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

Russian forces intensified offensive to seize strategic town of Chasiv Yar, govt passed mobilisation reform bill, and U.S. approved long-awaited military aid package.

Moscow targeted Chasiv Yar town as airstrikes continued. Russian forces focused their assaults on Chasiv Yar in eastern Donetsk region; Ukrainian military 22 April said up to 25,000 Russian troops were trying to storm area in attempt to capture town by Victory Day on 9 May. Capture of Chasiv Yar would allow Russian troops to advance toward string of strategically important settlements in Donetsk region, which form backbone of Ukraine’s remaining industrial and military infrastructure in region. Further south, Russian forces continued slow advance west of Avdiivka after capturing town in Feb, with top commander Oleksandr Syrskyi 28 April announcing troops had withdrawn from three villages; Syrskyi also warned of possible Russian offensive against Kharkiv city in north east. Meanwhile, Russian strikes on key infrastructure continued amid dwindling Ukrainian air defence systems. Notably, Russia 11 April destroyed major power plant near capital Kyiv; for first time since full-scale invasion, Russia also targeted gas storage and transfer facilities used to transport its own gas exports to Europe.

Ukraine passed watered-down version of mobilisation law. President Zelenskyy 16 April signed mobilisation reform bill to expand conscription, improve training and offer financial incentives amid recruitment difficulties. However, Syrskyi 9 April convinced govt to remove provisions on demobilisation and rotation of long-serving soldiers. Meanwhile, Zelenskyy 2 April signed bill lowering draft age from 27 to 25 in another attempt to replenish exhausted troops. 

U.S. approved military assistance for Kyiv. U.S. President Joe Biden 24 April signed into law long-awaited military aid package for Ukraine; announcement may prompt Russia to escalate attacks in coming weeks before arrival of new capacities. Meanwhile, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz 13 April announced Berlin will provide Kyiv with Patriot air defence system; NATO Sec Gen Jens Stoltenberg 19 April said NATO members would follow suit.

Switzerland prepared to host peace summit. Switzerland 10 April announced Ukraine peace summit on 15-16 June in Luzern city. Zelenskyy 6 April said 80-100 countries will likely join; Russia ruled out participation, though Bern is reportedly courting other BRICS states, including Brazil, India, China and South Africa, to send delegations. 

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In The News

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
20 Noi 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 Oct 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 Oct 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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Lucian Kim

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Senior Analyst, Ukraine
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