WAR IN UKRAINE - The Russian Federation Council on Tuesday ratified the
annexation of the Ukrainian regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and
Kherson. On Monday, the Russian State Duma had also ratified the annexation of
these Russian-held Ukrainian territories.
Once the documents have been ratified by the Federation Council,
Vladimir Putin can promulgate the federal law. The Kremlin leader signed last
Friday the annexation documents. The four regions recently hosted referendums
that were not recognized by the international community. Russia is the only country
to have recognized the independence of these so-called republics on the
territory of Ukraine and subsequently accepted their requests to join the
Russian Federation. Western governments and Kyiv say the referendums were in
breach of international law, were held in coercive circumstances and lacked
REFUGEES - The Border Police General Inspectorate announced that
some 75 thousand people entered Romania on Monday, of whom some 8,100 were
Ukrainian nationals, accounting for an 8% drop compared to the previous day.
Starting February 10, 2022, some 2.5 million refugees entered Romania, most of
whom were in route to Western countries.
ENERGY - The International Energy Agency has warned that Europe
might see increased trouble regarding its gas deliveries. According to its Gas
Market Report targeting the fourth quarter of 2022, the IEA says that EU Member
States will have to reduce their gas consumption this upcoming winter in case
Moscow completely cuts off deliveries. Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the significant
drop in natural gas supplies to Europe are significantly impacting household users,
businesses and economies themselves, not just in Europe, but also in emerging
and developing markets as well. To keep gas supplies at an appropriate level
ahead of the heating season, the IEA recommends a reduction of 9% up to 13%
compared to the five year average. Romania has reached 87% natural gas storage
capacity and can also provide assistance to the Republic of Moldova, authorities
EDUCATION - Romania's Prime Minister, Nicolae Ciucă, expressed his support of
the new Education Minister, Ligia Deca, and her efforts to further the "Educated Romania" presidency-endorsed project, which aims
to submit new education laws to Parliament by the end of the month. A former
presidential adviser, Ligia Deca was sworn in on Monday, replacing outgoing
Education Minister Sorin Cîmpeanu, who stepped down last week in the wake of a plagiarism scandal.
Deca was the nomination of the National Liberal Party.
DIICOT - Prosecutors with the Directorate Investigating
Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) have indicted four people, Romanian and
foreign nationals, as part of an espionage inquiry targeting the Serbian
company NIS Petrol, a subsidiary of the Russian energy giant Gazprom.
Prosecutors have ordered searches in Bucharest and Timișoara, both at the company's headquarters, as well as at the
homes of a number of employees, confiscating documents and data storage
hardware. The four are accused of having traded classified information and of
facilitating the unauthorized transfer of data concerning Romania's mineral
reserves, DIICOT prosecutors say. In 2009, Gazprom bought the majority package
at NIS based on an agreement signed by Belgrade and Moscow.
MOLDOVA - Chișinău has accused Russian propaganda of spreading fake news about a general
mobilization soon to be ordered in the Republic of Moldova. Moldova's Defense Minister stated in a press release that
mobilization can only be ordered in states of emergency or war, none of which apply
to present-day Moldova. Defense officials have also urged the population to
consult only reliable sources following the circulation of this rumor over a
NOBEL - The Nobel Prize in Physics was bestowed to Alain Aspect
(France), John F. Clauser (USA) and Anton Zeillinger (Austria) for their revolutionary
experiments with entangled photons, establishing the violation of Bell
inequalities and pioneering quantum information science. Their findings have
laid the foundation for a new era of quantum technology. (VP)