Last week in Europe, Caucasus, and Central Asia, fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces continued in Ukraine, with Russian forces forcibly relocating Ukrainian civilians from occupied regions. Meanwhile, several Ukrainian embassies in Europe received packages being investigated as threats, including letter bombs at the Ukrainian embassy in Spain. Daily ceasefire violations continued on the Armenia-Artsakh-Azerbaijan Line of Contact. Meanwhile, demonstration activity linked to the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, climate grievances, and rising living costs took place across the region.
In Ukraine, clashes between Russian and Ukrainian forces continued in the eastern and southern regions of the country last week. Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations along the Svatove-Kreminna line in the Luhansk region (ISW, 27 November 2022). Ukrainian forces also engaged in counterattacks in the western part of the Donetsk region and eastern part of the Zaporizhia region last week (ISW, 2 December 2022). Meanwhile, Russian forces continued ground attacks towards Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, with Russia reportedly occupying several settlements in the area last week (BBC, 30 November 2022).
Russian forces also continued to target civilian infrastructure with artillery shelling and missile strikes last week, reportedly killing around a dozen civilians in the Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Kherson, and Sumy regions. Two more civilians were reportedly killed and around four injured in landmine explosions in the Kharkiv, Kherson, and Sumy regions. Separately, Russian human rights groups reported that thousands of Ukrainian prisoners were transferred from occupied parts of the Kherson region to Russian prisons, where they are subjected to torture and ill-treatment (Activatica, 30 November 2022). According to these reports, Russian authorities are planning to review these prisoners’ cases under the Russian Criminal Code to prolong their sentences and set them up for recruitment by the government-linked private military company Wagner Group that operates in Russian prisons, in order to send them back to war. Additionally, dozens of civilians were reportedly forcibly relocated from the occupied Kinburn Spit in southern Ukraine (24 Channel, 30 November 2022).
In Russia, authorities of the Kursk, Belgorod, and Bryansk regions blamed Ukrainian forces for incidents of cross-border fire that hit villages close to the Russia-Ukraine border. No casualties were reported (Kommersant, 2 December 2022). This violence contributed to a 120% 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.
Amid the ongoing Russian military invasion of Ukraine, embassies and consulates of Ukraine in several European countries, including Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Spain, received packages with bloody pieces of animal bodies (El Pais, 2 December 2022). In Spain, at least five letter bombs were sent to high-profile politicians, including the prime minister, and to the Ukrainian embassy in Madrid. An embassy employee was mildly injured when the parcel exploded. Russia has condemned the threats and attacks, while the perpetrators and their motives remain unknown (BBC, 1 December 2022).
Daily reports of ceasefire violations continued along the Armenia-Artsakh-Azerbaijan Line of Contact. As a result of the fighting, three Armenian servicemen were wounded last week in Armenia and Artsakh. This violence contributed to a 137% increase in violent events in Azerbaijan and Artsakh last week relative to the weekly average for the preceding month flagged by ACLED’s Conflict Change Map.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.
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.