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Current Russian Wars and Conflicts

Current Russian Wars and Conflicts of 2022

The Wars of Russia


Russia Map (courtesy of CIA)

Russia is engaged in several military conflicts around the world, with the potential for a major war in Ukraine. Here is a short history of Russia with details on recent and current Russian wars and military conflicts and interventions.

The nation of Russia, officially identified as the Russian Federation, is the largest nation in the world in terms of land size. Stretching from Eastern Europe to the Pacific Ocean, Russia is an multi-ethnic nation where the Russian people form the dominant ethnic group with about 81% of the total population.

The history of Russia as a nation goes back to the formation of Kievan Rus in the 900s AD/CE. From that time until the Russian Revolution of 1917, Russia was a monarchy, ruled by a king or czar. With the Russian Revolution, the monarchy was abolished, the last czar and his family killed, and a Communist dictatorship took power, changing the nation’s name to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or USSR. Often referred to as the Soviet Union, this Communist version of Russia survived the Second World War, losing approximately 20 million dead in that conflict. The war ended with Soviet Russian armies in control of most of Eastern Europe and the eastern third of Germany.


The Soviets and the United States then engaged in the Cold War, a world-wide conflict in which threats were made, nuclear weapons brandished, and proxy wars supported by both sides waged around the globe. The Soviet Union’s last major war was the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, which ended in a Soviet withdrawal and failure. Less than three years later, the Communist regime collapsed in December, 1991, and the Russian Federation was declared an independent nation.


However, several regions of the old Soviet state also declared independence, from the Baltic States to Ukraine and the Central Asian Republics. Over time, this became an issue as Russia under her current leader, Vladimir Putin, who once said that the fall of the Soviet Union was a tragedy for Russia, seeks to restore Russia’s strategic power and status in the world.


A List of Current Russian Wars and Conflicts:


The Donbass War– (2014-Present)-This conflict between Russia and Ukraine in the easternmost parts of Ukraine began shortly after Russia seized and annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea earlier in 2014. Russia claims they are merely supporting ethnic Russian separatists who are fighting for autonomy from Ukraine, but Russian regular military forces have been heavily involved in the fighting. This border conflict is in essence, a war between Russia and Ukraine.


Russian Intervention in Syrian Civil War (2015-Present)-Russian military forces, primarily air assets, and special forces troops, intervened to support long-time Russian ally, Syrian President Bashir Assad in the civil war. Russian forces specifically engaged against a wide variety of anti-Assad forces, including rebels supported by Turkey, other rebel groups supported by the United States, and also against Islamist groups such as the Islamic State.


Russian military support has enabled Assad to survive, and, as of early 2022, for all intents and purposes, it appears as if Assad’s regime has survived the civil war.


The Russian-Syrian alliance goes back to the 1960s, when the Soviet Union and the Syrian government first worked together as Cold War allies against Israel and her ally, the United States.


Russian Intervention in Kazakhstan Unrest (January, 2022)-Massive unrest in Kazakhstan, another former Soviet Republic, prompted the Putin government to send troops to aid the Kazakh government against huge anti-government protests and riots.


Russian Invasion Tension with Ukraine (2022) – As of January 23, 2022, Russian military forces have spent several weeks mobilizing along the border with Ukraine, as Putin’s government engages in talks with the U.S. and NATO. Between 100,000 and 150,000 ground, air, and naval forces have mobilized, creating a very real fear of a large-scale invasion with the possible intentions of engaging in a major war. Russia is also sending troops to allied Belarus, which has long borders with Ukraine, Poland, and Lithuania. The outlook for a major war involving Russia and Ukraine remains high.


In addition to these ongoing military conflicts, Russian forces are also found in other former Soviet regions, including in Moldova, where they prop up a separatist regime called the Trans Dniester Republic (Russian forces had intervened in a war there in the 1990s). Russian forces also assist separatists in Georgoia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russia engaged in a short, victorious war against Georgia in 2008 to secure those separatist regions.


Russian forces are also involved in the Russian southern Caucasus region, (Chechnya and Dagestan), where Islamist militants were defeated in the two Chechen Wars and the Dagestan War. While those conflicts are officially concluded, Islamist forces are still agitating against Russian rule.


It should also be noted that Russian foreign policy makes use of Russian mercenary companies that supply troops and equipment in conflicts throughout the world. These mercenaries, in particular the Wagner Group, are seen by many, including the United States, as working hand-in-hand with the Russian government to further Moscow’s goals. These Russian mercenaries are currently (2022), fighting in Syria, Mali, Mozambique, Central African Republic, and in Ukraine.


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