Russia’s War in Ukraine

On Thursday 24 February, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the launch of, in his words, a “special military operation” in Ukraine. Russian airstrikes on military and other infrastructure near Ukrainian cities were followed by massive troop advances from the north, east and south. Despite fierce Ukrainian resistance, Russian forces have reached the capital Kyiv, where fighting rages on the city’s streets. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on all Ukrainians to arm themselves to defend their homeland. Notwithstanding months of warnings, as perhaps as many as 200,000 Russian troops have massed at the Ukrainian border, the Kremlin’s invasion has left Europe, and indeed much of the world, in shock. It seems inevitable that it will exact a terrible human toll. 

This week on Hold Your Fire! Richard Atwood and guest host, Crisis Group’s president & CEO Comfort Ero are joined by Olga Oliker, our Europe & Central Asia director to discuss Russia’s aggression. They look at what’s happening on the ground, what the next few days could bring and what happens if the Zelenskyy government falls and the Russians try to install a pliant regime in Kyiv. They talk about the mood in Moscow and reactions to Russia’s invasion from around the world, including in China. They also talk through the Western response – the extent and impact of sanctions, what a NATO build-up would entail and whether Western powers should back Ukrainian resistance and what that might involve. They discuss the impact of Russia’s invasion on wider global affairs.  

For more of Crisis Group’s analysis, visit our Ukraine regional page, and make sure to read our recent statement ‘ War in Europe: Responding to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine’. Comfort and Richard also discuss the Ukraine crisis in their piece, ‘10 Conflicts To Watch in 2022.

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