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.
Sixteen months after Russia’s full-scale invasion, its attacks on Ukrainian cities continue, while Ukraine’s counteroffensive slowly advances. With NATO leaders convening soon, Crisis Group experts explain in this Q&A why a lengthy war may loom and what that means for NATO members and other states.
Collapse of Kakhovka dam killed dozens, displaced thousands and raised fears of lasting ecological damage; Kyiv launched long-awaited counteroffensive, achieving modest gains as hostilities escalated.
Dam in Kherson collapsed, causing humanitarian and ecological crisis. Nova Kakhovka dam in Kherson region 6 June collapsed, causing catastrophic flooding on lower reaches of Dnipro River, whose right bank Ukraine controls and whose left bank Russia controls. Reservoir upstream from dam largely emptied. Kyiv and Moscow traded blame for incident, with Ukraine’s envoy to UN 6 June claiming it was “impossible to blow [dam] up from the outside by shelling”; media outlet The New York Times 16 June suggested large detonation from within Russian-controlled dam caused collapse. Flood killed at least 52 people, displaced tens of thousands and destroyed homes and farmland. Dam’s destruction will likely have lasting ecological consequences, including water contamination and destruction of irrigation systems, and will affect safety of Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
Ukrainian counteroffensive advanced slowly but steadily. Ukraine’s long-anticipated counteroffensive began early June without announcement as its forces shifted from deep strikes into Russian rear to probing attacks on Russian fortifications in east and south. President Zelenskyy 10 June confirmed offensive had begun, while military same day published footage of its soldiers in two liberated settlements on boundary between Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions, where Ukrainian forces subsequently liberated six more villages. Ukrainian forces 19 June confirmed liberation of Piatykhatky village (Zaporizhzhia), 26 June captured Rivnopil village and gained ground around Bakhmut city (Donetsk). Fighting likely to intensify in coming weeks, with risk of high casualties, as Ukrainian forces advance toward Russia’s main defence lines. Russian airstrikes continued, notably killing 12 at restaurant in Kramatorsk city 27 June.
Kyiv and Moscow showed little interest in African peace plan. Delegation of leaders from seven African countries led by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa 16 June visited Ukraine, presenting ten-point peace plan. Zelenskyy later said launching talks “while the occupier is on our land is to freeze the war [and to] freeze pain and suffering”. Delegation 17 June travelled to Russia, where President Putin portrayed their propositions as misguided.
If Russian soldiers feel their commanders are not in control, their trenches will be much easier to take for advancing Ukrainian troops.
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.
I think they [the Kremlin] will use this [Biden's Kyiv trip] to repeat the line that this is a conflict between Russia and the West, not between Russia and Ukraine.
Certainly, it makes no sense for Ukraine to offer any concessions now, when it has done well militarily and Russia is offering nothing.
This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Elissa Jobson speak with Charli Carpenter, director of the Human Security Lab at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, about the perception and the gendered effects of Ukraine’s male travel ban and ways for better protecting civilians in wartime.
This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Elissa Jobson speak with Hans Kundnani, Associate Fellow at the Chatham House Europe Programme, about the ideology behind Western support for the war in Ukraine and why it matters.
Mass indictments would sow suspicion in communities, overwhelm the legal system and sideline a vital workforce
Social networks and tech corporations have become significant actors in hybrid warfare, but much work is needed to determine how they can contribute to the broader efforts of preventing and resolving deadly conflicts.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has forced Europe to rethink its security and defence architecture. In this video, Crisis Group Trustee Bert Koenders talks about sharpening geopolitical lines in Europe following the war in Ukraine.
Now Is Not the Time to Create a Special Tribunal for Russia
This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard speaks with Olga Oliker, Crisis Group’s Europe and Central Asia Program director, about the latest from the front lines in Ukraine, Kyiv’s long-awaited counteroffensive, what might change Moscow’s calculations and Western capitals’ stamina in supporting Ukraine.
Russia’s all-out invasion of Ukraine has prompted discussion of how to hold top Kremlin officials accountable for this flagrant violation of international law. In this Q&A, Crisis Group examines the pros and cons of three main options that have been broached to date.
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