does not help calm things down in⤵️
Apr 25 5 tweets 2 min read
#Moldova: Unknown online accounts apparently originating from the separatist region began advocating attacking Chisinau as a preventive measure for the Tiraspol grenade explosion. Because of that, my family in Chisinau (and other friends they know) prepare their luggage to ⤵️ leave the city and then the country (for Romania) if the separatist region launches an attack. This looks like an unlikely scenario. As I commented earlier, this is an attempt to destabilize the region. but the public is already scared because of the Russian aggression in ⤵️
Apr 25 5 tweets 1 min read
#Russia_Moldova: After last week's hawkish statements made by the Russian general, probably under the militaristic adrenaline fueled by the military aggression against Ukraine, the Russian MFA tries to act like a "dove". The latter issued a statement to calm the public.⤵️ MFA Deputy Director Rudenko reiterated that Moscow respects the territorial integrity of Moldova and advocates a special status for the Transnistria region. This statement is indicative of two major things about Moscow's view on Moldova/Tranistrian region: ⤵️
Apr 24 5 tweets 1 min read
#EU_US: Some takeaways of the recent EU-US strategic partnership meeting related to the WB-Russia-EaP-Central-Asia region: 1) The two sides will coordinate to ensure that Russian perpetrators of war crimes in Ukraine are held accountable; ⤵️ 2) As part of the new High-Level Bilateral Dialogue on Russia (launched on March 30), they agreed to continue coordinating security assistance to Ukraine and the application of sanctions against Russia and Belarus; 3) They assessed EU and US efforts to counter ⤵️
Apr 24 4 tweets 1 min read
#Ukraine_EU: Austrian MFA Schallenberg stated that Ukraine should not be offered EU candidate status. This is the first EU national official to voice his opposition in public before the EU Council in June. The Austrian MFA Schallenberg belongs to⤵️ the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP), which is part of the EPP political family. It is strange that the leadership of the EPP, including Tusk himself, has not built a unanimous position among the national politicians of the MSs, who will have to approve the opinion⤵️