Following a meeting in Brussels between US President Joe Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on March 25, the United States and the EU Commission announced measures to reduce Europe’s dependency on Russian energy, planning to immediately establish a joint Task Force on Energy Security to set out the parameters of this cooperation and execute its implementation.
The US vowed to ensure additional liquified natural gas (LNG) volumes for the EU market of at least 15 billion cubic meters in 2022 with expected increases going forward. The EU Commission said it will work with EU Member States toward ensuring stable demand for additional US. LNG until at least 2030 of approximately 50 billion cubic meters per year, on the understanding that the price formula of LNG supplies to the EU should reflect long-term market fundamentals, and stability of the cooperation of the demand and supply side, and that this growth be consistent with our shared net zero goals.
Source: US, EU LNG plan, take Russia out of energy loop | New Europe
No American President ever travels to Europe without a bag full of so-called “deliverables” and US President Joe Biden duly arrived in Brussels last month for NATO, EU and G-7 Summits with a long list of new sanctions and related economic measures. These new US sanctions, however, are unlikely to have a major impact on Russia’s economy because they were for the most part an expansion and deepening of similar sanctions announced in the first weeks after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began.
For the Biden trip, the US announced on March 24 that it was “designating” (asset freezes and transaction/travel bans) what it called “key enablers” of the invasion. This included dozens of Russian defense companies, 328 members of the Russian State Duma, and the head of Russia’s largest financial institution. The full list here: U.S. Treasury Sanctions Russia’s Defense-Industrial Base, the Russian Duma and Its Members, and Sberbank CEO | U.S. Department of the Treasury
Source: Sanctions expand as Russia approaches major default | New Europe
As the international community continues to coordinate a response to the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine, longstanding debates surrounding sanction efficacy and compliance have been thrust back into the public spotlight.
There is no better example than Iran to encapsulate the complex, dichotomous reality of international sanction regimes. Long tarnished for its support for regional terrorism and patronage of repressive governments around the world, the Iranian regime under Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has the dubious honour of being one of the most sanctioned regimes on the planet.
Source: The Pandora Papers: Exposing Iran’s clandestine financial system | New Europe
Media reports from around the world have indicated that more than 1,000 mercenaries from Russia’s infamous private military company Wagner have been transferred from Africa and Syria to Ukraine after the Russian military was defeated and suffered devastating losses in the initial phase of its invasion of Ukraine.
Since the beginning of their invasion of Ukraine, it is estimated that the Russian army has lost 20,000 troops and 3,500 pieces of heavy equipment in Ukraine. The fierce resistance put up by the Ukrainians inflicted huge losses on Moscow’s previously much-vaunted military. These were so severe that Russia has been forced to hastily cobble together resources to continue its brutal invasion.
Source: Moscow is moving Wagner mercenaries from Syria and Africa to Ukraine | New Europe
Nearly two months after Russia’s invasion, Ukraine’s armed forces won the Battle of Kyiv and are in the process of carrying out counter-offensive and cleanup operations in the suburbs outside of the nation’s capital.
Such military prowess was not conceived of either before or when the war began. Moscow assumed the war would be short and the Ukrainian military would be easily routed, with the takeover of Kyiv coming a mere three days after the Russian Federation’s forces had crossed the border. This was to be immediately followed by the establishment of a pro-Kremlin puppet government.
Source: Ukraine’s “Greatest Generation” | New Europe
Scandinavian mobile infrastructure suppliers Nokia and Ericsson have successively announced their decision to suspend all business activities in Russia. The financial impact is expected to be limited.
Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, the two European infrastructure makers confirmed they had stopped supplying Russian operators such as Veon, MegaFon, and MTS.
Nokia and Ericsson are now going one step further.
In a statement published last week, Nokia declared, “It has been clear for Nokia since the early days of the invasion of Ukraine that continuing our presence in Russia would not be possible. Over the last weeks we have suspended deliveries, stopped new business and are moving our limited R&D activities out of Russia.”
Source: Nokia, Ericsson to Exit Russia – EE Times Europe
As part of its long-term investment strategy, German chipmaker Infineon Technologies said it plans to expand its existing backend operations in Batam, Indonesia. Production is expected to start in 2024.
Incorporated in 1996, PT Infineon Technologies Batam is primarily serving the automotive market.
Infineon manufactures automotive products at each of its backend sites worldwide, but Batam will become the second largest site for automotive products, after Melaka, in Malaysia, Infineon’s spokesman Gregor Rodehüser told EE Times Europe.
Source: Infineon Expands Indonesia Backend Site to Address Automotive IC Demand – EE Times Europe
A team of researchers at the University of Cambridge in the U.K., led by Jenny Zhang from the Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry, successfully demonstrated the use of bacteria and photosynthesis for solar-based energy harvesting.
When we think of energy-harvesting options, the obvious possibilities that come to mind are likely solar and photovoltaics, vibration and piezoelectric transducers, wind and water turbines, or perhaps thermal via thermocouples.
But why be limited to such conventional thinking? It turns out there are other substances that can harvest energy, as the research team at the University of Cambridge has shown. They combined solar energy (those pre-packaged pure energy bundles) with a specialized bacteria to generate small, but useful, amounts of electricity.
Source: 3D Printing and Bacteria for Solar Harvesting – EE Times Europe
With its ground troops forced to pull back in Ukraine and regroup, and its Black Sea flagship sunk, Russia’s military failings are mounting. No country is paying closer attention than China to how a smaller and outgunned force has badly bloodied what was thought to be one of the world’s most powerful armies.
China, like Russia, has been ambitiously reforming its Soviet-style military and experts say leader Xi Jinping will be carefully parsing the weaknesses exposed by the invasion of Ukraine as they might apply to his own People’s Liberation Army and his designs on the self-governed island of Taiwan.
Source: China looks to learn from Russian failures in Ukraine | AP News
Here in the dirt of one of the world’s most radioactive places, Russian soldiers dug trenches. Ukrainian officials worry they were, in effect, digging their own graves.
Thousands of tanks and troops rumbled into the forested Chernobyl exclusion zone in the earliest hours of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, churning up highly contaminated soil from the site of the 1986 accident that was the world’s worst nuclear disaster.
For more than a month, some Russian soldiers bunked in the earth within sight of the massive structure built to contain radiation from the damaged Chernobyl nuclear reactor. A close inspection of their trenches was impossible because even walking on the dirt is discouraged.
Source: Russia’s Chernobyl seizure seen as nuclear risk ‘nightmare’ | AP News