Analysis: The War in Ukraine Will Cause Economic Instability in RNM
The military conflict in Ukraine is expected to have consequences for the economy of North Macedonia. The consequences, above all, are related to the obstacles in the trade exchange with Ukraine, which is a direct target of military attacks, but also with Russia, against which North Macedonia has imposed sanctions and from which reciprocal sanctions are expected in the coming period, writes Portalb.mk.
Author: Teuta Buci
The members of the expert working group on foreign and security policy and the executive director of the Prespa Institute, Ivana Jordanoska, Angelina Cvetkovska, Vesna Poposka, Vesna Shapkoski and Andreja Popovski conducted an analysis, which was presented on March 22, 2022, on important issues related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its effect on Europe, but also on North Macedonia.
According to the analysis, the fact that key products such as natural gas, oil and wheat come from Russia and Ukraine, shows that shocking prices and economic instability are expected in the country. Whether the trade takes place directly between North Macedonia and these two countries or through European Union channels, the consequences are already being felt and will only worsen if hostilities are not stopped soon.
Natural gas may prove to be the product that may be most critical in the coming period, as a direct consequence of the hostilities and economic sanctions that are being imposed. The crisis in energy supply is expected to significantly affect the European Union. This, in addition to being transposed into a significant price shock for a wide range of products, not only in the member states but also in other countries, dependent on imports from the EU, as is the case with North Macedonia, – the analysis reads.
Are there any real pro-Russian sentiments in RNM?
As for the Russian influence in the country, the research of the Prespa Institute shows that there are no real pro-Russian sentiments in the country. It is a mix of factors that give the impression of an authentic and complete orientation in support of Putin’s aggression against Ukraine.
The voters of Levitsa expressed the highest support for Russia. As many as 6.9% of them recognize Russia as the best friend of the country. For the voters of Levitsa, Russia is the second choice for the best friend, right behind Serbia which is the choice of 68.1% of them. This political party was also the only one that did not vote for the Resolution21 of the Assembly of the Republic of Northern Macedonia condemning Russia’s invasion on Ukraine, – the analysis underlines.
Why is it important that Serbia joins sanctions against Russia?
The analysis, presented today by members of the working group, also covers the issue of sanctions against Russia. Experts have expressed concern about the position of Serbia, the only country in Europe that has not joined the sanctions against Russia. According to them, this is a worrying fact not only for North Macedonia but also for the wider region and Europe in general. There is a possibility to import Russian products to Serbia which would then be repackaged and sold as Serbian products.
“An additional cause for concern is the constant and increased volume of flights between Serbia and Russia16. The Allies, as well as the European Union, must pay increased attention to potential violations of the sanctions regime, both in the region and beyond. Russian influence in Serbia is significant, given the fact that Serbia, besides Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, is the only country in the region that is not a NATO member and has no such aspirations given historical developments. In this context, we should mention the “Serbian-Russian Humanitarian Centre” in Nis, the functioning of which has long been questionable, both for independent journalists in Serbia and for the security structures of other countries,” – it is stated in the analysis.
It was also pointed out that at the moment the institutions of North Macedonia have expressed readiness to accept refugees from Ukraine, but there are no concrete steps on how to do that. According to the latest information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, accommodation capacity is still being assessed. North Macedonia is a transit zone for most of the refugees entering its territory. It is currently assumed that Ukrainian refugees will not come to North Macedonia.
Will there be a nuclear war?
As for the possibility of a nuclear war, experts say that the chances of that are small because if a nuclear bomb is dropped on the territory of Ukraine, depending on the size, the consequences would be felt in neighboring countries – some of the EU member states and NATO.
“Such a situation would cause a counterattack, in which case, the nuclear disaster would have consequences for North Macedonia. Another nuclear threat is the potential damage, whether it be intentional or unintentional, to a nuclear power plant that could cause a nuclear accident on Ukrainian territory,” – the analysis states.
It is further discussed that these scenarios are extreme and efforts are being made to prevent them for a number of reasons. First of all, it would destroy the Baltic and Eastern European countries even more, and then it would have catastrophic consequences for the Russian people and finally it would plunge Europe into World War III.