Closer Together or Further Apart? The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Conflicts in the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood
The article discusses the impact of COVID-19 on the conflict zones in the EU’s eastern neighbourhood, and the EU’s and Russia’s approaches to addressing the pandemic. It illustrates that the pandemic has led to the further escalation of tensions in the region, while exposing the vulnerabilities of the secessionist territories and the limits to their reliance on external support. Addressing the crisis in its neighbourhood, the EU has largely focused on tackling the long-term consequences of the pandemic, while Russia has resorted to disinformation tactics to exercise influence among its neighbours. In this regard, the failure to push forward any negotiations on the global crisis within the existing mediation formats signals the political impotence of these formats to convey even a symbolic message of cooperation to the populations.