Russian Vs Ukraine
In February 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a full-scale invasion of Ukraine to overthrow the government in Kyiv. The move triggered a wave of violence that has killed thousands of Ukrainian civilians and destroyed much of the country.
The Ukrainian response has been a remarkable feat of military resistance, with a stalwart resistance recapturing tens of thousands of square miles in Kharkiv and Kherson regions. It has weakened the Russian military, while also undercutting Putin’s hopes of acquiring a permanent foothold in Ukraine.
While the war’s impact has been devastating, it has also deepened a national sense of identity in Ukraine. An August poll showed that 85% of Ukrainians now identify as “Ukrainians” rather than people from any region or ethnic group, a marked contrast to six months earlier, when only 64% did so.
It has imbued the Ukrainian public with a strong negative view of Russia. One journalist has predicted that the resentment will persist for decades to come, as Ukraine attempts to erase its cultural and historical connections with Russia.
The international community needs to be ready to support Ukraine in its efforts to re-establish a negotiated peace. A post-conflict settlement must be based on the principle of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. If Ukrainians choose to negotiate, Europe and the United States need to be ready to join them. And they must ensure that Ukraine’s negotiating partners can be held accountable for their actions under international law, including for the crimes committed against their civilians.