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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

Deadly combat continued in Donbas as President Zelenskyy reinvigorated bid for NATO membership and U.S. reaffirmed support for Minsk diplomatic process. In Donbas conflict zone, live fire 19 and 27 June injured civilian while killing two Ukrainian servicemen and injuring six during month, according to official and media reports. At least one Russia-backed fighter was killed by live fire, while sides traded accusations over deaths of additional nine fighters, as well as over the cause of five injuries. In joint communiqué following 14 June NATO summit, member states reiterated their 2008 pledge to issue Georgia and Ukraine Membership Action Plans, but provided no timeline; President Zelenskyy 18 June told Western news outlets that he wanted “yes or no” on NATO membership, and “clear dates”. Following 16 June Geneva summit with Russia’s President Putin, U.S. President Joe Biden said he and his counterpart “agreed to pursue diplomacy related to the Minsk agreement”; Putin separately stated that Biden had apparently deemed agreements “the basis for conflict regulation”, noting that this contradicted Kyiv’s recent statements about need for alternate approach. U.S. Deputy Sec State Victoria Nuland reiterated U.S. support for Minsk agreements in 17 June interview, saying U.S. would examine possibilities for greater involvement in peace process following consultations with Kyiv. Ukraine’s Security and Defence Council 18 June announced that govt was imposing sanctions on businessman Dmytro Firtash in connection with his titanium business, which officials say supplies raw materials used by Russian military. Russia’s defence ministry 23 June announced that maritime patrol had fired warning shots at British military vessel 19km from Crimean Peninsula in Black Sea, which UK denied; Ukrainian FM Dmytro Kuleba called incident “clear proof” that Russia’s “occupation and militarization of Crimea pose a lasting threat to Ukraine and allies”. U.S. and Ukraine-led Sea Breeze naval exercise 28 June began in Black Sea.
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Reports & Briefings

In The News

13 Apr 2021
If you want to say you’re going to defend Ukraine, say you’re going to defend Ukraine, [NATO] membership or no membership. Foreign Policy

Olga Oliker

Program Director, Europe and Central Asia
6 Apr 2021
This doesn’t necessarily mean there will be a major escalation [between Ukraine and Russia]. But we should still be worried because it’s a symptom of the deadlock in the peace process. Bloomberg

Katharine Quinn-Judge

Senior Analyst, Ukraine
17 Mar 2020
Maybe there’s a shift in thinking about war [in Ukraine]. What is the point of fighting now? Maybe it’s better to self-isolate, rather than sit in trenches. New York Times

Anna Arutunyan

Former Senior Analyst, Russia
24 Sep 2019
Ukraine is really dependent on [U.S.] aid and support, and that makes it an easy country to influence, because of that, at least on paper. Vice

Olga Oliker

Program Director, Europe and Central Asia
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

Latest Updates

EU Watch List / Global

Watch List 2021 – Spring Update

Every year Crisis Group publishes two additional Watch List updates that complement its annual Watch List for the EU, most recently published in January 2021. These publications identify major crises and conflict situations where the European Union and its member states can generate stronger prospects for peace. The Spring Update of the Watch List 2021 includes entries on Bolivia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Ukraine and Yemen.

War & Peace: Ukraine’s Zelensky Revolution

This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Hugh Pope talk to Anna Kovalenko, Deputy Head of the President's Office in Ukraine, about reforms in the security sector and reaching a peace deal with Russia. 

Report / Europe & Central Asia

Peace in Ukraine (III): The Costs of War in Donbas

Years of conflict have exacerbated the economic woes of Donbas, once an industrial powerhouse. Authorities in Kyiv should take steps now to aid pensioners and encourage small trade while also planning ahead for the region’s eventual reintegration with the rest of the country.

Peace in Ukraine (II): A New Approach to Disengagement

Ceasefires in Ukraine's Donbas repeatedly fray because no side is fully invested in peace. Until the sides can agree on a long-term political solution, they should focus on protecting civilians through carefully targeted sectoral disengagements. If this facilitates peacemaking, so much the better.

The COVID-19 Challenge in Post-Soviet Breakaway Statelets

The threat of coronavirus looms large in six self-declared republics that have broken away from post-Soviet states. War and isolation have corroded health care infrastructure, while obstructing the inflow of assistance. International actors should work with local and regional leaders to let life-saving aid through.

Our People

Katharine Quinn-Judge

Senior Analyst, Ukraine

Bogdan Voron

Giustra Fellow, Ukraine