A year after Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, the conflict continues to reverberate in ways large and small across the world. It has touched off a refugee crisis and spurred a realignment of European politics, with nations that were once on the fence about NATO membership now hedging their bets by expressing support for Ukraine. And it has reenergized the Western arms industry, with the U.S. and other allies funneling tens of billions of dollars worth of military equipment to Ukraine, including sophisticated new anti-tank rockets such as the Javelin.
The Ukrainians fighting on the front lines have benefited from Western help, but they also have their own advantages. Many have accumulated valuable combat experience during Ukraine’s war against Russian proxies in the Donbas region, which has been going on since 2014. And their country now boasts an array of state-of-the-art military hardware, thanks to generous donations by Western governments and companies.
The Russians have also incurred major costs. They are waging a campaign of destabilization that has left parts of the country in a state of near-constant warfare, and they’ve wreaked destruction on cities, towns, farmland, and water sources that will plague the nation long after the war ends. And in a step that may have ratcheted up the diplomatic cost of Russia’s aggression, the International Criminal Court this month assumed jurisdiction over potential war crimes committed by both sides in Ukraine. It is unclear, however, how much of a deterrent that will be.