About the War
The conflict between Russian and Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine is the most serious armed clash since World War II. The battle is threatening to destabilize the global security order and jeopardize the historic bonds between Russia and Ukraine.
Despite the ongoing violence, most European leaders are determined to support Kyiv and its military. They have boosted defense, economic, and humanitarian assistance to the country, as well as ramped up their sanctions on Russia.
Putin’s Approach to Ukraine
The Kremlin has framed the conflict in Ukraine as an unconstitutional, Western-backed coup against Ukraine’s elected government and threatened to use nuclear weapons. Moscow also has vowed to defend the ethnic Russian majority living in Crimea and the Donbas, arguing that their presence is essential for preserving the territorial integrity of the Russian state.
Putin’s stance on the conflict has deep roots in his politics and his belief that the identity of Russians and Ukrainians is an organic unity whose essence cannot be destroyed. His claim that foreign enemies are promoting the Ukrainian national identity in an effort to undermine Russia’s interests is grounded in a historically minded, anti-democratic philosophy that views foreigners as attempting to undermine the very structure of a powerful nation-state.
While the conflict has been primarily a military confrontation, it has also been a humanitarian crisis affecting women and children in the war-torn areas of eastern Ukraine. Thousands of civilians have been killed and millions of people have fled the country. Many are now stranded and facing life-threatening conditions, including without access to food, water, health care, and other services. The international community must provide protection to these vulnerable populations and help ensure that women and children are able to get access to these crucial resources.