In early 2022, Russia moved to invade Ukraine following massive troop build-ups on the border in the preceding months. It was a huge escalation of tensions that had been simmering since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea and started backing separatists in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. Western states to which Kyiv looks for support condemned Moscow’s action as a major international crisis developed. Leveraging contacts on all sides and engaging local and foreign actors, including in the West, Crisis Group reports on the war, assesses its human costs, gauges the larger threats to Ukrainian and European security, and encourages actions that can bring fighting to an end. Our advocacy, written products and visual explainer describe the conflict’s evolving dynamics and identify ways to facilitate prospects for peace and a reunified Ukraine.

CrisisWatch Ukraine

Unchanged Situation

Russia launched new offensive in east and ramped up strikes on civilian targets, while Kyiv targeted Russian-held territory with new U.S. ATACM missiles.

Russia launched offensive in east and intensified attacks on civilian targets. Russian forces 10 Oct launched offensive in east, coalescing around Avdiivka city (Donetsk region); fierce fighting ensued but Russia struggled to breach heavily fortified Ukrainian positions and incurred significant losses. Ukraine 14 Oct reported heavy Russian attacks on well-fortified positions around cities of Lyman (Donetsk) and Kupiansk (Kharkiv), 31 Oct warned Russia had bolstered its forces around Bakhmut (Donetsk). Meanwhile, aid agency International Rescue Committee 6 Oct warned of stepped-up Russian strikes on civilians and civilian infrastructure. Notably, Russian missile 5 Oct killed over 50 people in Groza village (Kharkiv); drones 12 Oct hit Danube port infrastructure; and President Zelenskyy 25 Oct warned of intensifying strikes on energy infrastructure.

Kyiv struck Russian-occupied territory with U.S. surface-to-surface missiles. Arrival of U.S. ATACM missiles bolstered Ukraine’s ability to strike deep into Russian-held territory, with Kyiv 17 Oct striking airfields in occupied Zaporizhzhia and Luhansk regions that destroyed equipment and likely killed scores of Russian soldiers. In southern Kherson region, Ukrainian forces stepped up operations across Dnipro River, forcing Russia to divert troops from main prong of Ukraine’s counteroffensive in Zaporizhzhia. Meanwhile, satellite images 1 Oct showed Moscow had largely withdrawn its Black Sea fleet from Russian-annexed Crimea base after series of Ukrainian strikes in Sept.

Israel-Gaza war raised concerns about Western backing. Amid dramatic escalation in Israel-Palestine (see Israel/Palestine), concerns rose in Kyiv about implications for Western support to Ukraine. Western leaders promised continued assistance, with U.S. President Joe Biden 19 Oct announcing plans to combine aid for Israel and Ukraine in single legislative package. Malta 28-29 Oct hosted Ukraine peace talks with representatives from over 60 countries, but not Russia. Meanwhile, Slovakia’s newly elected PM Robert Fico 26 Oct announced halt to military aid.

In other important developments. According to Razumkov Center survey published 11 Oct, 64 percent of respondents are against holding elections before war’s end. New Defence Minister Rustem Umerov 18 Oct unveiled Defence Ministry reforms.

Continue reading

In The News

13 Okt 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
13 Okt 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
12 Sep 2023
Russia is now distracted and doesn't want to get involved in any other problem or crisis other than Ukraine. Reuters

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus
24 Jun 2023
If Russian soldiers feel their commanders are not in control, their trenches will be much easier to take for advancing Ukrainian troops. The Hill

Simon Schlegel

Senior Analyst, Ukraine
22 Feb 2023
Ce serait une erreur diplomatique de l’Occident que de trop forcer la main aux gouvernements africains sur le dossier ukrainien. Cela heurte beaucoup de sensibilités. Le Monde

Liesl Louw-Vaudran

Senior Adviser, African Union

Latest Updates

Our People

Simon Schlegel

Senior Analyst, Ukraine
Simon Schlegel

Subscribe to Crisis Group’s Email Updates

Receive the best source of conflict analysis right in your inbox.