A Year Into the Russian-Ukrainian Conflict

Russian Vs Ukraine

Throughout the conflict, Ukraine’s surprisingly fierce and resourceful military has forced Russia to pay a heavy price in both lives and territory. A year into the war, Ukraine has taken steps that are likely to make it a more attractive destination for international investment, even as it remains a challenging and dangerous place for foreigners to travel.

Putin’s illegal occupation of Crimea and the port city of Sevastopol was the first step in a strategy to undermine Ukraine’s independence and sovereignty. As former U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote in a 1994 Foreign Affairs article, “Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be an empire; with Ukraine suborned and subordinated, it automatically becomes one.”

Prior to the conflict, Russia sought to lure Ukraine into its Eurasian Economic Union, whose members would enjoy deep discounts on Russian natural gas. But when Ukraine’s then-president Viktor Yanukovych agreed to sign such an agreement, he was spurned by millions of Ukrainians who saw the move as a betrayal of their aspirations for a European future.

In response, Putin launched an all-out invasion. He bombarded cities around the country with missile strikes and sent ground forces into eastern and southern Ukraine, where they quickly seized control of large areas, including the border towns of Kharkiv and Kherson. He proclaimed that Ukraine was being run by a pro-Nazi junta and that Russians were being persecuted. His claims were backed up only by thin evidence, but the Kremlin’s propaganda machine was running at full speed.