In today’s age of social media and Generation Z (Gen Z) "taking over" the world, there is a new modern approach to military defence. Ordinary citizens record military activities on their phones and post videos on social media. The social media app TikTok, which is often associated with dance trends, is currently being used to watch a very different kind of choreography: the movement of military forces that could be on the brink of a new severe conflict on European soil (Britton and Mulligan, 2022). The app has recently come into the spotlight as tensions between Russia and Ukraine have led to what could be called "the first TikTok conflict" (Bowman, 2022). Videos of Russian troops gathering at the borders of Ukraine are widely distributed on TikTok (Sonne et al., 2022).
Czech and European news outlets reported that the current crisis unfolding between Ukraine and Russia is forcing a company that produces Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to halt their branch in the latter country. The company in question is the Czechia based Primoco UAV, which has business manufacturing drones. With Czechia being a NATO and EU member, as the crisis began, the company has faced several challenges in Russia and decided to shut down its operations at the end of January. As of now, Primoco UAV is still in business but not in Russia. After the halt, their Russian subsidiary AO Primoco BPLA was sold to Russian buyers.
The ongoing crisis in eastern Ukraine has resulted in Ukraine and Poland seeking closer defence ties to the UK. This desire for closer cooperation has now become codified in a new security pact between the two eastern European countries and the UK, announced on 17 February 2022. According to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, the agreement seeks to deepen ties between the three countries in vital areas of national defence, primarily “in matters of cyber security, energy security and countering disinformation.” Further details of what the security pact entails are expected soon, as the three countries are expected to publish a “yet-to-be-developed memorandum of understanding” in the coming days.
As tensions continue to build surrounding the possible invasion of Ukraine by the Russian military, one issue has stood out as a potential point of tension: the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. A significant part of the European Union (EU) still depends on imported natural gas as a source of energy. A sizeable part of that comes from the Russian Federation, the primary import of natural gas to the EU, amounting to 40% of imports (Euractiv, 2022). In that context, any tension with Russia has the potential of having serious consequences for the energy supply of the Union. Russia has been known to use this leverage in negotiations in the past, such as when it turned off all supplies to Ukraine in January 2006 over a dispute regarding payments (Parfitt, the Guardian, 2006). At the time, this has pushed the EU member states to realise the danger of depending on Russia for energy, and incited them to pursue other sources, as well as increase storage capacity in case the EU’s supply was ever cut.
NATO member Turkey and its Black Sea ally Ukraine have agreed to coproduce Turkish-made military drones at a production site in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Defence Minister Olesii Reznikov has recently made public the bilateral agreement between Turkey and Ukraine in the military defence industry.