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Since 2014, a war with Russia-backed separatists has killed 10,000 people in eastern Ukraine, Russia has annexed Crimea and Ukraine’s relationship with the European Union has suffered due to corruption and failed political reform. Crisis Group supports and reports on implementation of the 2015 Minsk Agreement to turn a ceasefire between the warring parties into a peace deal. Through a network of contacts on both sides of the conflict divide, we assess the dire humanitarian situation and engage local and foreign actors to prevent clashes from escalating, facilitate conflict settlement and strengthen a reintegrated Ukrainian state.

CrisisWatch Ukraine

Unchanged Situation

Several civilians killed and at least two dozen injured by fighting in conflict zone during month. Authorities reported four civilians killed, one seriously injured by shelling in govt-controlled town Avdiyivka 13 May, blamed on Russia-backed separatists; eight civilians injured by artillery fire in town of Krasnohorivka 28 May, also blamed on separatists. Several separatist fighters also reported killed during month. OSCE 25 May reported rate of violence so far in 2017 double that of same period in 2016. Leader of Crimean Tatars Mustafa Dzhemilev 20 May reported Russia had deployed six nuclear warheads on peninsula. Meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov 10 May, U.S. President Trump reportedly stressed Russia’s responsibility to fully implement Minsk agreements; Trump also met with Ukrainian FM Klimkin. President Poroshenko met with German Chancellor Merkel 20 May, agreed on need to improve implementation of Minsk deal. European Council President Tusk 26 May called on G7 countries to maintain sanctions on Russia. New French President Macron met with Russian President Putin 29 May, agreed on need for new round of peace talks. Meeting of deputy FMs of Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia for talks in Normandy Format to discuss Minsk peace process 30 May. President Poroshenko 16 May issued controversial decree banning several popular Russian social networks and websites; imposed sanctions on several Russian IT companies and TV channels; 29 May raided Russian internet search firm Yandex, accusing it of sharing Ukrainian user data with Moscow; Yandex denied. Parliament 23 May approved bill requiring national TV and radio stations to broadcast at least 75% of programming in Ukrainian language. Police 24 May arrested 23 former high-ranking tax officials in corruption probe involving allegations of fraud under former President Yanukovych. European Parliament and European Council 17 May signed EU visa liberalisation into law, to enter into force 11 June; Poroshenko described deal as marking Ukraine’s “divorce from the Russian Empire”.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

16 Aug 2016
Russia is intensely frustrated by the lack of movement on the February 2015 Minsk agreement, and has sought to put the onus for the lack of progress on Ukraine. Reuters

Paul Quinn-Judge

Former Senior Adviser, Ukraine and Russia

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