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 Ukrainian refugees as of 7 February, according to the UNHCR


Civilian casualties as of 5 February, according to OHCHR

Ukrainian territory is under Russian occupation 




At 5 am Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a special military operation in Ukraine with an aim to ‘demilitarise and denazify’ the country. Within minutes of the announcement, Russian forces conducted their first air and missile strikes against Ukraine’s military infrastructure facilities across the country. In the meantime, Russian ground forces attacked Ukraine’s eastern, northern and southern flanks. In response, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky declared martial law and later that day, general mobilisation.

Source: The Kremlin



Russian forces captured the southern port city of Kherson – the first city to fall to Russian forces. They advanced on the city from Russia-occupied Crimea. In the following weeks, Russian forces managed to capture the whole of Kherson Oblast. On 30 September President Vladimir Putin announced the annexation of the oblast amid the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the area.



At least 35 people were killed and 184 were injured when Russian missiles struck Yavoriv military base located in Lviv Oblast only 25 km from the border with Poland. The site had previously played host to international NATO drills and some unconfirmed reports emerged indicating that foreign servicemen were among the victims. Russia claims to have killed 180 foreign fighters. It was the first major strike against a target in the Western part of Ukraine and raised concerns that Russian forces could launch attacks against civilian infrastructure in Lviv, where many people had fled to escape the conflict.




Russian forces struck Mariupol Drama theatre where approximately 900 civilians were sheltering.  A later investigation revealed that up to 600 could have been killed in the attack, however, the exact number remains unconfirmed. Rescue operations were hindered by heavy shelling and the city later fell to Russian forces who denied responsibility for the attack. The attack was the first major piece of evidence of Russia’s war crimes.  The theatre was attacked despite being marked with a big sign - ‘kids’.



Russian Deputy Defence Minister Alexander Fomin announced that Moscow would ‘fundamentally cut back operations’ around Kyiv and Chernihiv, allegedly to build mutual trust and create conditions for further negotiations. Russian forces began withdrawing from the area the following day and by 5 April they had completed their withdrawal – in what is considered the end of the first stage of the war and a major victory for Kyiv. The decision to withdraw troops came after Russian forces had failed to advance on the major cities in the areas, being held in their suburbs by Ukrainian forces.



Ukrainian forces reportedly sunk Russia’s military flagship vessel Moskva when they struck it with two Neptune anti-ship cruise missiles. The sinking – which is considered one of the biggest naval losses in a war in decades - was a major blow to Russia’s prominent Black Sea Fleet and a symbolic victory for Ukraine. In response to the attack, Russian forces struck a military facility near Kyiv focused on producing anti-ship missiles on 15 April.



On 20 May Russia’s Defence Ministry announced that Russian and Donetsk People Republic (DNR) separatist forces gained full control of the strategically significant city of Mariupol in the south of Donetsk Oblast. Russian and DNR forces indiscriminately shelled the city - leaving it without basic amenities before encircling it. Despite its encirclement, Ukrainian fighters put up fierce resistance at the sprawling Azovstal steel works for weeks before the final contingency of fighters surrendered on Kyiv's orders.



At least 18 people were reportedly killed and 60 injured when a Russian missile struck hit a shopping centre in the city of Kremenchuk in Poltava Oblast. According to President Volodymyr Zelensky, at least 1,000 people were inside at the time of the attack. The attack underscored the risk of Russian missile strikes against civilian infrastructure across the country, including in oblasts had not seen daily clashes.




Russian forces withdraw from Snake (Zmiinyi) Island - located off the coast of Odesa - following a barrage of Ukrainian missiles and air strikes. The capture of the island – which fell to Russian forces in the first days of the war – was a symbolic victory for Ukrainian forces and a major boost to their morale as the island had become a symbol of fierce Ukrainian resistance. Russian forces claimed their withdrawal was a ‘gesture of goodwill’ but had struggled to place anti-air units on the island since the Moskva was sunk in April.



Ukraine’s General Staff confirmed that Ukrainian troops withdrew from the city of Lysychansk – the last Ukrainian-held city in Luhansk Oblast. This came after Russian Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu announced that Russian and Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) troops had captured the city, taking control of Luhansk Oblast in its entirety. Ukrainian forces continued to resist Russian advances around Bilohorivka and Verknokamyanka on the very edge of the oblast, but these later fell to Russian forces. (Ukrainian forces liberated Bilohorivka mid-September.)



At least 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs), including from the Azov battalion, were reportedly killed and 75 others were injured in an attack on Olenivka prison approximately 10 km from Donetsk, Donetsk Oblast. Kyiv and Moscow accused each other of carrying out the attack and Moscow has subsequently used the incident for propaganda purposes which culminated with the visit of American actor Steven Seagal. While Seagal and other Russian propagandists have visited the site, the International Red Cross Committee failed to secure access to the facility.



One person was killed and eight injured in a series of explosions at Russia's Saky air base near Novofedorivka in Russian-occupied Crimea. The Russian defence ministry stated that the detonation of several aviation ammunition stores caused the explosions, denying that the air base was attacked. The attack was followed by a series of other attacks against military targets on the peninsula. Kyiv first denied responsibility for the attack but Ukrainian military officials later admitted that their forces stood behind the incidents.

Source: USA Today



Ukrainian forces announced that they had finally launched a counteroffensive in Mykolaiv and Kherson Oblasts. Details about the counteroffensive remained scarce as Ukrainian authorities introduced a silent regime, asking journalists and locals not to report on it. Kyiv first announced plans to conduct the counteroffensive in the south in June.



Ukrainian forces launched a counteroffensive in the direction of Balakliia located south of the city of Kharkiv. They quickly managed to advance to Kupyansk and eventually to Izium - two strategically important cities for  Russian forces in the area - and later recaptured a considerable territory north of the city. The Russian military announced its decision to "redeploy forces from the area to support troops in the Donbas" but some Russian media admitted that their forces were defeated.



Ukrainian officials reported that its forces encircled 5,000 - 5,500 Russian troops in the city of Lyman located in the northern part of Donetsk Oblast. Later, they published videos that showed Ukrainian troops in the city and Russian officials confirmed that their forces had withdrawn.  Lyman was captured in May and was an important transport hub for Russian forces on the north Donetsk front. The victory was another serious blow for Russian forces and there remains a risk that Moscow would further escalate in response, particularly given that it came only a day before President Putin annexed Donetsk Oblast to Russia. 



Russian officials reported that at least three people were killed in an explosion on the Crimea Bridge that links the peninsula with Russia’s Krasnodar Krai. The blast destroyed one carriageway and damaged the second one as well as the adjacent railway line. The damaged roads were reopened the same day for light traffic only. Several reports emerged indicating that Kyiv was behind the attack but Ukrainian officials have not officially claimed responsibility. President Vladimir Putin called the attack an "act of terrorism" and alleged Ukraine's special services ordered it. Two days after the attack Russian forces launched a barrage of missiles strikes in retaliation. The attack is symbolically important but it could also have strategic implications - particularly if it is repeated - as the bridge is a crucial supply line to Russian forces in Crimea and in southern Ukraine. 



At least ten people were reportedly killed and 60 injured after Russian missiles hit at least 15 cities across the country, including Kyiv, Lviv, Zhytomyr, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil and Khmelnytskyi. The casualty toll is expected to grow as rescue operations are ongoing. Ukrainian authorities stated that Russian forces had launched over 75 missiles and that Ukrainian forces had intercepted 41. The attack was an apparent retaliation for the 8 October explosion on the Crimea Bridge and came after Sergei Surovikin – an alleged advocate for attacks against infrastructure facilities and civilian targets - was appointed as Russia’s commander in Ukraine. 



President Vladimir Putin declared martial law in the four illegally annexed territories of Luhansk People’s Republic, Donetsk People’s Republic (LNR and DNR), Kherson and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts. The decree also ordered an "economic mobilisation" in eight regions adjoining Ukraine – a move that will restrict people’s movement. The order came after Russian officials warned that a Ukrainian assault in Kherson Oblast was imminent and launched civilian evacuation. While it remains uncertain whether local administrations will use the extra powers, a renewed Ukrainian offensive in Kherson Oblast is expected.

Source: The Guardian 



General Sergei Surovikin and Ministry of Defence Sergei Shoigu announced that they had ordered Russian forces to withdraw from Kherson, Kherson Oblast. Surovikin stated that it was no longer possible to keep the city supplied.  On 11 November Russian forces reportedly completed the withdrawal to the eastern bank of the Dnieper River, blowing up the strategic Antonivsky bridge. Following the withdrawal, Ukrainian forces reportedly liberated approximately 60 towns and villages on the western bank of the Dnieper River and on 12 November Ukrainian officials announced that Ukrainian military administration had officially returned to the city of Kherson. Russian withdrawal from Kherson is a major victory for Ukraine, , significantly boosting Ukrainian forces' morale and likely reinforcing international support. The withdrawal can also further deepen divisions within Russia's fighting groups, destabilising the military. It is also likely to increase criticism of the military leadership among pro-war groups and individuals. 



Two people were killed after a missile landed in the town of Przewodow located approximately 6 km from the country's border with Ukraine. According to NATO, US and Polish officials, including Polish President Andrzej Duda, the rocket was most likely launched by Ukrainian air defence forces to intercept Russian missile amid a Russian barrage of missile strikes against the country's infrastructure facilities nationwide. Duda added that there was no indication that the strike was an international attack on Poland - a statement later repeated by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Warsaw strengthened the readiness of its armed forces but Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki stated it although it was considering the option, invoking NATO's Article 4 - which calls for consultations over serious threats to territorial integrity - may not be necessary. The investigation is ongoing but the incident highlights the risk the war in Ukraine poses for neighbouring countries. 



On 11 January Russia's mercenary Wagner forces reported that they had captured Soledar in north-eastern Donetsk Oblast. Russian Ministry of Defence confirmed to report two days later on 13 January. Ukrainian forces initially denied the reports, claiming that fighting was still ongoing. They admitted their complete withdrawal from the city of the city on 25 January. The capture of Soledar appeared to support Russia's effort to capture Bakhmut located south of the city and was a symbolic victory as it came after weeks of stalling. 




Russian forces launched a new offensive towards Vuhledar located south of the city of Donetsk. However, Russian forces appear unable to make advancements along the front and are reported to have extremely high casualties and equipment losses. A prominent local Russian commander reported on 13 February that a Ukrainian rocket strike destroyed the headquarters of his unit, known as the Vostok Battalion, east of the city of Vuhledar. Russian forces are expected to continue attacking but their success remains highly uncertain as the area outside Vuhledar is heavily mined and well protected. 



Governor of Luhansk Oblast Serhiy Haidai announced that Russian forces had launched a major offensive in Luhansk Oblast and were trying to break through Ukrainian defences near the town of Kreminna. Russian forces have reportedly made limited advancements in the area and focused significant efforts along the line. However, according to some estimates, they lack reserves to significantly increase intensity of the offensive. 

Keep  up-to-date with the most recent developments in Ukraine, subscribe to AKE's Ukraine Weekly Update and get your first issue for free. 

This map highlights daily major security incidents only, it does not reflect advancements of Russian and Ukrainian forces or provide a complete picture of all clashes and attacks throughout the war. 


Russia's President Vladimir Putin publicly announced the annexation of Donetsk People's Republic, Luhansk People's Republic, Kherson Oblast and Zaporizhia Oblast during a ceremony in the Kremlin on 30 September.

Ukraine annexed territories-_4.gif

President Putin and Russia-imposed 'leaders' of the four annexed regions celebrating their joining of Russia.
Source: the Guardian


On 20 September the leaders of Ukraine's Russia-occupied Donetsk People's Republic, Luhansk People's Republic, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson Oblasts announced that they would organise 'referenda' in their respective regions. The decision came quickly - Russian media reported only days before that the 'referenda' would be postponed due to Ukraine's counteroffensives in Kharkiv and Kherson Oblasts. However, on 21 September Russia's President Vladimir Putin endorsed the decision, promising that Moscow would do anything to make sure that the vote would be safe. The voting started only three days after and ended on 27 September when all territories reported that over 90 per cent of voters were in favour. 

The illegal referenda - which are likely to be recognised only by Russia's closest allies such as North Korea - are Putin's attempts to secure control of the territories which Russian forces seem to be unable to either capture all or protect against Ukrainian counteroffensives. During his speech on 21 September, Putin threatened to use 'any weapons' in the event of an attack against Russia's territorial integrity. Russian officials have repeatedly stated that attacking the newly annexed territories would equate to attacking Russia itself and any weapons - including nuclear - will be used in retaliation.  The Kremlin's threats are to discourage support of Ukraine and any Ukrainian counteroffensives in the annexed territories.  On 19 October Putin declared martial law in those regions. 

Source of the map: armChart


Besides the illegality of the referenda based on international law, the vote was also most-certainly rigged with reports emerging of widespread voting violations and irregularities. Videos on social media emerged showing that armed soldiers were accompanying officials during their visit to people’s houses, coercing them to vote in favour of annexation. Others appear to show people not knowing what they were voting for and asking officials what to choose. Some media sources also reported that children between 13 and 17 years old were asked to vote.



Source: Telegraph

Source: David Gor


On 21 September Vladimir Putin announced partial mobilisation. He - as well as Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu - claimed that the mobilisation would target only reservists and primarily those who have combat experience or military education/speciality. However, only hours later it became increasingly clear that this would not be the case.  The mobilisation decree sets quotas for districts. This means that local leaders have the final say on who will get drafted in their territories. While in theory such a process should be less complicated, it also appears to incentivise local authorities to meet the quotas at any cost, encouraging them to draft  men that do not meet the mobilisation criteria. The Kremlin has admitted the mistakes related to mobilisation, but there are serious doubts whether Putin's promise that 'errors will be fixed' will be implemented. This is underscored by independent media reports that suggest the Kremlin is seeking to mobilise significantly more men than the promised 300,000. Following the mobilisation announcement, people took to the streets in a number of cities nationwide. Russian security forces, however, brutally cracked-down on any dissent. According to the independent media project OVD-Info, 2417 people were detained between 21 and 26 September. Those who are drafted often report that they face horrible conditions, lack of supplies or that they are  being sent to Ukraine with no training.  

On 14 October Putin stated that the mobilisation should finish within two weeks, claiming that 220,000 out of an expected 300,000 reservists have been drafted. However, officials in the Kremlin often make empty promises and there remains a risk that the mobilisation will continue. Western officials and Russian media also reported that some newly-mobilised men are already fighting in Ukraine and taking casualties - in less than a month since the announcement. 

18 October Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced the end of the partial mobilisation in the city, claiming that it has met the set quotas. He added that draft notices sent out in the capital were no longer valid.  However, local independent media pointed out that Sobyanin’s order was not legally valid as the only person who can officially end the partial mobilisation is President Vladimir Putin. This means that the mobilisation can resume at short notice, as supported by evidence from other regions. On 28 September officials in Rostov Oblast announced the end of the mobilisation but on 11 October stated that the region had received a new mobilisation order. On 30 September the mobilisation ended in Buryatia but resumed on 12 October. There remains a risk that the mobilisation in the capital will resume.

On 28 October Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu declared that the partial mobilisation announced on 21 September was complete. Shoigu added that the mobilisation goal set by President Vladimir Putin had been met after Russian authorities mobilised a total of 300,000 reservists. Shoigu added that around 82,000 mobilised men were sent to Ukraine while the rest were still being trained and that further recruitment would be based on volunteers. On 31 October the Ministry of Defence announced that it and the military draft centres had “returned to their usual work,” recruiting only volunteers and contractors. While only a decree signed by President Vladimir Putin can officially end the mobilisation, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated on 1 November that Putin would not sign such a decree as it was “not needed”. The refusal to issue such a decree raises the risk that the mobilisation could be restarted at short notice.  

On 10 December the human rights group Memorial reported that at least 10 men of ‘non-slavic appearance’ were detained and forcibly conscripted into the military in Moscow. The men were detained by plainclothes officers on the street and at their workplace. This came amid concerns that Russian was planning a second wave of mobilisation.

MOTW Russia 30 September (2).png

Source: VOA

Since the announcement of the partial mobilisation, thousands of men have left the country. According to some estimates, over 300,000 people have escaped and the number is still increasing. Some reports even emerged that 700,000 people have left the country, though this could not be confirmed.  Georgia and Kazakhstan report extremely long queues at their borders. Rumours that Russia would close its borders on 28 September or after Putin's annexation of the four Russia-occupied regions of Ukraine were rife, although authorities did limit access to South Ossetia. While no broad ban has not been introduced thus far, the risk remains high. Russia has also reportedly opened draft centres at its border with Georgia, handing over draft notices to queueing men and preventing them from leaving.  On 18 October Kazakh authorities reported that the number of Russians entering the country had decreased and that it is smaller than a number of Russians leaving the country. 

Since the announcement of partial mobilisation on 21 September, cities and towns across Russia have reported arson attacks against military draft centres known as voenkomaty and city administration buildings. The modus operandi appeared to be the same nationwide - unidentified arsonists throwing Molotov cocktails into the building and escaping. One such arsonist was reportedly arrested and will be tried for carrying out a terrorist attack.  However, the attacks appear to have ceased in October although this could have been caused by an increased crackdown on reporting on such incidents. This map from AKE's Global Intake shows the reported incidents between 21 September and 29 September. 

Source: Google Earth

Putin's partial mobilisation appears to target mainly non-ethnic Russians, particularly in the Northern Caucasus republics and regions in the east. For example, in Endirei - a Dagestani village with a population of slightly over 8,000 people - over 100 men were drafted in the first days of the mobilisation. 


Source: Meduza


Source: ICTV


Given geographic proximity and historic ties with the Kremlin, European countries are among those most affected by the war in Ukraine. The invasion has created a number of issues, challenges and changes - different in each country. However, it has completely altered the security environment in Europe, forcing countries to change foreign policy toward Moscow.  We have highlighted several countries to demonstrate the different consequences of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine on European states. 

Source of the map: armChart


Russia's hydrocarbon exports to Europe were a contentious issue even prior to its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February. They are now playing a critical role in the wider standoff between the West and the Kremlin. 



On 2 September Russia’s state-owned gas company Gazprom announced that it would indefinitely suspend gas deliveries via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. Gazprom claimed that the shutdown was due to the discovery of an oil leakage while carrying out repairs at the Portovaya compressor station. Siemens Energy insisted that such leaks would not normally result in a shutdown of the pipeline. Indeed Since late-July, Gazprom reduced gas deliveries via NS1 to around 20 per cent of capacity and has struggled to offer consistent reasoning, blaming either faulty equipment or Western sanctions. However, it is clear that Moscow is choking supplies to pile pressure on the West over its support for Ukraine and in retaliation for EU sanctions. On 5 September Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov admitted as much when he stated that supplies via NS1 would “definitely” resume if sanctions were eased.

Russia → Germany 

Source: Google Earth

On 22 February Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz suspended the certification process for the controversial Nord Stream 2 (NS2) pipeline, effectively cancelling it, in response to Moscow’s recognition of the Luhansk People's Republic and Donetsk People's Republic (LNR and DNR). Since its inception NS2 was criticised by Germany’s US and eastern European allies as a diversionary pipeline designed by Moscow to weaken Ukraine by circumventing the payment of transit fees. Successive German governments defended the project as a purely commercial venture but as Russia built up its armed forces ahead of the February invasion, pressure mounted on the new coalition to withdraw its support for the project.

Russia → Germany 



Source: Google Earth



Source: Google Earth

Russia → Turkey  → Bulgaria → Serbia → Hungary

On 27 April Gazprom suspended gas deliveries to Bulgaria – delivered largely via the European branch of the TurkStream pipeline – after the government refused to pay for gas in roubles as requested by the Kremlin for so-called ‘unfriendly countries’. Meanwhile, Gazprom has adopted a more cooperative posture towards Moscow’s most vocal defender among EU member states, Hungary. On 31 August Budapest announced that it had signed a deal with Gazprom for an additional 5.8 million cubic meters of gas per day in addition to a long-term contract already in force, largely via TurkStream.

Russia_mobilisation_AB (1)_edited.jpg




Russian forces launched winter offensive efforts in late January/ early February, focusing on the Donbas region. However, despite making limited advancements around Bakhmut and in Luhansk Oblast, the efforts have generally not led to any major progress. Russia’s mercenary Wagner forces have pushed to capture Bakhmut, attacking Ukrainian communication lines in the area. There is a heightened risk that Ukrainian forces will withdraw to another defensive line near Slovyansk or Kramatorsk. Russian offensive towards Vuhledar launched on 26 January have been largely unsuccessful, with Russian forces having significant casualties.


On 8 November Russian military leadership ordered the withdrawal of its troops from the western bank of the Dnieper River , including from the city of Kherson, claiming that it was no longer possible to keep the city supplied. Russian forces reportedly completed the withdrawal on 11 November, blowing up the strategically important Antonivksy bridge that connects the eastern and western sides of the city. Following the withdrawal, Ukrainian forces have subsequently liberated over 60 towns and villages and Ukrainian officials announced on 12 November that the Ukrainian military administration had returned to Kherson. Ukrainian forces also made progress in Mykolaiv Oblast, liberating Snihurivka - the biggest town occupied by Russian forces - on 8 November. Since the liberation, Russian forces have shelled Ukrainian positions north of the Dnieper River on near-daily basis, with Ukrainian forces returing fire and shelling Russian positions south of the Dnieper River. In early 2023 Russian forces also intensified attacks along Zaporizhzhia Oblast front but have made no advancements. 

Missile attacks 

On 10 October Russian forces launched a barrage of missile and drone strikes targeting Ukraine's infrastructure facilities and civilian targets. The Kremlin claimed that the move was a retaliation for the explosion on the Crimea bridge on 8 October but it also marked a change of Russian strategy following the appointment of Sergei Surovikin - an advocate of missile strikes against infrastructure and civilian targets -as the commander of Russian forces in Ukraine. Russian forces have continued to strike energy facilities and civilian targets on daily basis since 10 October and such attacks show no signs of abating. On 17 October President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that approximately 30 per cent of the country's power stations had been destroyed by Russian missile strikes since 10 October, causing widespread blackouts nationwide. Russian forces are likely to continue targeting energy facilities, although on 10 November Ukrainian Air Force Command spokesperson Yuriy Ignat stated that Russian forces are likely to reduce the pace of their campaign to strike Ukrainian critical infrastructure.  He added that Russian forces were stockpiling weapons to launch further massive missile attacks as daily strikes have proven to be less effective. On 15 November Russian forces launched another massive barrage of strikes targeting infrastructure facilities nationwide.  Ukrainian Air Forces stated that approximately 100 missiles were launched, exceeding the number of missiles launched on 10 October. While Russian forces may reduce the pace and not target infrastructure facilities on daily bases, further such massive attacks should be expected, particularly following any further Russian military setbacks. 

Russian forces have continued with this strategy after General Staff Gerasimov replaced Surovikin as the commander of Russian forces in Ukraine. There are concerns that Russian forces could escalate the barrages of missile and drone strikes ahead of and on the one-year anniversary of the invasion on 24 February. The risk of such major barrages is partially mitigated by the recent improvement of Ukrainian air defences. However, it can still cause major civilian casualties and blackouts. 



Energy prices are expected to remain volatile as the EU continues to target the Russian energy sector with sanctions and Moscow threatens to weaponise its oil supplies after having cut natural gas supplies to Europe in 2022. At the same time, EU sanctions on Russian oil have not led to the dramatic energy market disruptions that many oil traders anticipated. Following an EU ban on imports of Russian crude oil and a G7-backed price cap of US$60 per barrel on the latter which took effect in December 2022, oil prices dropped to their lowest levels in the year. The price cap forced Russia to trade its oil at a discount and in January 2023, Russia’s Urals oil was trading at around US$50 per barrel, down from a peak of US$100 in March 2022. On 5 February the EU banned imports of Russian refined petroleum products and implemented a G7-backed price cap of US$100 per barrel on Moscow’s premium oil products like diesel and US$45 per barrel on low-end products like fuel oil. The ban effectively severed the EU’s ties to its biggest foreign supplier of diesel and will further damage Russia’s energy export revenues. An exceptionally warm winter in Europe calmed fears of energy shortages and led to lower-than-predicted energy prices. However, EU countries have advised their residents to continue lowering their energy consumption as China’s economic re-opening and resurging demand for energy has led traders to anticipate heightened energy prices throughout 2023. Moscow also warned it would cut its oil production by 500,000 barrels a day - 5 per cent of its monthly output - in March in response to Western sanctions, which would trigger further energy price volatility.

Energy prices to remain volatile 

European oil and gas infrastructure at risk of sabotage attacks 

On 26 September the Danish Energy Agency reported that it had discovered two leaks at the Nord Stream 1 pipeline northeast of Bornholm island and one on the Nord Stream 2 (NS2) pipeline southeast of the island. On 27 September European leaders and officials stated that explosions at the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines were likely the results of sabotage. The Kremlin – which owns both pipelines via state-owned gas company Gazprom – also stated that it could not rule out sabotage. Russian state media blamed the US, while Kyiv and some Western officials accused Moscow of carrying out a 'terrorist attack'. It remains uncertain whether Moscow was behind the attack but the incident raised concerns that other oil and gas installations could meet similar fates, particularly the newly open Nordic Pipeline that connects Poland and Norway. Oslo announced on 28 September that it would deploy its military to protect its oil and gas installations. Russia also claimed it had prevented an act of sabotage on the TurkStream pipeline on Russian territory and accused Kyiv of the attack, although the alleged incident could not be verified. The risk of further attacks - either physical or hybrid - will remain high in the coming months.





Russia’s September 2022 partial mobilisation has proved to make an impact on the battlefield. Russian forces were able to strengthen their defence lines, making it more difficult for Ukrainian counteroffensives to break through them. It remains uncertain how many soldiers have been already deployed to the battlefield and how many are still being trained, although some reports indicate that approximately 150,000 troops are still in Russia. Military analysts expect that the number will be insufficient for Russian forces to achieve their primary military goal of capturing the Donbas region. However, another wave of mobilisation could again shake Putin’s popularity among Russians and it is, therefore, possible that he will attempt to delay the decision or choose a different strategy than in September 2022.


In November 2022 data showed that Russia’s national output shrunk for the second consecutive quarter and the economy officially entered a recession. At the same time, its economy proved to be surprisingly resilient and suffered a smaller contraction than predicted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a result of energy exports and stable domestic demand. However, Moscow is unlikely to benefit from high energy prices in 2023 as much as in the previous year since the EU has banned Russian oil imports and pledged to reduce imports of Russian gas by two-thirds by 2023. The EU and G7 price caps will likely force Moscow to trade its oil at a discount. On 11 January the US Treasury stated that the price cap was already damaging Russia’s revenues, with energy researchers claiming that the ban costs Moscow approximately US$171.9m per day. The ban on refined oil products is expected to increase this loss by an additional US$120m a day. On 10 January Moscow’s Finance Minister Anton Siluanov reported a US$47bln budget deficit for 2022 – the second highest since the fall of the Soviet Union. Moscow is thus likely to increasingly struggle to finance its war in Ukraine as oil and gas revenues – which traditionally account for nearly half of state revenues – fell by over 46 per cent in January compared to the same month in 2022.

Division in military 

Following Ukraine's recapture of Lyman in October 2022, Chechnya's leader Ramzan Kadyrov harshly criticised the commander of the Central Military District, Colonel General Alexander Lapin, as well as Russia's General Staff for the defeat. Such criticism - increasingly voiced by political and military figures and military bloggers - may lead to a change in military leadership. The first change saw the appointment of Sergei Surovikin as the commander of Russian forces in Ukraine. Surovikin is known to be an advocate of attacks against critical infrastructure and civilian targets. Kadyrov and the leader of the Wagner military group Yevgeny Prigozhin - who had previously also criticised Russia's military leadership - welcomed his appointment. However, in January Surovikin was removed from the post and replaced by Russia’s General Staff Valery Gerasimov. There have been a number of speculations about the reason behind this decision, including that it was fuelled by a power struggle among Russia’s military elite and Surovikin’s growing power. It could have also been Moscow's attempt to increase the productivity and efficiency of its military by reducing bureaucratic processes between different units under the leadership of Gerasimov. Finally, the Kremlin might have also sought to consolidate power in hands of Gerasimov to limit any potential power struggles and/ or an increase in alternative groups' - most notably the mercenary Wagner Group's - popularity and autonomy. 


If you would like more information on AKE's bespoke reporting services or a free trial of our online country risk platform Global Intake, simply email our Analytical team at

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