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Russia’s war against Ukraine
US State Department: Nord Stream 2 sanctions bill undermines Western unity.State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters on Jan. 6 that the U.S. and EU needed to show a unified front against Russian threats towards Ukraine. According to Price, this unity would be undermined if a bill introduced by Republican Senator Ted Cruz on sanctions against Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Europe is passed.
NATO foreign ministers reaffirm support for Ukraine ahead of talks with Russia. The alliance’s top diplomats met on Jan. 7 to discuss Russia's military buildup near Ukraine. “Allies continue to stand with Ukraine and fully support its sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the principle that all countries have the right to decide on their own path and their alliances,” the official statement reads.
Ukraine calls on volunteers to join Territorial Defense Force. According to new legislation that came into force on Jan. 1, these volunteers will defend Ukraine as “weekend warriors” — working their usual civilian jobs but doing occasional drills and exercises in their spare time. Pretty much anyone aged between 18 and 60 can enlist in the force, which expects to recruit 11,000 service members across the country.
8,153 cars made in Ukraine in 2021, up 65% from 2020. Ukrainian car manufacturer association Ukravtoprom announced on Jan. 7 that the number of cars manufactured in Ukraine in 2021 increased significantly, with a 75% rise in passenger car manufacturing.
Kazakh government reasserts control with help of Russian military. Government forces largely regained control of Almaty, the main hotspot of anti-government protests that started in the city of Zhanaozen on Jan. 2. Kazakh and Russian forces jointly assumed control of Almaty airport, as Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said that protesters would be shot and killed without warning.
Economist Timothy Ash writes about what Kazakhstan’s protests mean for the global economy. According to Ash, the broader landscape of U.S.-Russia relations and Kazakhstan’s importance in the global raw material supply chain will likely be significant.