Ukraine: Unusual Russian military activity near Ukraine border
Unusual Russian military activity is reported near the Ukrainian borders. The concentration of military forces appears to be similar to the one observed in early 2021, when Russia organised an announced military exercise. Recent (unannounced) troop movements raised fears of a possible attack. In the meantime, Russia dismissed the fears and complained about unannounced NATO drills in the Black Sea.
Ever since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, and the start of the conflict in the Donbass, tensions between Ukraine and Russia have remained very high. The situation in Eastern Ukraine remains precarious due to a lack of progress in the 2015 Minsk peace agreement. Looking forward, no major breakthrough in the peace process is expected. At the same time, disagreement remains about the return of Ukraine’s control of its borders, and granting more autonomy to separatist regions (Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic). In this context, the recent reports on the unusual concentration of Russian troops near Ukrainian borders is a source of concern. At best, it is intended to intimidate Ukraine. Indeed, the country is benefiting from Western military support and recently deployed new weapons (Turkish-made Bayraktar armed drone) in the conflict zone, that are improving Ukraine’s armed force’s capability. In the worst case, an escalation of the Donbass conflict cannot be ruled out, even if Western support for Ukraine and the threat of additional sanctions against Russia act as deterrents. In this context, Credendo’s political violence risk rating for Ukraine has a stable outlook and therefore remains in category 6/7, where it has been since 2014.
Analyst: Pascaline della Faille P.dellaFaille@credendo.com