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In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea and began backing separatists in eastern Ukraine. The ensuing war has now killed over 13,000 people. Leveraging contacts on both sides and engaging local and foreign actors, including in the Western states to which Kyiv looks for support, Crisis Group encourages and reports on negotiations to end the war and assesses its human costs and threats to Ukraine's and Ukrainians' security. Our advocacy, written products and visual explainer describe this conflict's evolving dynamics and identify ways to facilitate prospects for peace and a reunified Ukraine.

CrisisWatch Ukraine

Unchanged Situation

Low-level clashes continued in Donbas conflict zone and President Zelenskyy hosted international conference to draw attention to Russian-annexed Crimea. Deadly violence in Donbas conflict zone continued, leaving nine govt soldiers killed during month, including from anti-tank rocket attacks on 7, 10 Aug and sniper fire on 16, 19 Aug, according to Ukrainian military press corps. Ukrainian researchers reported combat 1 Aug killed at least one Russian-backed fighter, and Russian-backed armed groups claimed over ten fighters killed throughout month. Unknown assailants 11 Aug killed one civilian by live fire, and 5, 9 Aug injured at least two others, according to Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. On diplomatic front, German Chancellor Merkel 22 Aug visited President Zelenskyy in capital Kyiv, pledging support should Russia abuse its growing energy dominance or further undercut Ukraine’s sovereignty, but gave no public indication of what actions Germany might take. Kyiv 23 Aug launched Crimea Platform conference, aimed at drawing international attention to Russian annexation, with presence of 42 foreign envoys; Russian FM Sergey Lavrov 25 Aug called initiative “a futile, Russophobic display”. Trilateral Contact Group on Donbas peace process 26 Aug met following hiatus of nearly one month. Security and Defense Council 20 Aug voted to impose sanctions against judges, civil servants and security personnel in Russian-occupied Crimea, as well as persons associated with media outlets deemed harmful to country’s national security, resulting in blocking of anti-govt news site Strana.ua. U.S. State Dept 20 Aug announced new sanctions connected to Nord Stream II pipeline against one Russian vessel and its Russian insurers; move does not affect Washington’s May 2021 decision to waive sanctions on company leading pipeline’s construction and its head.
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Reports & Briefings

In The News

1 Sep 2021
For the Ukrainians, especially in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, they want a clear statement of support from the United States. VOA

Olga Oliker

Program Director, Europe and Central Asia
28 Jul 2021
Ukraine doesn’t have a lot of equal relationships. This is the danger of being a weaker country in the international system. RFE/RL

Olga Oliker

Program Director, Europe and Central Asia
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

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. 

Podcast / Europe & Central Asia

War & Peace: Rethinking an End to Ukraine’s Costly War

Ceasefire pledges have surfaced and frayed repeatedly over the six years of war in Ukraine’s Donbas region. Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst for Ukraine Katharine Quinn-Judge joins Olga Oliker and Hugh Pope this week to explain why and at what socio-economic costs to civilians on either side of the front line.

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.

Our People

Katharine Quinn-Judge

Senior Analyst, Ukraine