Wed, Mar 07, 2018 - Page 9 News List

The world is at war, but most conflicts are not between nations

Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Yemen, Afghanistan and Ukraine — the globe is scarred by violence

By Jason Burke  /  The Observer

Thousands — fighters and civilians — have died.

Late last year, aid agencies warned that 4.4 million people have been directly affected by the continuing hostilities, while 3.8 million need urgent assistance.

The war’s roots lie in 2013, when tens of thousands protested in Kiev and elsewhere, accusing the then-government of backtracking on plans to sign a EU trade deal following pressure from the Kremlin.

The government used violence against the protesters, who ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych the following year.

This led to unrest in Russophone areas in east and south Ukraine. Fighting between government forces and Russia-backed separatists continued into 2015, with Moscow denying Kiev’s claims that it was sending troops and heavy weapons to the region.

The “Minsk agreement” stipulated a ceasefire and a special constitutional status for the rebel-held territories of the Donbass region, which would reintegrate into Ukraine and hold elections.

None of that has come into effect and the number of ceasefire violations runs into the thousands.

More than 100 Ukrainian troops were killed in the Donbass region last year, according to official figures.

A squalid, but deadly conflict has ground on since on the very borders of Europe, receiving ever less attention from the international community.

Why has the war lasted so long?

Moscow has little intention of abandoning hard-won gains, despite pressure from economic sanctions.

Europe and the US do not want to risk a confrontation.

Sentiments within Ukraine are as polarized as ever.

Dubbed an “invisible” or “frozen” conflict, there is little sign of any shift that might break the deadlock.

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