Last week in Europe, Caucasus, and Central Asia, Ukrainian forces retook control of the city of Kherson in Ukraine. Fighting intensified along the Armenia-Artsakh-Azerbaijan Line of Contact, coinciding with the anniversary of the end of the 2020 war on 9 November. Meanwhile, climate activism and the opening of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) as well as rising living costs and the death of Mahsa Amini in Iran continued to fuel demonstrations across Europe.
In Ukraine, fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces continued in the eastern and southern regions of the country last week. Following the successes of Ukrainian forces during their southern counteroffensive operation, Russian authorities announced the withdrawal of Russian forces from the west bank of the Dnipro river in southern Ukraine on 9 November (BBC, 10 November 2022). During the retreat, Russian forces blew up all bridges across the Dnipro river in the Kherson region to slow down the Ukrainian offensive (Ukrinform, 9 November 2022; New York Times, 11 November 2022). By 11 November, the Ukrainian army reclaimed the territories on the west bank side of the Dnipro, establishing control over the whole Mykolaiv region, except for the Kinburn Spit, and around 40% of the Kherson region, including its administrative center in the city of Kherson (CNN, 11 November 2022).
Meanwhile, in the Donetsk region, Russian troops continued offensive military operations in the direction of Bakhmut and Avdiivka, as well as in the southwestern part of the Donetsk region (ISW, 7 November 2022; ISW, 8 November 2022).
Russian forces also continued to target civilian infrastructure across Ukraine with shelling and airstrikes last week, reportedly killing over a dozen civilians in the Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Kherson, Mykolaiv, Sumy, and Zaporizhia regions.
In Russia, Kursk and Belgorod regional authorities reported the shelling of villages close to the Russian-Ukrainian border, blaming Ukrainian forces. This violence contributed to the 123% increase in average weekly violent events in Russia 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 country during the preceding four weeks. Meanwhile, government-linked private military company Wagner Group announced the recruitment of volunteers to join territorial militia units in the Belgorod and Kursk regions, where they will reportedly receive basic military training (Activatica, 6 November 2022). The recruitment follows President Vladimir Putin’s martial law decree in mid-October, which imposed a ‘medium-level’ of preparedness in the border regions.
Following the decrease in ceasefire violations in the weeks prior, fighting intensified along the Armenia-Artsakh-Azerbaijan Line of Contact last week. The escalation coincided with the anniversary of the end of the 2020 war on 9 November. Clashes were recorded throughout the week and resulted in the wounding of one Armenian serviceman. These trends drove the 164% increase in average weekly violent events in the Gegharkunik region of Armenia in the past month relative to the weekly average for the preceding year flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Threat Tracker; the tool also warned of increased violence in Gegharkunik during the preceding four weeks. Additionally, Azerbaijani forces reportedly opened fire at civilian farmers in the Askeran region in Artsakh,1The disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan. ACLED refers to the de facto state and its institutions as Artsakh — the name by which the de facto territory refers to itself. For more on methodology and coding decisions around de facto states, see this methodology primer. though no casualties were reported.
Climate and environmental protests continued to take place across Europe last week, coinciding with the UN COP27 in Egypt, which began on 6 November. Police intervened in demonstrations in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, arresting activists who blockaded roads and staged hand-gluing stunts and sit-ins. Further demonstration activity related to COP27 and climate and environmental issues was recorded in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Demonstration activity linked to rising living costs, inflation, and energy prices also continued across the region last week, with cross-sector protests held in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. In France, more than 85 demonstration events were recorded as part of a national strike day on 10 November – the third such day in less than a month – called by one of the country’s main trade unions to demand salary and pension increases (TF1 Info, 11 November 2022). National strikes over similar grievances were also observed in Belgium and Greece, with large marches held in Athens and Thessaloniki. In both cities, demonstrators briefly clashed with police.
Meanwhile, the death of Mahsa Amini in Iran continued to spark solidarity gatherings across Europe last week for an eighth consecutive week. Rallies in support of ongoing protests and women’s rights in Iran were recorded in Belgium, Finland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
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.