Last week in Europe, Caucasus, and Central Asia, the Russian military invasion of Ukraine continued, with violence reportedly spilling across the borders with Russia and Belarus. Rallies condemning Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip and nuclear weapons on the occasion of A-Bomb Day on 6 August were recorded across the region. Fighting de-escalated along the Armenia-Artsakh-Azerbaijan Line of Contact. In France, environmental groups carried out acts of vandalism to denounce profit-driven water management, while climate protests continued to be staged elsewhere. Meanwhile, farmer demonstrations declined in the Netherlands amid ongoing negotiations between the government and farmers over nitrogen emission cuts.
In Ukraine, fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces continued in the eastern and southern regions of the country last week. Almost half of all violence last week was recorded in the Donetsk region, where Russian forces continued attempts to advance in the directions of Pisky, Marinka, and Bakhmut (ISW, 10 August 2022; KyivPost, 12 August 2022; Ukrainska Pravda, 12 August 2022). Ukrainian forces continued to strike Russian bases and ammunition depots, as well as bridges along Russian resupply routes, particularly in the Kherson and Zaporizhia regions (ISW, 8 August 2022). Additionally, Ukrainian partisan activity against alleged Russian collaborators and Russia-appointed government representatives was recorded in the occupied parts of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhia, and Kherson regions last week.
Amid the fighting, Russian forces continued active shelling of frontline regions, killing dozens of civilians last week. At least 15 civilians were killed in Russian attacks on settlements in the Nikopol district of the Dnipropetrovsk region on 10 August (Nikopolnews, 10 August 2022; Nikopol Regional Military Administration, 11 August 2022).1Fatality numbers are frequently the most biased and poorly reported component of conflict data; they can vary considerably and are often the subject of debate given the strategic incentives to over- or underestimate these numbers, as well as the significant logistical difficulties in collecting accurate data, among other factors (for more, see this piece by ACLED in Washington Post, 2 October 2017).
Meanwhile, two explosions occurred at the Saky aircraft base in Novofedorivka on the occupied Crimean peninsula on 9 August. The Ukrainian military did not openly take credit for the explosions; however, some Ukrainian sources have suggested the involvement of Ukrainian special forces or local partisan groups (ISW, 10 August 2022). The Russian Ministry of Defence claims that the explosions were the result of negligence associated with the storage of munitions at the base and that no aircraft were damaged in the process (Interfax, 9 August 2022). Despite Russian claims, the satellite images following the explosions show the destruction of at least 11 Russian jets, with Russia also later reporting that one civilian was killed and 14 were wounded in the explosions (The Guardian, 11 August 2022).
Similarly, explosions took place at a military airfield near Ziabrauka of the Gomel region in Belarus last week. Belarusian defense officials attribute the explosions to a fire accident, while Ukrainian forces also deny involvement (ISW, 12 August 2022). The source of the explosions remains unclear, with local media reporting that several heavy explosions destroyed military equipment at the airfield late at night (Zerkalo.io, 11 August 2022). The airfield reportedly hosts Russian missile systems that have been used during strikes on Ukrainian territory (RFE/RL, 11 August 2022).
In Russia, the governor of the Kursk region reported several incidents of cross-border artillery fire by Ukrainian and Russian forces last week. These trends contribute to the 186% increase in violent events in the Kursk region last week relative to the weekly average for the preceding month flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker. The Subnational Tracker also warned of increased violence in the Kursk region during the preceding four weeks. Moreover, four new sabotage incidents aimed at disrupting Russia’s railway and power lines system took place in the Kursk and Novosibirsk regions (Activatica, 10 August 2022). While violence in Kursk has not been common, it has become increasingly volatile, resulting in a shift from a place of ‘low risk’ to being considered an area of ‘growing risk’ by ACLED’s Volatility and Risk Predictability Index.
Rallies in support of Ukraine and against the war were held in Germany, Italy, Russia, and the United Kingdom last week. In Germany, such gatherings were organized to coincide with A-Bomb Day (6 August), commemorating the 77th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In over a dozen demonstration events recorded across the country, protesters also denounced the prospect of a nuclear Third World War. A-Bomb Day protests were also recorded in Denmark, France, and Greece.
Meanwhile, following the flare-up of violence between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants in and around the Gaza Strip, demonstrations condemning Israeli attacks were recorded in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
Along the Armenia-Artsakh-Azerbaijan Line of Contact, ceasefire violations continued last week, but at lower levels than the week prior. This violence contributed to the 85% increase in weekly violent events in Azerbaijan and Artsakh in the past month relative to the weekly average for the preceding year. ACLED’s Conflict Change Map also warned of increased violence in the region during the preceding four weeks. The recent escalation in fighting prompted protests in Armenia against the current Armenian government. Demonstrators also gathered outside the French and American embassies in Yerevan, demanding their involvement in the Artsakh conflict.
Meanwhile, climate actions to denounce anthropogenic global warming were recorded across the region last week amid an ongoing heatwave and historically significant period of drought (The Guardian, 13 August 2022). In France, environmental activists in Toulouse damaged the lawn of a golf course and plugged its holes with cement to condemn its exemption from water rationing. Likewise, activists cut tarps covering two alternative water supply reservoirs used to irrigate crops in summer using winter groundwater in Pouillé and Nalliers in Vendée. The environmental group that claims the action online said it wanted to denounce the “industrial system” operating the reservoirs for a profit (France3 Regions, 10 August 2022). Additionally, protests urging more climate action were recorded in Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Romania, Spain, and Sweden.
In the Netherlands, farmers’ protests against the government’s plan to cut nitrogen emissions in the agricultural sector significantly decreased last week amid ongoing negotiations between the cabinet of the Netherlands and farming organizations. Elsewhere, protests related to farmers’ working conditions and denouncing water shortages were reported in Armenia, France, Italy, and Serbia last week.
Note: This dashboard automatically updates to cover the latest four weeks of data released by ACLED. Use the date filters to view data for the one-week period covered by this Regional Overview.