Civil Society Gave Its Voice to the Three Seas Initiative

Democratic Security Outlook: 23 May - 29 May 

23 May 2022

While civil society from across the Three Seas region met in Riga to discuss their proposals, a grinding stalemate has been observed in Ukraine while Hungary continues to obstruct progress on a Russian oil ban.

EU/regional:

  • The first Three Seas Civil Society Forum met in Riga on 21 May. It was organised by the President of Latvia Egils Levits, with the help of LATO partnered with Visegrad Insight. The conference discussed the governance, connectivity, digital and security aspects of the initiative from a civil society perspective. These sessions came to concrete proposals which will be presented to the Presidential forum coming up on the 20 to 21 of June in Riga. Watch the panels and preliminary conclusions here.
Visegrad Insight team at the 3SI Civil Society Forum
  • The European Commission proposes to lend nine billion euros to Ukraine this year to shore up the country’s war-ravaged economy, Lithuania’s European Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius said last Wednesday. The money would be given to Ukraine in the form of loans, the commissioner said. However, he did not specify for what purposes the funds would be loaned, saying this would depend on Ukraine. The Commission’s proposal has yet to be approved by the bloc’s member states.  
  • President of Poland Andrzej Duda has accepted Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová’s proposal to ‘undertake a certain mission of lobbying for Ukraine among our friends from the European Union countries in Western Europe.’
  • The EU has come to an agreement on filling up gas reserves before the next winter. The chief negotiator from the EP, Polish MEP and ex-Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek said the agreement was historic. The agreement will require member states to fill up their reserves from a diverse range of exporters in order not to be too dependent on one supplier.
  • The World Economic Forum has published an article proposing adding T for Technology to ESG (environmental, social and governance) monitoring due to the mounting technology issues all organisations face today.
  • On 23 May, the General Affairs Council will have a meeting to exchange views on the draft conclusions to be adopted by the special meeting of the European Council on 30 and 31 May 2022. Ministers will also discuss the annotated draft agenda of the European Council meeting on 23 and 24 June 2022. Also, as part of the Article 7(1) TEU procedure, the Council will hold a hearing on Hungary.
  • On 24 May the Agriculture and Fisheries Council among other topics will discuss the information received from the Commission on the market situation for agri-food products in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 
  • In the EP all week an Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee delegation will go to the Silicon Valley where MEPs will meet with tech companies, local authorities and academia and discuss the EU’s digital policy agenda, including the recently agreed Digital Services Act (DSA) and Digital Markets Act (DMA).
  • Members from the Special Committee on Foreign Interference will go to Riga to meet officials from the NATO Strategic Communication Centre, ahead of the Riga StratCom Dialogue, taking place on 25 and 26 May. From 23 to 26 May a delegation of the Civil Liberties Committee will travel to Washington, D.C., to discuss current issues in data protection, asylum, migration, security co-operation and counter-terrorism efforts. 

Polish President Visits Ukraine

Ukraine:

  • The Polish President Andzej Duda visited Kyiv and was the first top level official to address the Ukrainian parliament during wartime. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced a new bilateral agreement between the countries.
  • The Ukrainian Parliament, Rada, extended martial law for 90 days, until August 23.
  • More than 1,700 Ukrainian soldiers left the besieged Azovstal. The International Committee of the Red Cross started registering them as prisoners of war (POWs). The wounded were taken for treatment to Novoazovsk, the Russian-controlled territory of the so-called ‘Donetsk People Republic.’ The Azovstal prisoners of war are expected to be exchanged for Russian POWs.
  • Ukrainian Ombudswoman Lyudmila Denisova alerted the country on the coming epidemics in the occupied Mariupol. As occupiers launched the damaged water supply system without fixing the sewerage system, the water eroded the burial sites in the city. During the three months of occupation the residents buried their killed relatives and neighbours near houses, and close to communications. Rubbish was also left on the streets, as well as toxic substances after the explosions in the soil, which will eventually enter the sea. Denisova said the consequences for the environment will be felt for years, both in Ukraine and abroad.  
  • Mykolaiv was shelled with cluster munition on 22 May. After a short pause, the shelling of Kharkiv resumed on 22 May. Seven, including an 11-year-old child, were injured in the bombing of Lozova, in the Kharkiv region. The Sumy region was shelled on 23 May.
  • The total occupation of the Luhansk region is still the goal of the Russian military, intensive fighting continues. Rubizhne was almost destroyed before the Russians took it under control, Severodonetsk is under heavy attacks — at least three people killed in the artillery strike of the school where 200 civilians found shelter. 
  • The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported on activities of Belarusian military intelligence and deploying the troops in the bordering regions, particularly of Gostomel. In the neighbouring Belgorod region of Russia the military deployed Iskander-M short-range ballistic missile launchers. Four of the total six Russian submarines are reported to have left the base in Sevastopol and deployed in the Black Sea. The reported submarines are Kalibr cruise missiles carriers. 
  • Russians continue to strike the military and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, particularly the railway. One person was killed and four injured due to a missile attack on railway station of Malyn, the Zhytomyr region. 
  • During a talk aboard Air Force One on 22 May US National Adviser Jake Sullivan assured journalists that the US has ‘a diverse and resilient supply chain for these weapons into Ukraine,’ and if even ‘the Russians are able to target and hit some shipment on the ground in Ukraine, that is not going to fundamentally, from a strategic perspective, disrupt the military assistance.’ 
  • President Zelenskyy urges for a diplomatic resolution of the war while negotiations are declared to be stopped. On the other side, the Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, accused Ukraine of not wanting to continue the dialogue. According to Ukrainian officials Ukraine cannot accept the offer of ceasefire until Russia is ready to leave occupied Ukrainian territories, nor is it interested in a new ‘Minsk’ and a renewal of the war in a few years.

Friends Looking Out For Friends

Hungary:

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