The Russo-Ukrainian War is on its way to becoming the deadliest conflict in Europe since World War 2. At the current rate, it will surpass the 140,000+ deaths recorded in the decade-long Yugoslav Wars. A United States estimate places military losses (killed and wounded in action) at over 200,000 soldiers. This figure does not include the needless and unforgivable deaths of countless civilians. In economic terms, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky recently stated that 1 Trillion USD is required to rebuild his nation. Conservative estimates by Reuters put the figure closer to 310 Billion.
For quite a few years in a row, Finland has come to the top of the list as the world's happiest country. What happens next usually is massive sharing on social media where we all cheer, congratulate each other and express our pride in living in and contributing to a society of happy people. In the meantime, people who visit Finland are somewhat puzzled as they (accurately) point to the fact that on the surface little of this happiness is visible in everyday interactions with Finns.
It comes again the golden season of the year. The Chinese people have just celebrated the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival, and will soon embrace the 73rd National Day on 1st October.
Since its founding in 1949, the People’s Republic of China has made remarkable development achievements in various social domains. A moderately prosperous society in all respects has been built.
During the past summer we have been served news of extreme drought, vast forest fires and massive floods in different parts of the world. All the while, updates from the war in Ukraine have nevertheless dominated the headlines. A year earlier many would most likely have said that the covid-19 pandemic was the biggest catastrophe of our time.
If one widens the perspective, into the future and the past, it is hardly meaningful to start ranking catastrophes.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine more than 6 months ago has caused a dramatic spike in natural gas prices and caused repeated energy shocks in Europe. The EU has accused Moscow of using energy as a weapon, while Russia denies this and blames western sanctions for the drop in exports.
After Russian state-owned company Gazprom announced a three-day shutdown of North Stream Pipeline 1, natural gas futures linked to TTF, Europe's wholesale gas price, increased sharply to EUR340 per megawatt hour due to supply fears.
Another video of our young prime minister partying wildly has been circulating online for the last couple of days. The Finnish media reported that the clips have been filmed on Saturday night the 6th of August in two different apartments and were posted as a story on a private Instagram account believed to belong to photographer Janita Autio who was partying with the prime minister herself and shot some of the footage. The crowd in the background yell “Jauhojengi” roughly translated meaning “powder gang,” which some said could refer to cocaine or amphetamine in Helsinki street slang.
"We’ve laid out for the leadership of Iran what we’re willing to accept in order to get back into the JCPOA" US president Joe Biden said at a press conference in Jerusalem on July 14. "We’re waiting for their response. When that will come, I’m not certain, but we’re not going to wait forever."
"The decisions we have taken in Madrid," North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said as a summit of the alliance's members closed in Madrid on June 30, "will ensure that our Alliance continues to preserve peace, prevent conflict, and protect our people and our values."
At the end of May, I came to Helsinki as the 20th Ambassador of China to Finland. At the moment I arrived, I was deeply impressed by the beautiful scenery of Helsinki and the Finns’ honest and hospitality immediately. Later I called on the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and presented the Letter of Credence to President Sauli Niinistö on 2 June.
Many people, both at home and abroad, have wondered about the easy and unbothered way in which Finland has left its military non-alignment policy behind. Nostalgia for the past seventy years, with its assertions of neutrality, politics of friendship, and bridge-building, is limited in a tense new world.
The decision by Finland to apply for membership in NATO stems from obvious and unarguable security concerns engendered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Indeed, this decision is so predictable from the Realist perspective on international relations that it will surely be used in future textbooks.