Ukraine Programme


What began as a protest on the Maidan in Kyiv in favour of reform and against corruption ended with the rapid downfall of Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovich, and in turn opened the door to a crisis that reached all parts of society. The peninsula of Crimea was occupied and then annexed by Russia following a widely criticised referendum, and an armed uprising in Donbas, in the east of Ukraine, brought incalculable destruction, human loss, economic decline and the emergence of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) – the non-government controlled areas of Ukraine (NGCA).

Initially seen as a temporary upheaval, many did not predict the severity of the violence that would take hold of the east. The peace talks in the Belarus capital of Minsk, negotiated in the Normandy Format of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany, stabilised the line of contact separating the NGCA from the rest of Ukraine and brought an end to large-scale violence, but failed to end the conflict altogether.

How ordinary citizens experience conflict

More than 9,000 people have lost their lives and more than 20,000 have been injured.
More than 2 million have been displaced both within Ukraine and in neighbouring countries, mainly Russia.​
Frequent ceasefire violations have provided a steady drip-feed of violence that causes further casualties and destruction, but also undermines trust across the conflict divide.

Our work

A peacebuilding agenda to bridge the divide

Ukraine Meeting
Our work in Ukraine started in 2015, when we trained a pool of civil society activists in peacebuilding and confidence building. In 2016, we conducted research focusing on views held by local populations regarding prospects for peace and peace initiatives undertaken in the east of Ukraine, with a view to proposing an agenda of peacebuilding work for local and international organisations. In January 2017, we published a Policy Briefing that reflects on the present situation in the east of Ukraine as experienced by the populations on both sides of the line of contact in the east – in the NGCA of LNR and DNR, and with areas under government control. The paper seeks to contextualise these differing experiences and aims to propose a peacebuilding agenda for local and international organisations.