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Conflict and Peace

Stories related to violent conflicts, diplomatic tensions, and conflict prevention, mediation and resolution.

Violence rocks the Holy Land
Violence in Jerusalem, in Israel and in the Palestinian territories over the last days  has shaken the fragile peace in the Holy Land once more, despite calls for restraint by the international community. On Saturday (28 January), an assailant shot and wounded two people in east Jerusalem, Israeli medics said, hours after a Palestinian gunman killed seven outside a synagogue in one of the deadliest such attacks in years. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday that Israel's response to an attack by a Palestinian gunman attack that killed seven people on the outskirts of Jerusalem will be "strong, swift and precise" . The mass shooting unfolded as a 21-year-old resident of Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem drove up to the synagogue in the Neve Yaakov neighborhood and opened fire during the Jewish Sabbath. The bloodshed, which unfolded on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, marked another dramatic escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Nine people had been killed Thursday in what Israel described as a “counter-terrorism” operation in the Jenin refugee camp. It was one of the deadliest Israeli army raids in the occupied West Bank since the second intifada, or Palestinian uprising, of 2000 to 2005. Israel said Islamic Jihad operatives were the target. Islamic Jihad and Hamas both vowed to retaliate, later firing several rockets at Israeli territory. Most of the rockets were intercepted by Israeli air defenses. The military responded with strikes on Hamas targets in Gaza. There were no injuries reported on either side, but Gaza’s armed groups vowed further action. After the synagogue shooting, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said the attack proved “the resistance knows how to find the appropriate response” to Israeli “crimes.” At least 26 Israelis and 200 Palestinians were killed across Israel and the Palestinian territories in 2022, the majority in the West Bank, according to an AFP tally from official sources.
dennis2020 Sun, 01/29/2023 - 05:53 Deployment of the EU monitoring mission to Armenia: A view from Azerbaijan

On January 23, the Council of the European Union (EU) agreed to establish a civilian monitoring mission in Armenia’s border areas in order to “ensure an environment conducive to normalization efforts between Armenia and Azerbaijan”. The deployment of the mission has caused mixed reactions in the two countries and frustrated Russia, writes Vasif Huseynov in this op-ed for commonspace.eu.

patrickn97 Thu, 01/26/2023 - 14:53

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Putin orders Orthodox Christmas ceasefire, rejected by Ukraine
Following an appeal from Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a 36-hour ceasefire along the front line in Ukraine over Orthodox Christmas. Scheduled to begin on Friday at 12pm Moscow time, the ceasefire ordered by Putin was quickly rejected by the Ukrainians. The Ukrainian presidential advisor Mikhailo Podolyak responded by saying that "[The Russian Federation] must leave the occupied territories - only then will it have a 'temporary truce'". He added that Russia should "keep hypocrisy to yourself". Over the New Year celebrations, Russia launched one of its biggest drone attacks on critical infrastructure and main population centres in Ukraine since the start of its full-scale war. Ukraine says that it successfully destroyed all 84 of the drones that Russia launched over the New Year period. Patriarch Kirill had asked "all the parties involved" in the conflict to "cease fire and establish a Christmas truce". A subsequent statement by the Kremlin read: "Taking into consideration the appeal by [Kirill], the president hereby instructs the minister of defence of the Russian Federation to impose a ceasefire regime along the entire line of contact in Ukraine", ending at midnight on Sunday.
patrickn97 Thu, 01/05/2023 - 18:13
Ukraine shoots down almost 500 Iranian drones since September amid warnings of further attacks

The Ukrainian Armed Forces have shot down almost 500 Iranian drones since September, the spokesman of the Ukrainian Air Force announced on Tuesday (3 January).

Speaking during a television interview, Yurii Ihnat added that the Ukrainian Armed Forces had also destroyed all 84 drones launched by Russia during the massive drone attack over the New Year holidays.

patrickn97 Tue, 01/03/2023 - 14:37
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News
Ukraine under massive Russian attack

Ukraine under massive Russian attack

Cities across Ukraine have been targeted by a wave of Russian missile strikes, in one of the largest bombardments since the war began. At least three people - including a 14-year-old girl - were taken to hospital after explosions hit the capital Kyiv, Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko said. Blasts were also heard in the cities of Kharkiv, Odesa, Lviv and Zhytomyr. Ukraine's military said 69 missiles were launched, with air defences intercepting 54 of them. Earlier, presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said more than 120 missiles had been launched at civilian infrastructure. The air raid lasted for close to five hours and the regional leader of the southern province of Odesa, Maksym Marchenko, spoke of a "massive missile attack on Ukraine". The Ukrainian Air Force said Russia attacked the country from "various directions with air and sea-based cruise missiles". It added that a number of Kamikaze drones had also been used. As air raid alerts sounded in all regions of the country, presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych urged civilians to seek shelter and said the country's air defences were operating.
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Opinion
Opinion: 2022 - a year of high expectations tempered by dire realities

Opinion: 2022 - a year of high expectations tempered by dire realities

After the wave of diplomatic activities in late September – early October 2022, it seemed that the idea of signing a peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan by the end of 2022 was more than a dream. However, November – December 2022 proved that pessimists were closer to reality. After Russia re-inserted itself in the negotiation process by organizing a new trilateral leaders' summit on October 31, 2022, and Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers met in Washington on November 7, 2022; the peace process stalled. In the current situation, the external players involved in the negotiations and interested in preventing a resumption of hostilities should focus on preserving the fragile stability that emerged after September aggression by Azerbaijan. In this context, the resumption of the Brussels format of negotiations is of utmost importance. Otherwise, the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and Armenia – Azerbaijan relations risk becoming another pawn in Russia – US confrontation, with negative implications for all sides.
President Zelensky addresses US Congress
The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, on his first foreign visit since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24th February 2022, has addressed the US Congress in person. This followed being welcomed to the White House by US President Joe Biden and the First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, and a wider American-Ukrainian discussion on the ongoing war during which US Vice-President Kamala Harris and Secretary of Defence Lloyd J. Austin III were also present. During his address to the US Congress, President Zelensky delivered a defiant speech in which he said that "against all odds and doom and gloom scenarios, Ukraine did not fall. Ukraine is alive and kicking", adding that his country would never surrender. Referring to other conflicts in Russia's so-called "near abroad", Zelensky said that "this battle cannot be frozen or postponed. It cannot be ignored hoping that the ocean or something else will provide a protection." Zelensky's visit comes amid concerns from Republicans over the cost of American military aid to Ukraine. His address can be seen in large part as an attempt to assuage those worries and make the case for long-term American support for Ukraine's military. He notably said that "Your money is not charity, it's an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way."
patrickn97 Thu, 12/22/2022 - 09:48
Ukraine to increase Belarus border defence after Putin-Lukashenko meeting

Ukraine has announced on Monday (19 December) that it is increasing defenses along its northern border with Belarus amid concern that Russia may be preparing a second assault on Kyiv.

In conversation with BBC Ukraine, Deputy Interior Minister Yevhen Yenin said: "We are building up our defence lines all across the border with Russia and with Belarus." An increase in Russian military hardware and personnel in Belarus has been noted over the past few weeks.

patrickn97 Tue, 12/20/2022 - 11:32
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News
EU continues to develop its tools in support of its objective to contribute to peace in the South Caucasus.

EU continues to develop its tools in support of its objective to contribute to peace in the South Caucasus.

The European Union continues to develop its tools in support of its objective to contribute to peace and security in the South Caucasus.  On Monday (19 December), the EU Monitoring Capacity in Armenia (EUMCAP), launched in October, completed its mandate. Based on the agreement between the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan, European Council and France, the EUMCAP was deployed on 20 October along the Armenian side of the international border with Azerbaijan with the objective of monitoring, analysing and reporting on the situation on the ground. EU leaders, meeting in Brussels last week, assessed the wotk of the mission and the way forward. A statement by the European External Action Service on Monday stated that, "the Council – in agreement with Armenia’s authorities - decided that the existing EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM Georgia) will deploy a transitional planning assistance team in Armenia to enhance the EU’s awareness of the security situation, and contribute to the planning and preparation of a possible civilian CSDP mission in the country. The transitional planning assistance team is also expected to support the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, in the EU-facilitated normalisation process between Armenia and Azerbaijan."
Russia holds tactical military exercises in Belarus

Russian soldiers re-deployed to Belarus in October 2022 will soon start holding tactical military exercises there, Russian news agency Interfax reported, based on information from the Russian Ministry of Defence.

It is not yet clear when and where in the country the exercises will take place. According to authorities, nine thousand Russian troops were reportedly moved to Belarus in October. Russian President Vladimir Putin is travelling to Minsk on Monday (19 December) to meet his counterpart Belarusian President Vladimir Lukashenko.

Maximiliaan va… Mon, 12/19/2022 - 12:37
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Opinion
Opinion: 2022 started promising from the perspective of peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan but prospects for 2023 are bleak

Opinion: 2022 started promising from the perspective of peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan but prospects for 2023 are bleak

Russia's attempts to show Armenia and Azerbaijan its red lines during the summit in Sochi on 31 October disrupted a positive moment in Armenia-Azerbaijan relations that had been ongoing throughout 2022. A deterioration in Azerbaijan-Iran relations has further hightened tensions in the region. "One can foresee that new escalations and hostilities will be imminent, if the peace efforts fail to deliver tangible outcomes between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and if some external actors continue to fuel the tensions in the region", writes Vasif Huseynov in this op-ed for commonspace.eu.