The number of people killed in wars and conflicts has almost doubled in the past year. At least 237,000 people were killed in military conflicts in 2022, according to scientists from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) at the University of Uppsala, Sweden.

This corresponds to an increase of 97 percent compared to the previous year and the highest number since 1994, the year of the genocide in Rwanda. The number of active conflicts around the world remains at a historically high level. The researchers want to publish their results in the July issue of the journal “Journal of Peace Research”.

Especially Ukraine and Ethiopia affected

While there has been a significant de-escalation in Yemen and Afghanistan, the situation in Ethiopia and Ukraine in particular has escalated drastically, said analyst Shawn Davies. These two wars alone resulted in at least 180,000 combat-related deaths – and these are low estimates that will likely be revised significantly upwards as more information becomes available.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022. The civil war in Ethiopia between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the government has raged since late 2020 and ended in November 2022 with a ceasefire and negotiations for a peace deal.

It is widely believed that Russia’s war in Ukraine was the bloodiest conflict of 2022, Davies said. In fact, more people were killed in Ethiopia. Based on the UCDP data, the Oslo Peace Research Institute Prio also announced that more than 100,000 people died in Ethiopia in 2022, and more than 81,000 in the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.

The UCDP is considered the oldest collection of data on conflicts in the world. In 2022, it recorded 55 different conflicts with state involvement. If you add non-state conflicts, for example between rebel groups or rival drug cartels in Mexico, then the figure is 82. Conflicts that result in at least 1,000 combat-related deaths in a calendar year are classified by the researchers as war.