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Global Crisis Watch 218

Join us on Friday, February 24th for this week’s GCW.

ebruary 24th marks the first year since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The conflict continues to rage on and it sparked debates about the role of democracy and freedom, corruption scandals and economic-social problems. The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, stating that it violates international law and the UN Charter’s principles. He has also expressed concerns about Russian warnings regarding the potential use of nuclear weapons.

As we reflect on this anniversary, it is important to consider the long-term impact of the conflict and the prospects for a resolution.

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a state of the nation speech in Moscow, on February 21st , in which he addressed the invasion of Ukraine he ordered a year ago. Putin announced that Russia would suspend its participation in the New START treaty, which limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads that the United States and Russia can deploy. He also accused Western nations of distracting people’s attention from corruption scandals and economic-social problems while trying to defend their totalitarian values. Putin claimed that the responsibility for the situation in Ukraine lies with the West and the Ukrainian elite, which he accused of not serving the national interest. He promised to revive enterprises and create jobs in the occupied Ukrainian lands. Putin also made a series of homophobic statements, insulting the members of the LGBTQ+ community.

On Monday, new earthquakes hit the Turkey-Syria border region, causing panic and adding to the misery of those affected by the previous earthquakes that occurred two weeks ago, and which have caused 45,000 deaths and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. At least six people have been killed, and more than 200 injured in the latest quakes. Patients were evacuated from some health facilities as cracks had emerged in the buildings. There has been increasing criticism of the scale and the pace of the response from the government of Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as well as the ability of international aid organisations to reach the affected areas and offer support to the surviving victims.

The recent escalation of violence between Israel and Palestine has once again brought attention to the long-standing conflict in the region. The deadly Israeli raid on Nablus, which killed at least 11 Palestinians, has been condemned by the international community. In response, Palestinian fighters launched rockets from Gaza, prompting Israel to launch air strikes on the besieged coastal enclave. The violence has left many wondering if there will ever be a resolution to this decades-long conflict. The international community has been urging both sides to de-escalate tensions and engage in dialogue to resolve the conflict. However, as the violence continues to escalate, it is clear that a peaceful solution will not be easy to achieve.

The increasing right-wing nationalism, to a level unprecedented in Israel’s post-Independence history, is something that is being increasingly seen in multiple other jurisdictions, suggesting that the divisive polarizing rhetoric that came to prominence under President Donald Trump continues to be seen as an effective political tool.