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Russia-Ukraine conflict 2021-2022 - statistics & facts

In the fall of 2021, Ukrainian officials reported that the Russian government placed 100,000 troops near the border with Ukraine. On February 21, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia recognized the independence of the separatist Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics (DPR and LPR). Three days later, Putin launched a military attack on Ukraine, reportedly to protect residents of the Donbas region from the Ukrainian government. The invasion has resulted in Russian forces attacking major cities and infrastructure in Ukraine. This page provides background information on the conflict. A separate page is dedicated to the current information on the Russia-Ukraine war.

Russo-Ukrainian relations after 2014

The events of 2021 and 2022 are part of a large-scale conflict between the two neighboring states that takes its roots in 2013. After the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine in November 2013, Russia annexed Crimea and Sevastopol from Ukraine in March 2014, justifying its move with the results of a referendum, which was not recognized as lawful by most countries worldwide. Furthermore, from 2014 onwards, military actions have been taking place between the DPR and LPR, supported by Russia, and the Ukrainian government. The Minsk Agreement (Minsk II), which includes a set of measures to achieve a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, was signed by representatives of Russia, Ukraine, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the DPR, and the LPR in 2015. However, it has not been implemented to date.

A debate about NATO’s eastward expansion

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has admitted 14 new members from Eastern Europe and the Balkans since 1999. At the Bucharest Summit in 2008, NATO allies agreed that Ukraine, together with Georgia, would join the bloc in the future. NATO’s ‘open door policy’ states that any European country that can fulfill membership obligations and contribute to security in the Euro-Atlantic area could join the organization. In December 2021, the Russian administration released a list of demands toward Western countries, including a legally binding guarantee that NATO would not expand any further to the east. According to the Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov, Ukraine’s membership in NATO is a "red line" for Russia because that would mean having NATO troops near the Russian border.

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