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.   

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CrisisWatch Ukraine

Unchanged Situation

Russia conducted deadly airstrikes as its ground forces retook battlefield initiative, which could shift war’s centre of gravity north; Ukraine stepped up diplomatic efforts. 

Russia escalated strikes on Ukrainian cities as Kyiv scaled up air defence. Russia 29 Dec-8 Jan launched massive airstrikes targeting civilian and military infrastructure; U.S. and allies 10 Jan alleged attacks featured first use of North Korean ballistic missiles (see Russia). UN humanitarian agency 16 Jan claimed hundreds of civilians were killed or wounded; energy infrastructure remained operational. President Zelenskyy 30 Jan said Russia had launched nearly 1,000 missiles and drones at Ukraine since beginning of 2024. In effort to counter attacks, Ukraine 17 Jan claimed first successful use of hybrid ‘FrankenSAM’ air defence system against Russian drone, 20 Jan claimed scaled-up electronic warfare capabilities enabled interception of twenty missiles on 13 Jan. Sides, meanwhile, traded blame for downed plane in Russia’s Belgorod region 24 Jan that left 74 dead, including 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war. 

Moscow regained battlefield initiative and could shift war’s epicentre north. Russia’s ground forces continued attacking Avdiivka town in eastern Donetsk region, with reports late Jan indicating they had entered town’s southern periphery. In northern Kharkiv region, stepped-up Russian attacks near Kupiansk city 16 Jan prompted governor to order nearby villages to evacuate; Russian military 21 Jan claimed capture of Krokhmalne village, south east of Kupiansk; 29 Jan reported capture of Tabaivka village, which Ukraine denied. With Moscow increasingly able to dictate battlegrounds, fighting’s epicentre could shift north in coming weeks. 

Kyiv sustained high-intensity diplomatic activity. Ukraine 12 Jan signed ten-year security cooperation agreement with UK. Govt delegation 14 Jan attended meeting on Ukraine’s peace plan at World Economic Forum in Davos, along with 82 other countries; China remained absent. Polish PM Donald Tusk 22 Jan met President Zelenskyy in capital Kyiv, announced military assistance and commitment to dialogue over trade issues. 

In other important domestic developments. Govt 30 Jan filed revised version of mobilisation reform bill to parliament following criticism over potential constitutional violations and corruption risks. Meanwhile, Zelenskyy 29 Jan asked top commander Valerii Zaluzhnyi to step down amid rising tensions between the two; Zaluzhnyi refused.

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In The News

15 gru 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
15 gru 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
9 gru 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
20 lis 2023
Russia wants negotiations … because it thinks that it can get … what it wants from this war … It doesn't mean that Russia is ready to accept any compromise. Newsweek

Oleg Ignatov

Senior Analyst, Russia
13 paź 2023
If [war in Gaza] morphs into a long, regional conflict, resource constraints on Ukraine may grow in time. Anadolu Agency

Simon Schlegel

Senior Analyst, Ukraine
13 paź 2023
If, as a result of the long conflict between Israel and Palestine, the US has to cut military support to Ukraine … the consequences won’t be until next summer. Anadolu Agency

Oleg Ignatov

Senior Analyst, Russia

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