From the Balkans in 1991 to present-day Ukraine: Thirty years of conflict in Europe after the fall of the USSR

From the war in the Balkans to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Europe has been the scene of numerous conflicts over the past three decades, with the symbolic destruction of the Berlin Wall beginning in 1989 and the end of the Cold War, in total, affecting more than 200,000 people. Here is a list of them

1991-95: Balkans

Communist Yugoslavia broke up in a series of bloody wars in the 1990s. The first conflict between the Belgrade-backed Croatian forces and the Serbian minority began after Croatia declared independence on 25 June 1991. The war lasted four years, and ended when Croatian troops regained control of the territories in the hands of Serbian separatists, costing 20,000 lives. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, the declaration of independence in 1992, after the Serbian community boycotted a referendum, resulted in a three-and-a-half-year war between Muslims, Serbs and Croats, in which 100,000 people were killed, two-thirds of them Bosnians.

1991-94 and 2020: Nagorno-Karabakh

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, war broke out in Nagorno-Karabakh, an Azerbaijani territory inhabited by Armenians. The conflict caused 30,000 deaths. A ceasefire in 1994 sanctified the actual construction of a self-proclaimed republic under Armenian control. A new conflict began in the autumn of 2020, killing 6,500 people. It ended with a catastrophic defeat for Armenia, forcing it to give up three territories that created a barrier around Nagorno-Karabakh near Azerbaijan.

1992: North Ossetia

In the Caucasus, North Ossetia was the scene of bloody clashes with Ingushetia in late 1992. The two peripheral regions of the Russian Federation have given rise to clashes that have resulted in hundreds of casualties. Ossetia, backed by Moscow, repulsed an attack by Ingush nationalist forces that claimed an area around Vladikavkaz, the capital of Ossetia.

1992: Transnistria

Transnistria, a Russian-speaking Moldavian region bordering Ukraine, seceded in 1990. Two years later, violence broke out between Moldovan forces and Transnistrian slave militias. 3,000 Russian troops intervened and hundreds died in the conflict, but Transnistria is not recognized as a state by the international community, and Russia is no exception.

1994-96, 1999-2009: Chechnya

In the Caucasus, the Muslim-majority Russian republic was the scene of two tragic clashes between separatists, later Islamists and the Russian military. The death toll is in the thousands. In late 1994, Moscow launched an offensive against the separatist republic, which stubbornly resisted, and was withdrawn by Russian troops two years later. In late 1999, troops returned to Chechnya at the instigation of President Vladimir Putin for a “counter-terrorism operation” and conquered the capital, Grozny. In 2009, Moscow ordered the operation to end.

1998-99: Kosovo

In March 1998, Belgrade launched an offensive against separatists in Kosovo, a Serbian province where the majority Muslim Albanians live. To end the conflict, NATO launched airstrikes in March 1999, which led to the withdrawal of Serbian forces from Kosovo on 10 June. The conflict caused about 13,000 deaths, mostly Albanians.

2008: Georgia

On August 8, 2008, Georgia launched an offensive to regain control of South Ossetia, a Prussian separatist region that declared independence in 1991. Moscow responded by sending troops into Georgian territory and inflicted a fierce defeat on the former within days. Soviet Republic. Soon after, Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another Georgian breakaway province.

2014 and 2022: Ukraine

In 2014, following pro-EU protests on the ground and President Viktor Yanukovych’s flight to Russia, the Russian Federation annexed the Crimean peninsula and backed Prussian separatist rebels in the country’s 40 million inhabitants. The two republics are self-proclaimed. The conflict, which has killed more than 14,000 people since its inception, has intensified since the signing of the Minsk agreement in 2015. But Moscow has launched a massive military strategy around Ukraine in recent months, recognizing the independence of the two pro-Russian republics on February 21 and invading the country through military action on February 24.

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