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CrisisWatch Russia/U.S.

Deteriorated Situation

Diplomatic row between Moscow and Washington over Russian military build-up in Ukraine and European security more broadly escalated. As U.S. and Russia continued negotiations during month, notably in swiss city Geneva 10 Jan, Moscow continued to demand legally binding guarantees from U.S. and NATO against Ukraine’s accession to NATO and that alliance pull back forces from Eastern Europe. Tensions persisted amid growing Russian military build-up near Ukraine (see Ukraine). U.S. Deputy Sec State Wendy Sherman 18 Jan warned “Russia could launch military attack at any time”; Russian armed forces 18 Jan arrived in Belarus ahead of joint military exercises in country due to run until 20 Feb. U.S. Sec State Antony Blinken 19 Jan said Russia could attack Ukraine “on very short notice” and warned again of tough sanctions; Moscow 19 Jan claimed it had no intention “to attack, strike or invade Ukraine”, while Head of Russian delegation to Vienna talks on military security and arms control Konstantin Gavrilov warned that “West either accepts our proposals or other ways will be found to ensure Russia’s security”. As Russian FM Sergey Lavrov and Blinken 21 Jan met in Geneva, Russia 21 Jan requested foreign NATO troops withdraw from Romania and Bulgaria. U.S. 24 Jan announced 8,500 soldiers in state of alert ready to be deployed on European soil and Biden same day said he would “personally sanction Russian President Putin” if Russia invades Ukraine; Kremlin next day said sanctions would not be “painful”. U.S. 26 Jan formally rejected Russia’s demand to bar Ukraine from NATO and pushed for diplomatic solution “to maintain and defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine”.

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Reports & Briefings

Responding to Russia’s New Military Buildup Near Ukraine

In The News

15 Feb 2022
There’s a certain logic if you’re Russia to keeping the pressure on and seeing what you can get. Foreign Policy

Olga Oliker

Program Director, Europe and Central Asia
7 Feb 2022
By adopting radical transparency, the US is complicating Russia’s task of disseminating disinformation about its actions. El País

Richard Gowan

UN Director
31 Jan 2022
The U.S. and its allies will use the U.N. as a political theater where they can publicly shame Russia in the event of war [in Ukraine]. Reuters

Richard Gowan

UN Director
28 Jan 2022
To think that Putin is going to wage a full-scale war, which will cut Russia off from the international stage, which will hit Russia’s society and economy – it’s against the common understanding of Putin. The Globe and Mail

Oleg Ignatov

Senior Analyst, Russia
22 Jan 2022
For Russia, what it sees as Western encroachment into Ukraine is a very big part of how the West has been weakening Russia, and infringing on a security interest for all of this time. Vox

Olga Oliker

Program Director, Europe and Central Asia
24 Oct 2021
Now Russia can argue that Western policies failed in Libya, Syria and now Afghanistan so badly that Russia's approach has actually been correct all along. CNN

Oleg Ignatov

Senior Analyst, Russia

Latest Updates

Event Recording / Global

EU Watch List: 10 Cases Where the EU can Build Peace in 2022 (Online Event, 28th January 2022)

Crisis Group’s Watch List identifies ten countries or regions at risk of deadly conflict or escalation thereof in 2022. In these places, early action, driven or supported by the EU and its member states, could enhance prospects for peace and stability.

Responding to Russia’s New Military Buildup Near Ukraine

Stalled Ukraine-Russia peace talks and a recent Russian buildup of troops near the Ukrainian border are raising tensions in Europe and with the U.S. Kyiv and its Western partners should send Moscow a strong deterrence message while also proposing mutual de-escalatory measures.

Podcast / Asia

What's at Stake for Russia in a Taliban-led Afghanistan?

This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Hugh Pope talk to Ivan Safranchuk, Senior Fellow at Moscow’s Institute of International Studies, about the hopes and fears of Russia and Central Asia after the Taliban victory in Afghanistan.

Enhancing Prospects for Peace in Ukraine

EU-Russia ties are frostier than ever. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2021 – Spring Update, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to forge consensus with the U.S. and UK on responses to any threats, or evidence, of Russian attacks on Ukraine, and to work with the U.S. on breaking the impasse in talks.

European institutions and the European security order: American perspectives and their implications

Torn between  Russia’s growing influence and increasing frictions in a historic alliance with the U.S., European states face new challenges to their security architecture. Olga Oliker calls Europe to embrace a dialogue on security and threats in the neighbourhood to build sustainable peace all across the region.

Originally published in EUREN Brief