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

Ukrainian forces hastily built defensive lines in preparation for more Russian advances, Moscow pounded country with missile attacks, and Czech initiative sought to boost waning ammunition stocks.

Ukraine rushed to build defensive lines following Russian advances. After Russia captured Avdiivka town and nearby settlements in eastern Donetsk region in Feb, its offensive slowed significantly. President Zelenskyy 11 March announced Ukraine was building 2000km of defensive lines in preparation for stepped-up advances, though military analysts warned about slow progress, which may force Ukrainian troops to fortify defensive lines while under fire from Russians. Russian forces late March gradually advanced west of Avdiivka, with some reports suggesting they seized control of two more villages, albeit at high cost. Meanwhile, Ukraine 5 March sunk Russian patrol vessel using domestically produced naval drones, 23 March claimed to have inflicted damage on three landing ships and one intelligence ship from Russian Black Sea fleet in Crimean port of Sevastopol. Ukraine has disabled one third of fleet’s combat ships since full-scale invasion.

Russia hailed missiles on Ukraine, notably targeting energy infrastructure. Moscow escalated attacks in north using ballistic missiles and guided aviation bombs, forcing authorities mid-March to begin evacuating civilians. Beginning 21 March, Russian forces launched massive missile and drone attacks on energy infrastructure, leaving over one million Ukrainians without power; strikes hit several major power facilities, including country’s largest dam. Russian Ministry of Defence 22 March said attacks were in response to Ukrainian shelling and cross-border incursions (see Russia). Meanwhile, during secret visit to Odesa region by Zelenskyy and Greek PM Mitsotakis, ballistic missile 6 March struck near their convoy; attack raised concerns about Russian intelligence awareness of foreign dignitaries’ movements.

In other important developments. Parliament made headway clarifying thousands of queries to pending mobilisation law, which is likely to come up for vote in early April. Czech President Pavel 7 March pledged to deliver 800,000 shells in 2024 via internationally-funded, Czech-led initiative; announcement came amid halting U.S. military assistance and delays in expansion of European ammunition production. China’s Ambassador to Switzerland 18 March said Beijing was considering participation in Ukraine peace summit organised by Bern; Moscow 13 March ruled out Russian participation.

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In The News

15 12月 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 12月 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 12月 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 11月 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 10月 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 10月 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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