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CrisisWatch Ukraine

Deteriorated Situation

Clashes between military and separatists along front line in east escalated late Jan, with some twenty killed 29-31 Jan in fighting over govt-held Avdiivka, near Donetsk, involving artillery shelling. Ukrainian officials 31 Jan reported eight soldiers killed and 26 wounded since 29 Jan, ten Russian-backed separatists killed and 25 injured; at least two civilians reported killed. Sides blamed each other for escalation; President Poroshenko cut short trip to Germany. UN reported Avdiivka and Yasynuvata towns cut off from electricity supply, some 15,000 civilians left without water, many without heating. UNSC 31 Jan expressed “grave concern” over “dangerous deterioration”, noted severe impact on local civilians, called for immediate return to ceasefire regime. OSCE 19 Jan reported deteriorating security situation in east since New Year despite 23 Dec truce, with increase in ceasefire violations, including use of weapons banned under Minsk agreement; 27 Jan reported five civilians killed in increased fighting around Luganksk in previous two weeks. Ukrainian officials reported two soldiers killed in clashes 27 Jan. Kyiv, Germany, France and others expressed concern during month over whether new U.S. administration will maintain sanctions on Russia linked to its occupation of Crimea and role in separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine. Outgoing U.S. administration made final show of support to Kyiv with visit by VP Biden mid-month, and extension of sanctions on Russia by President Obama until March 2018. New U.S. President Trump and Russian President Putin reportedly discussed “partnership” on issues including Ukraine during 28 Jan call, did not discuss sanctions. Chinese President Xi speaking with Poroshenko on sidelines of World Economic Forum 17 Jan said he would like to deepen cooperation with Kyiv and offered assistance in seeking resolution of crisis. Kyiv 16 Jan filed lawsuit against Russia at International Court of Justice (ICJ), accusing it of acts of “terrorism” and “discrimination” in connection with annexation of Crimea and backing separatist fighters in east. Poroshenko 22 Jan said he would resist efforts by “some politicians in Kyiv and Moscow” to push for early parliamentary elections, which he said were calculated to “destabilise our country”. Poroshenko 16 Jan warned continued delay on part of EU in waiving visa requirement for Ukrainians causing disillusionment with EU.

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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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