EU Braces for a Winter of Energy Instability

Across the European Union, natural gas prices are peaking at levels not seen in the past twenty years, causing growing concern by energy policy experts for the implications across Europe. With COVID-19 lockdowns drawing to a close across Scandinavia and Western Europe, the imminent surge in demand for natural gas as winter nears is placing many EU states in a precarious domestic and strategic position, reports The New York Times.

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Russian Troop Withdrawal from Ukrainian Border Carries Significant Weight

The Russian Defense Ministry has announced the withdrawal of its troops from the Ukrainian border following a massive military buildup last week. According to Euronews, Moscow called for all troops to return to their permanent bases, signaling the potential end to a massive escalation of tensions with the West.

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U.S. President Biden Officially Recognizes Armenian Genocide

President Joe Biden has foregone the precedent of his predecessors by becoming the first U.S. president to formally recognize the mass killings of over one million Armenians as genocide. The acknowledgement comes over a century after the Ottoman Turks perpetrated the mass killings, and in spite of possible complications for U.S.-Turkey relations.

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Denmark Revokes Residency of Syrian Refugees

Denmark has recently come under international criticism for its decision to revoke Syrian refugees’ residency permits. It is the first European country to do so. This is especially surprising given that Denmark was the first country to sign the United Nations Refugee Convention in 1952, according to VICE.

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Head of States from Ukraine and Turkey Meet Amid Tensions With Russia

According to The Associated Press, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Istanbul in early April to discuss matters of national security and the de-escalation of tensions surrounding the Black Sea region. The meeting between the two heads of state occurred as reports of a build-up of tens of thousands of Russian troops along the eastern Ukrainian border flooded international news headlines. 

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FOCUS on Separatist Movements: Catalonia 

The Spanish autonomous region of Catalonia is one with its own rich and distinct culture, customs, and language developed over thousands of years. Catalonian separatist movements have strengthened their presence and reignited the debate of whether there should be an autonomous Catalan state. 

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Russia Builds Up Troops Near Ukrainian Border

The Russia-Ukraine conflict continues to escalate, with a new buildup of Russian troops and military hardware on the shared border of the two countries. Strains began Russo-Ukrainian relations after President Vladimir Putin annexed and seized control of Crimea in 2014, increasing Russian military presence in the area.

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Turkey Withdraws from the 2011 Istanbul Convention on Women’s Rights

Turkey announced in late March that it has withdrawn from the 2011 Istanbul Convention on women’s rights. The convention was held to promote the protection of women against domestic violence and promote gender equality by signatory states, reports Reuters. Notably, Turkey was the first country to sign on to the convention, which was forged in and is named after the country’s largest city.

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German Politician Resigns Over Mask Corruption

In Germany, corruption allegations are threatening the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) as well as its sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU) ahead of elections in multiple German states. The CDU is the party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has been in power for 15 years. However, this scandal is coming just months before she planned to step down in September.  BBC News notes that with Merkel leaving office, strong CDU leadership is needed if the party is to pick up the torch from the chancellor.

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