Ukraine

In early 2022, Russia moved to invade Ukraine following massive troop build-ups on the border in the preceding months. It was a huge escalation of tensions that had been simmering since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea and started backing separatists in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. Western states to which Kyiv looks for support condemned Moscow’s action as a major international crisis developed. Leveraging contacts on all sides and engaging local and foreign actors, including in the West, Crisis Group reports on the war, assesses its human costs, gauges the larger threats to Ukrainian and European security, and encourages actions that can bring fighting to an end. Our advocacy, written products and visual explainer describe the conflict’s evolving dynamics and identify ways to facilitate prospects for peace and a reunified Ukraine.

CrisisWatch Ukraine

Unchanged Situation

Ukrainian forces sustained counteroffensive in east and south, recapturing Kherson city; Russian airstrikes on energy infrastructure left millions without electricity.

Russian forces retreated from Kherson city amid Ukrainian counteroffensive. Ukrainian forces’ counteroffensive advanced further in southern Kherson region as they closed in on Kherson city and surrounding area on right bank of Dnipro River. Russian authorities 9 Nov announced retreat from Kherson city to more defensible positions along river’s left bank; Ukrainian troops 11 Nov took back control, marking strategic and symbolic victory as Kherson constituted only regional capital Russian troops occupied since Feb invasion. In east, Ukraine’s counteroffensive ground on slowly amid reports of heavy losses on both sides; fierce fighting notably reported around Kreminna and Rubizhne cities in Luhansk region, and around Bakhmut city in Donetsk region. President Zelenskyy 20 Nov accused Russian forces of launching “almost 400 artillery strikes in the east” in one day. In Zaporizhzhia region, Moscow and Kyiv 21 Nov traded blame for shelling at nuclear power plant.

Russian strikes on energy infrastructure aggravated humanitarian crisis. Zelenskyy 1 Nov announce that Russian air strikes had damaged around 40% of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, as strikes on energy systems continued unabated throughout month. Notably, Russia 15 Nov fired over 90 missiles and drones into country; during raid, missile struck village in NATO member Poland, killing two and fuelling fears of escalation; however, Polish officials and NATO Sec Gen Jens Stoltenberg next day said Ukrainian missile had likely fallen in Poland accidentally while intercepting Russian missiles. Attacks during month left millions without electricity, water or heating as temperatures fell below zero, bringing country to brink of winter crisis and prompting Kyiv 21 Nov to advise civilians from Kherson and Mykolaiv regions to evacuate.

In other important developments. Following Russia’s withdrawal late Oct from UN-brokered Black Sea Grain Deal, Russia and Ukraine 17 Nov agreed to extend deal for 120 days. UN General Assembly 14 Nov adopted resolution calling for Russian war reparations to Ukraine; 94 countries voted for resolution, 14 voted against and 73 abstained.

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In The News

7 Jul 2022
I think Russia's plan right now is to capture Donbas [in Ukraine] and to see what they can do next. Newsweek

Oleg Ignatov

Senior Analyst, Russia
24 Jun 2022
There is a real premium [for the G7 leaders] on conveying unity and a credible response because this war [in Ukraine] is not going to be short-lived. Time

Michael Wahid Hanna

Program Director, U.S.
8 May 2022
Given the personnel shortages, given the equipment shortages on both sides [to the war in Ukraine], but especially on the Russian side, I do wonder how long they can actu... CBC

Olga Oliker

Program Director, Europe and Central Asia
2 Apr 2022
Few if any wars have been launched with as much nuclear posturing as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. I think the bottom line is that Russia's doctrine allows nuclear use in... RFE

Olga Oliker

Program Director, Europe and Central Asia
15 Mar 2022
Having watched how the Russians fight wars over the years, this is nowhere close to all they can do. Washington Post

Olga Oliker

Program Director, Europe and Central Asia
2 Mar 2022
[The UN resolution] isn’t going to stop Russian forces in their stride, but it’s a pretty enormous diplomatic win for the Ukrainians and the US, and everyone who has got ... The Guardian

Richard Gowan

UN Director

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