Ukraine war: Moldova could be the first domino in a new Russian plan for horizontal escalation

One of the consequences of Russia’s war in Ukraine is the fact that the Kremlin has lost a lot of its influence in former Soviet countries. This creates opportunities to limit Moscow’s ability to leverage its once dominant role to further its war aims. However, it also means that Russia is likely to raise the stakes and try to escalate tensions and confrontation across the region.

Important read to gain insight into how Russia is using dissent to increase its power in regions close to Ukraine and inside its old borders called “neighbourhood destabilisation” and how on the other hand the West is gathering support with countries opposing Russia. 5 min read.

Saudi-Iran deal won’t bring peace to the Middle East but will enhance China’s role as power broker

The deal, which was signed in Beijing, comes seven years after diplomatic relations were severed in the aftermath of the execution in Saudi Arabia of Shia cleric Nimr Al Nimr and has been heralded as a “game-changing moment” for the Middle East.

China is fast becoming the “dominant actor” across the Middle East, a region fraught with tensions for decades. Become acquainted with some of its issues as you observe China casting its influence over the area. 5 min read.

Eyeing China, Biden and allies unveil nuclear-powered submarine plan for Australia

Addressing a ceremony at the U.S. naval base on Monday in San Diego, accompanied by Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, U.S. President Joe Biden called the agreement under the 2021 AUKUS partnership part of a shared commitment to a free-and-open Indo-Pacific region with two of America’s “most stalwart and capable allies.”

There appears to be a lot to get through to see this happen no sooner than the 2030s and, in the meantime, analysts say China may make its move on Taiwan or elsewhere in the region. 5 min read.

Putin tells Xi he’ll discuss China’s blueprint for Ukraine

For Putin, Xi is by far the most significant international leader to visit since the Feb. 24, 2022 invasion, which triggered Europe’s deadliest conflict since World War II and waves of sanctions by the US and its allies. Xi’s arrival comes just days after the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for Putin’s arrest on charges of war crimes. Russia has dismissed the move and China Monday called for the court to avoid politicization.

A three day visit to the Kremlin is a long one, but perhaps because of it Xi will succeed in brokering peace in the Ukraine. 4 min read.