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HomeGeopolitical CompassEurope, Russia, OceaniaRussia Won’t Let Ukraine Go Without a Fight

Russia Won’t Let Ukraine Go Without a Fight

Authors: Michael Kimmage and Michael Kofman 

Affiliation: Catholic University of America and the German Marshall Fund. Former Policy Planning Staff at the US State Dept (2014-2016, Russia/Ukraine portfolio); Center for Naval Analyses and the Center for a New American Security

Organization/Publisher: Foreign Affairs

Date/Place: November 22, 2021/USA

Type of Literature: Article

Word Count: 2451


Keywords: Ukraine, Russia, NATO


In this article, the authors discuss the possibility of a Russian military attack on the Ukraine. Moscow has quietly reinforced its forces along the Ukrainian border over several months. Russia has good reason to invest in the regional status quo. It annexed Crimea in 2014, falling back with one of the largest land grabs in Europe since World War II. This event would redraw the map of Europe once again and upset Washington’s efforts to stabilize its relationship with Russia. The position of Russian power does not suggest that an invasion is imminent. No Russian political decision is likely to be taken to launch a military operation. At the same time, the Ukraine is expanding its partnerships with the United States, the United Kingdom, and other NATO countries. The United States has provided lethal military assistance, and NATO is helping to train the Ukrainian army. Russia has slowly shifted from viewing Ukraine’s NATO membership as a red line to opposing Ukraine’s growing structural defense cooperation with its Western opponents. From the Kremlin’s point of view, Zelensky’s administration appears weak and increasingly desperate to find domestic support. It has done little to reduce corruption or separate the Ukraine from its long tradition of oligarchy. No less important are Russia’s domestic stance and broader geopolitical developments. Putin’s regime appears secure, and the opposition is severely repressed. Moscow has rebuilt its financial position since Western sanctions in 2014 and currently has about $620 billion in foreign currency reserves. However, the conflict has masked instability in Europe. Whether or not war breaks out in the Ukraine in the coming months, the United States and its European allies need to be more honest about the current diplomatic impasse in which they find themselves. Washington needs to tackle it head-on with the competition intensifying between the world’s two major nuclear powers. This is neither a luxury nor a mirage. It is a necessity.

By: Taqwa Abu Kmeil, CIGA Research Assistant



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