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

Russian campaign in Donbas remained largely static, Ukrainian army announced counteroffensive in south as it stepped up attacks in Russian-occupied areas, and fears mounted over shelling at Zaporizhzhia power plant. Russian forces made few advances in Donbas region during month. In Dnipropetrovsk region (east), Russian forces 24 Aug struck train station in Chaplyne town, killing 25; in Kharkiv city (east), Russian shelling 17, 18 Aug left 17 dead. Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces 29 Aug announced offensive around southern city of Kherson. In weeks prior, strikes in Russian-occupied areas increased as Ukrainian forces attempted to weaken Russian rear. In Russian-annexed Crimea, explosions 9 Aug rocked Saki airbase near Novofedorivka village over 200km from nearest Ukrainian positions. U.S. media outlet The New York Times 11 Aug quoted senior Ukrainian official hinting attack had been executed with help of partisans. Second explosions 16 Aug occurred, notably at railway hub in Dzhankoi town and Hvardeiskoe airbase near regional capital Simferopol. In Kherson region, several assassinations of Russian-appointed officials occurred during month; unidentified assailants 6 Aug shot dead deputy head of administration in Nova Kakhovka city; 28 Aug killed deputy head of regional administration. Ukrainian forces repeatedly struck remaining bridges across Dnipro river near Kherson city and Nova Kakhovka city. In south-eastern Zaporizhzhia region, repeated shelling occurred throughout month at Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Enerhodar city following reports that Russian troops were using plant as military base; Ukraine and Russia blamed each other for attacks. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) 6, 19 Aug expressed concern for safety of workers and facility, requested inspection on which IAEA team embarked 29 Aug. President Zelenskyy 26 Aug said Russian shelling day before temporarily cut power plant’s electricity supply, raising fears of nuclear disaster; Russian official 26 Aug blamed Ukrainian forces. In Luhansk region, Ukrainian forces 14 Aug reportedly destroyed headquarters of Kremlin-linked private military company Wagner Group in Popasna city. In Donetsk city, Russian-backed authorities 23 Aug said shelling struck apartment building, killing three. UN Humanitarian Agency 8 Aug said at least 17.7mn people in need of assistance since February. 27 ships carrying 670,000 tonnes of agricultural products left ports 1-20 Aug.

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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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