Ukraine Russia Crisis: Terrorism Briefing

Mar 02, 2022
  • Description

On 24 February 2022, Russia launched an attack on Ukraine. Figure 1 highlights that the invasion comes after a decade of deteriorating relations between Russia, Ukraine and the West.

This brief covers several aspects relating to the current Ukrainian war, including the frequency of past acts of terrorism in Russia, Ukraine and Georgia and covers likely future scenarios. It also analyses cyberattacks on Ukraine over the last decade and lead up to the current war.

The main finding is that terrorism increases with the intensity of conflict. Both the Georgian conflict in 2008 and the Ukrainian conflict of 2014 saw substantial spikes in terrorist activity around the wars, and as the current war intensifies increased terrorist activity should be expected.

Secondly, cyberattacks on Ukraine have markedly increased over the last decade, and especially in the months and weeks leading up to the war. Further, cyberattacks have the potential to unintentionally spill over into other countries because of global connectivity, the effects of which have been seen on numerous occasions. As cyberattacks by nefarious actors are a recent phenomenon, and given the difficulty in the attribution of such attacks, the demarcation between what constitutes a cyberattack, cyber warfare or cyber terrorism are unclear. Regardless, this briefing looks at the broad phenomena of cyberattacks in Ukraine to offer background on recent events.