Author: Nikola Mikovic

Nikola Mikovic is a freelance journalist, researcher and analyst based in Serbia. His work focuses mostly on the foreign policies of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. His area of focus is the ongoing conflict in the Donbass, as well as relations between Russia and former Soviet republics. Nikola also covers Russia's involvement in Syria and Libya. He writes for several publications such as Diplomatic Courier, Asia Times, CGTN, Tsarizm, Global Comment, among others.

The Kremlin’s decision to hold referenda on joining Russia in the Donbass, as well as in southern Ukrainian regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, will undoubtedly lead to an escalation of the conflict. Once the de jure Ukrainian territories become de facto part of the Russian Federation, Moscow will have to fight the war on its own soil. Plebiscites in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Lugansk People’s Republic, the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts are scheduled to take place on September 23-27, which means that the four regions are expected to formally join Russia by early October. But Ukraine, as well as…

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The Russia-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) remains silent while Ukraine continues shelling Russian territory. The military alliance also turns a blind eye to Azerbaijani actions inside Armenia, another full-fledged CSTO member, while Russian allies Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan seem to be on the brink of war. After Russian forces withdrew from the Kharkiv region in Eastern Ukraine, following the Ukrainian counteroffensive, the former Soviet republic’s army reached the Russian border and started bombing critical infrastructure inside Russia. According to Article 4 of the CSTO Treaty, “an act of aggression (an armed attack that threatens security, stability, territorial integrity, and sovereignty)…

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The West seems to be pressuring all Balkan nations that are still out of the European Union to join the Open Balkan Initiative – an economic and political zone whose current members are Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia. Since the EU’s enlargement process has stalled, the Balkans is expected to remain in a state of limbo, while a new form of the regional cooperation will preserve the Balkan countries in the Western geopolitical orbit. In 2019 leaders of Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia agreed to create an economic zone, which would “further improve political and economic relations and strengthen cultural…

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Two years after Armenia lost the war against its archenemy Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, Yerevan seems to be looking for a model that would allow it to de facto capitulate to Baku, but at the same time to save face. Azerbaijan, strongly backed by its ally Turkey, will undoubtedly continue pressuring the land-locked nation to fulfill the ceasefire deal signed in Moscow in November 2020 – a document that many in Yerevan see as capitulation. As a result of the 44-day war, Armenian forces lost control over parts of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent districts, including strategically important town of Lachin. It…

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Many global media outlets are reporting about the potential for increased violence between the Kosovo Security Forces and local Serbs in northern Kosovo. Although a local dispute over license plates and IDs could escalate, chances for another war in the Balkans are minimal. I traveled to northern Kosovo in mid-August. Nothing I saw indicated that the Serbs and the Albanians were preparing for a large-scale conflict. Except for two NATO KFOR (Kosovo Force) mission Humvee vehicles not far from the so-called administrative boundary line with Serbia, I did not see any increased KFOR presence in the region. That, however, does…

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While Ukrainian Armed Forces were destroying Russian aircraft at Saky base in Crimea, the Kremlin was too busy preparing to hold a tank biathlon at the Albino military training ground – located very close to Moscow, but still too far to be within reach of Ukraine’s missiles and drones. Although the Russian military might have shown good performances at the event, in Ukraine its troops are making extremely slow progress in the Donbass, while in the southeast of the country they might soon be forced to make another “goodwill gesture” and withdraw from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Ukraine, strongly…

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Moscow-backed authorities in Ukraine’s Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts are reportedly preparing to hold a referendum on joining Russia. But given that the Kremlin still has not incorporated the self-proclaimed Donbass republics into the Russian Federation, it remains highly uncertain if the two southern Ukraine’s regions will become part of Russia any time soon, if at all. From the perspective of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic, a potential Russian annexation of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia would represent a “stab in the back”. In May 2014 the two Donbass entities held a referendum in which, according to reports, people…

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The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), better known as North Korea, is expected to participate in the reconstruction of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and Luganks People’s Republic. Pyongyang’s decision to recognize the two Russia-backed entities in eastern Ukraine was almost certainly greenlit by China – North Korea’s nominal ally – although that does not mean that Moscow and Beijing will change their approach regarding “the most isolated country in the world”. On July 13 North Korea recognized the Donbass republics, joining Russia and Syria as the only countries to do so. In response, Ukraine terminated its diplomatic relations…

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Ever since Russian President Vladimir Putin came to power in 2000, the Kremlin has been allegedly trying to create a “multipolar world order”. More than 20 years later, Russia is isolated in the international arena, abandoned by almost all of its allies, and the United States-dominated NATO has brought its military infrastructure close to the Russian borders. In virtual reality, however, Putin – often portrayed as a “geopolitical strategist” and a “chess master” – is winning the war against the “declining US Empire”. On the ground, in a “multipolar world”, the Western-backed Ukraine continues striking Russian cities on a daily…

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While the war in Ukraine rages on, the Eastern European country’s armed forces continue conducting missile strikes on the Russian territory. Unable to protect its own country, the Kremlin focuses on imposing empty threats to Kiev, although Ukrainian leadership stopped taking such a Russian policy seriously a long time ago. Ukraine has clearly demonstrated that it is not afraid of Russia anymore. In response to the Russian offensive in the Donbass, where forces of the Russian Federation and the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic made significant tactical gains, the Ukrainian army intensified missile attacks on Western Russia.…

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