Russia is involved in the non-international armed conflicts in Syria, an international armed conflict with Ukraine and a series of military occupations, namely the occupation of Crimea, the occupations of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in Georgia, and the occupation of the Transdniestria in Moldova.
Russia is currently a party to a series of armed conflicts. For further information on who is considered a party to an armed conflict, see ‘contemporary challenges – multinational forces: who is a party to the conflict?’ in our classification section.
- Russia is a party to the non-international armed conflicts in Syria due to its military intervention in support of the Syrian government Syrian consent. Russia initiated airstrikes in Syria in September 2015. T. Gibbons-Neff, ‘This is the Airpower Russia has in Syria’, The Washington Post, 30 September 2015. In January 2017, Russia and Turkey carried out coordinated airstrikes against Islamic State group targets in Syria. ‘Syria Conflict: Russia and Turkey in first joint airstrikes on IS’, BBC, 18 January 2017.
- Russia has been occupying parts of Ukrainian territory, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol ('Crimea'), since March 2014.
- Russia supports the armed groups in the non-international armed conflicts in Ukraine. Evidence suggests that Russia provides training, equipment and weapons to the armed groups. Yet, such support falls short of overall control which would internationalise the conflict. For further information on the notion of overall control, see 'contemporary challenges for classification – control over proxy forces’ in our classification section. Hence, the conflict in Ukraine between the armed groups and the government forces remains non-international. However, due to the presence and resort to force of Russian forces in Ukraine, there is a parallel international armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine.