Northern Eurasia 2023: Wagner Group rebellion
On 23 June 2023 the Russian paramilitary Wagner Group—which had born much of the brunt of fighting in Ukraine—went into rebellion, seizing Rostov-on-Don and advancing north to within 200km (125mi) of Moscow. However, a battle over the capital was averted late on the 24th, when the president of Belarus stepped in and helped persuade Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin to stand down.
4 Apr 2023 Finland joins NATO▲
On 18 May 2022, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, both Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership. After opposition from NATO members Hungary and Turkey was resolved in March the following year, Finland became a member of the alliance on 4 April 2023, the 74th anniversary of the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty. Doubling the length of border that NATO shared with Russia, Finland’s accession was condemned by the Russian government, which threatened to respond by increasing the number of nuclear missiles placed in Belarus.
6 Jun 2023 Destruction of the Kakhovka Dam▲
In the early hours of 6 June 2023 the Kakhovka Dam in Ukraine was destroyed, most likely by the Russian military, who controlled the dam at the time and may have wanted to hinder the planned Ukrainian counter-offensive. The destruction of the dam caused extensive flooding along the lower Dnieper river in the Kherson Oblast, forcing thousands to be evacuated, submerging several villages, and leading to at least 58 deaths by 21 June. The loss of the dam also eliminated the 2,155 square km Kakhovka Reservoir, potentially threatening the long-term water supply to Russian-controlled Crimea and the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.
8 Jun–30 Nov 2023 Ukrainian counteroffensive▲
In early June 2023 the Ukrainian Armed Forces launched a major counteroffensive against occupying Russian forces in several areas, most notably the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts. However, progress proved to be slow, hampered by both Russian defenses and flooding along the southern Dnieper river caused by the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam, and by 25 September the Ukrainians had recovered just 370 square kilometers of territory with a pre-war population of little more than 5,000. In November Ukrainian officials admitted that the offensive had not achieved its goals and that the war had arrived at a “stalemate”.
23–24 Jun 2023 Wagner Group rebellion▲
In 2022–23 the Russian paramilitary Wagner Group had born much of the brunt of fighting in Ukraine, particularly around Bakhmut, promoting increasing tensions between Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin and the Russian Ministry of Defence. By 23 June Prigozhin had had enough and that night his forces seized the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, after which they proceeded to advance north past Voronezh to within 200km (125mi) of Moscow the following day. However, a battle over the capital was averted when the Belarussian president Alexander Lukashenko stepped in and persuaded Prigozhin to stand down in return for amnesty some time before 11pm.