Ukraine

Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, escalating a war that began eight years before with Moscow’s annexation of Crimea. For Ukraine, its very existence as a state is at stake, while Russia hopes its attack will help assert its place in the world and restore its dominance over key neighbours. Ukraine’s Western backers see the prospect of Russia succeeding in violently shifting borders as a risk to their security. They, therefore, try to balance military support to Ukraine and the risk of escalating the conflict. Crisis Group’s reporting follows developments in the war, assesses its human costs and gauges the conflict’s regional and global security implications. In its advocacy, Crisis Group seeks to support policies that will help Ukraine survive and reduce escalation risks and the human cost of fighting while contributing to a sustainably secure Europe. 

CrisisWatch Ukraine

Unchanged Situation

Ukraine’s forces stemmed Russian assault into Kharkiv region, stabilising northern frontline as fighting in east continued; Zelenskyy stepped up efforts to rally international support.

Ukraine contained Russian offensive in north as fighting in east persisted. Ukraine managed to contain Russia’s ground assault into Kharkiv region, helped by use of U.S.-supplied weapons in Russian borderlands after restrictions on their use on Russian soil loosened late May (see Russia). In east, Russian forces exploited relocation of Ukrainian troops north by stepping up attacks in Donetsk region, notably pursuing efforts to seize strategic town of Chasiv Yar. 

Russian airstrikes persisted as Ukraine targeted Crimea. Russian strikes continued to target Ukrainian cities and energy infrastructure amid lack of air defence, with Kharkiv bearing brunt of attacks; notably, bomb 22 June struck apartment building, killing three and wounding dozens. Meanwhile, Kyiv 23 June targeted Russian-annexed Crimea; Russian Ministry of Defence same day blamed U.S.-supplied ‘ATACMS’ missile, diverted by air defence, for killing at least four and wounding over 150 on busy beach in Crimea’s Sevastopol city near air base.

Peace summit took place in Switzerland. President Zelenskyy 15-16 June held peace summit in Switzerland in hopes of persuading critical mass of non-Western countries to back his ten-point ‘peace formula’. 78 of 92 participants signed joint communiqué on three of ten points, though signatures of key non-Western countries, including China, India, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and Brazil, were missing. Earlier, Putin 14 June laid out Kremlin’s conditions for ceasefire and negotiations, which Kyiv called “absurd” (see Russia).

Foreign partners bolstered support to Kyiv. Notably, Group of Seven (G7) leaders 13 June agreed on $50bn loan for Ukraine, to be repaid using interest from some $300bn in frozen Russian assets. U.S. President Biden and Zelenskyy same day signed ten-year bilateral security agreement, while several countries pledged more air defence. South Korea 20 June said it would consider sending arms to Ukraine after North Korea and Russia day earlier signed treaty containing mutual defence article; move would represent radical departure from Seoul’s long-standing policy of not supplying weapons to countries at war. EU 25, 27 June launched accession talks and signed security agreement with Kyiv.

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In The News

28 mei 2024
For too long, allies clung to magical thinking about Russia's weakness and Ukraine's ability to force the Kremlin into talks with battlefield success. Newsweek

Alissa de Carbonnel

Deputy Program Director, Europe and Central Asia
22 feb 2024
If Ukraine doesn’t receive the weapons from the West that it needs to keep fighting … it doesn’t stand much of a chance. France 24

Olga Oliker

Program Director, Europe and Central Asia
15 dec 2023
Moscow's strategy of waiting for an erosion of European unity over Ukraine could yet prove a miscalculation. DW

Simon Schlegel

Senior Analyst, Ukraine
15 dec 2023
Ukraine's weapons supplies are depleted by the counteroffensive, and its allies are struggling to quickly ramp up production. DW

Alissa de Carbonnel

Deputy Program Director, Europe and Central Asia
9 dec 2023
[Putin’s] goal is to force the West to negotiate on Moscow's terms … on the entire post-Soviet space. He wants to divide the world into spheres of influence again. The Moscow Times

Oleg Ignatov

Senior Analyst, Russia

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