Russia (Internal)

Moscow sees itself as having embarked upon a broad confrontation with Western powers aimed at reshaping the global order. Its continuing war in Ukraine is thus meant both to subjugate that country and assert and cement Russia’s place in Europe and the world. Russia’s global diplomacy, meanwhile, also aims to increase Moscow’s influence and underline its great power status. Crisis Group reports on developments in the war in Ukraine, domestic processes in Russia, and Russia’s relations with its neighbours and countries around the world. In its advocacy, Crisis Group encourages policies that can lead to more sustainable peace in Ukraine, Europe, and all of the conflicts in which Russia is engaged. 

CrisisWatch Russia (Internal)

Unchanged Situation

Dagestan witnessed deadly terrorist attack, while Putin issued maximalist ceasefire demands to Ukraine and threatened reprisals after U.S. allowed Kyiv to use its weapons on Russian soil to defend Kharkiv region. 

Terrorist attack in Dagestan left at least 21 dead. Gunmen 23 June targeted Orthodox churches, synagogue and police post in two cities in impoverished Dagestan region, killing at least 21, including priest and 16 police officers; five gunmen were also killed. No group claimed responsibility for violence, which came three months after ISIS carried out deadly attack on Crocus City Hall in Moscow. UN human rights experts 27 June urged authorities to address issues that help fuel “extremist ideologies”, including “strengthening rule of law, tackling impunity for past and present human rights violations (and) addressing socioeconomic inequalities” in region. 

President Putin issued ceasefire demands to Ukraine. Putin 14 June promised to order “immediate” ceasefire and talks if Kyiv withdrew troops from four regions annexed by Russia in 2022 (comprising fifth of Ukraine’s territory) and abandoned plans to join NATO; other demands included ‘denazification’ and lifting of Western sanctions. Kyiv same day dismissed conditions as “absurd”. Meanwhile, Putin continued campaign to delegitimise Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, 7 June claiming he “usurped” power and that Moscow will only negotiate with Ukraine’s legislature. 

U.S. allowed Kyiv to use its weapons on Russian soil to defend Kharkiv. Drone attacks targeting key infrastructure in Russia occurred almost daily. Meanwhile, Ukraine began using U.S.-supplied weapons to strike Russian borderlands after U.S. President Biden loosened restrictions for defence of Kharkiv region late May (see Ukraine); Washington still prohibits use of U.S.-supplied long-range missiles on Russian territory. Putin 5 June threatened “asymmetric response”.

West imposed more sanctions on Russia as Putin strengthened alliances. U.S. Treasury 12 June announced sweeping secondary sanctions on third parties supporting Russia’s war economy; EU 24 June adopted 14th sanctions package. Meanwhile, Putin 14 June called for creation of ‘Eurasian security architecture’, claiming that “Euro-Atlantic Security system” was collapsing; 19 June signed defence pact with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (see Korean Peninsula); and 19-20 June strengthened ties with Vietnam.

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In The News

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I think they [the Kremlin] will use this [Biden's Kyiv trip] to repeat the line that this is a conflict between Russia and the West, not between Russia and Ukraine. Newsweek

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