Why is Russia Waging War in Ukraine?

While there is no definitive answer to the question of why Russia is waging a war in Ukraine, the United States has made clear that it will not take a side in the conflict. President Putin has ordered the deployment of a massive arsenal of missiles and rockets along Ukraine’s border. This move shows Russia’s commitment to its eastern neighbors, but it could also backfire if it is perceived to be threatening to NATO.

Russia and Ukraine have tried to stop the fighting by meeting at the border of Belarus, but the talks broke down. The next day, high-level officials from Russia and Ukraine met again, but to no avail. Moscow is insisting that Ukraine demilitarize and accept a neutral role, while Kiev is pushing for more military aid and ascension into Western bodies. While the fighting continues, Ukraine has signed an application for membership in the European Union.

The conflict is currently unrest-filled with no clear answer to the question of what to do next, and high-stakes questions loom over the escalating tensions. RAND’s work on the conflict and the Russian invasion of Ukraine can be invaluable in helping the international community help those fleeing the fighting in Ukraine and mitigate the risks of an even larger war between NATO and Russia. In short, RAND is providing valuable real-time insights into the conflict.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict has significantly affected U.S.-Russian relationship and increased the risk of a wider European conflict. In addition to the post-Soviet area, tensions are likely to continue between Russia and NATO member countries, including the United States. Further, this conflict may have broad consequences for cooperation on critical issues like cybersecurity, counterterrorism, and other critical areas. If this isn’t resolved soon, it could lead to more conflict.