Last week in Europe, Caucasus, and Central Asia, Russian forces continued targeting critical infrastructure across Ukraine. Fighting continued along the Armenian-Artsakh-Azerbaijan Line of Contact. In Kazakhstan, President Kasym-Jomart Tokayev won re-election during presidential elections on 20 November, triggering anti-government demonstrations involving opposition activists. Demonstrations took place across the region in commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Meanwhile, demonstrations opposing Turkey’s operations against Kurdish bases in northern Syria and Iraq were reported in multiple countries. In Northern Ireland, members of the New Irish Republican Army (NIRA) held a rally in Derry to oppose the arrest of NIRA militants during recent crackdown operations by British state forces.
In Ukraine, Russian forces conducted another set of coordinated missile strikes across the country on 23 November, targeting Ukrainian critical infrastructure. As a result of the strikes, 10 civilians were reportedly killed and over 40 wounded in the country’s capital city of Kyiv and the adjacent town of Vyshhorod (Hromadske Radio, 23 November 2022). The strikes caused blackouts in all government-controlled regions of Ukraine, with temporary regionwide blackouts reported in 11 regions (Suspilne Media, 24 November 2022). Over 20 more civilians were reportedly killed by Russian shelling in the Donetsk, Kharkiv, Kherson, and Zaporizhia regions.
Amid ongoing Russian targeting of critical civilian infrastructure, rallies against the war and in support of Ukraine took place in Armenia, Austria, Germany, Greece, Moldova, Russia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
In Russia, six incidents of cross-border fire were reported by the authorities of Belgorod and Kursk, reportedly resulting in the death of one resident (TV Rain, 22 November 2022). These trends contribute to the 323% and 235% increases in average weekly violent events in the Belgorod and Kursk regions, respectively, in the past month relative to the weekly average for the preceding year flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Threat Tracker. The Subnational Tracker also warned of increased violence in Belgorod during the preceding four weeks. Separately, Federal Security Service officers reportedly killed three people accused of belonging to a ‘pro-Ukrainian extremist cell’ during a special operation in Voronezh last week (Activatica, 23 November 2022). The operation comes amid growing rhetoric by law enforcement of fighting ‘saboteurs’ with alleged Ukrainian ties.
Daily ceasefire violations continued along the Armenia-Artsakh-Azerbaijan Line of Contact last week, resulting in injuries to one Armenian serviceman. Additionally, Azerbaijani forces reportedly continued targeting Artsakh farmers near the Artsakh-Azerbaijan border, though no casualties were reported. This violence contributed to the 175% increase in violent events in Azerbaijan and Artsakh1The 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. last week relative to the weekly average for the preceding month. ACLED’s Conflict Change Map also warned of increased violence in the country during the preceding four weeks.
In Kazakhstan, President Tokayev was re-elected with more than 80% of votes during presidential elections on 20 November, sparking several demonstrations last week. Activists from the Oyan Kazakhstan party, the unregistered Democratic Party of Kazakhstan, and the banned Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan party protested on election day in Almaty and Astana. The activists demanded free and fair elections and called on the government to cease the persecution of the political opposition. Police intervened in the demonstrations and detained protesters. The results of the election were criticized by the opposition and international human rights groups, with international observers highlighting limitations on free speech and the lack of pluralism in the country (OSCE, 21 November 2022).
Demonstration events condemning all forms of violence against women were recorded across the region last week, commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November. Rallies were recorded in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. In Spain, protesters took part in gatherings in over 50 locations, lamenting the 1,171 femicides experienced by the country since 2003 (RTVE, 25 November 2022).
Meanwhile, in the wake of the aerial campaign launched by Turkish air forces against Kurdish bases in northern Syria and northern Iraq on 19 November, members of the Kurdish community and their supporters held anti-Turkish government demonstrations in Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, and Germany. In Austria, an Austro-Turkish cab driver who had attempted to drive through a spontaneous Kurdish rally in downtown Vienna on 20 November was physically assaulted by some participants, suffering minor injuries.
In Northern Ireland, members of the NIRA and other hard-line republicans staged a rally outside a police station in Derry city on 20 November, condemning the arrest of several fellow militants. Police arrested the militants over their suspected involvement in a mortar attack against a Northern Ireland police patrol car in Strabane on the night of 17 November. The paramilitary group claimed responsibility for the action in a statement last week using a recognized codeword. Observers have claimed that the NIRA planned the attack to assert its resilience to the British authorities following the recent arrest of several of its leaders and handymen in MI5-led Operation ‘Arbacia’ (Belfast Telegraph, 20 November 2022; The Irish News, 25 November 2022).
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.