Armed Russian aggression against Ukraine began in 2014 with the illegal 2014 annexation of Crimea and a proxy war in Donbas Everything you need to know about the 2014 Ukraine crisis Click to read article , following Ukrainian demonstrations that led to the ousting of a pro-Russian Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych.
Putin’s regime is repressive Ukraine versus Russia by the numbers Click to read article , and a democratic, prosperous Ukraine poses an indirect threat to the Kremlin’s ability to maintain its repression. Russia has a long history of imperialism The long history of Russian imperialism shaping Putin’s war Click to read article and does not want to see Ukraine pursuing its own foreign policy.
Although Russia is clearly the one responsible for this war, the West’s long history of appeasement Reaping the Results of More than Two Decades of Western Appeasement of Vladimir Putin Click to read article toward Russia has likely contributed to Russia’s calculus about the expected consequences of a full-scale invasion.
committed by Russia
Russia was almost certainly hoping for an easy conquest of Ukraine. When Ukrainians fought back, Russia resorted to tactics it had previously used in Chechnya and Syria: targeting civilians Russian attacks on civilian targets in Ukraine could be a war crime Click to read article and civilian infrastructure, including hospitals How Russia could get away with attacks on Ukraine hospitals Click to read article and schools War Crimes Watch: Targeting schools, Russia bombs the future Click to read article .
It is abundantly clear that Russia does not care for the residents of Eastern Ukraine Putin Wants Ukrainian Land, Not Land with Ukrainian People Click to read article , as it destroys vast majorities of areas Russian forces now control ‘most’ of Severodonetsk, local governor says Click to read article it claims to “liberate.” Russia has systematically tortured Stories of torture emerging out of Kherson Click to read article and murdered unarmed civilians Metal darts discovered in Bucha civilians Click to read article in occupied areas; killed civilians, including children Killed as he escaped, Elisei is one of 200 child victims Click to read article , as they tried to evacuate; committed mass rape Rape has reportedly become a weapon in Ukraine Click to read article ; abused and murdered prisoners of war; set up so-called “filtration” camps One Ukrainian family’s perilous journey through Russia’s ‘filtration camps’ Click to read article ; and forcibly deported Ukrainians Deported to Russia Reportedly Having Passports Taken Away Click to read article Ukrainian civilians to Russia, including orphans and children separated from their parents Ukraine accuses Russia of forcibly deporting over 200,000 children Click to read article .
Russia’s persistent targeting of Ukrainian identity amounts to genocide Leading experts accuse Russia of inciting genocide in Ukraine and intending to ‘destroy’ Ukrainian people Click to read article . Each of these actions constitute war crimes under the Geneva Convention Ukraine: Apparent War Crimes in Russia-Controlled Areas Click to read article , which Russia is a party to.
- Photographs of civilians murdered by Russian troops in Bucha, Irpin, and Gosromel, Ukraine (warning: very graphic content).
- Russian claims about fabricated civilian murders debunked.
Why the West should help
Ukraine win this war
Besides the moral imperative to stop the mass-scale war crimes The West Must Help Ukraine Free its People to Stop Russian Atrocities Click to read article as quickly as possible, we must remember that Russia’s war in Ukraine is by far the largest-scale European armed conflict since World War II.
The outcome of this war will have enormous effects on the future of Europe, Asia, and the world What is at stake in Ukraine Click to read article ; on international security agreements; on other potential conflicts Ukraine war: what is the Budapest Memorandum and why has Russia’s invasion torn it up? Click to read article ; and on nuclear weapon proliferation and use A new nuclear era Click to read article . Ukrainians will continue to fight Russia with or without Western support, but Western support increases the likelihood and speed of a Ukrainian victory.
A quicker end to the war will also enable Ukraine to more quickly resume its place as a leading provider of grain and sunflower oil, reducing the food market crisis The coming food catastrophe Click to read article Russia has created.
What the West should
do to help Ukraine
win this war
The key ways the West can help Ukraine win is (1) a timely provision of heavy weapons ‘The west can change the outcome’: plea for heavy weapons on Ukraine frontline Click to read article necessary to defeat Russia militarily and (2) strong sanctions levied on Russia to cripple its ability to finance the war How Russia Is Financing the War in Ukraine Click to read article . Although Western military support has been substantial, Western sanctions have avoided targeting one of Russia’s main sources of foreign funds: natural gas.
Banning Russian gas is even more important than banning Russian oil because the former is much harder to redirect to other buyers. A ban on Russian energy A Russian energy ban is the responsible thing to do Click to read article would severely dent the Kremlin’s ability to wage this war while the negative consequences for the European economy would be manageable What if? The Economic Effects for Germany of a Stop of Energy Imports from Russia Click to read article .
Cutting off Russian gas now would also be a wise strategic move Winter Is Coming For European Gas Click to read article to prevent Putin from exploiting this lever himself.
Why Ukraine will not
and should not cede
territory to Russia
The vast majority of Ukrainians do not view territorial concessions as acceptable Readiness for territorial concessions to end the war as soon as possible: the results of a telephone survey conducted on May 13-18, 2022 Click to read article . The Ukrainian government’s position Ukraine Will Make ‘No Deals’ To Cede Territory to End War With Russia, Says Ambassador Click to read article is exactly the same. Although the terms on which the war ends are ultimately up to Ukraine and its people, an outcome in which Russia gains Ukrainian territory would set a terrible precedent for future conflicts.
Russia has violated its own agreement to protect Ukrainian territorial integrity Why Putin’s betrayal of Ukraine could trigger nuclear proliferation Click to read article . Obtaining Ukrainian territory through an invasion would further erode the credibility of international agreements and send a signal that waging war—no matter how brutal—to pursue self-interested goals is acceptable in the 21st century.
Why Russia cannot
Russian leadership has lied repeatedly Using lies and disinformation, Putin and his team have been building the case for a Ukraine invasion for 14 years Click to read article before and during this conflict. In 2014, Russia initially denied that Russian troops were sent to Crimea Putin Comes Clean On Crimea’s Little Green Men Click to read article . Russia denied involvement in the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17; extensive investigations Nearly 6 Years After MH17 Was Shot Down, Dutch Prosecutors Say They Will Sue Russia Click to read article concluded that Russia provided the surface-to-air missile that shot it down.
In 2021-2022, Russia denied that an invasion was being planned The Many Times Russia Denied Ukraine Invasion Plans Click to read article , then lied about the reasons for the invasion Truth Is Another Front in Putin’s War Click to read article . After the invasion, Russia has repeatedly agreed to and then immediately violated humanitarian ceasefires Mariupol evacuation postponed as Russia accused of breaking ceasefire Click to read article meant to evacuate civilians.
Russia has also lied to its own citizens Ukraine: Watching the war on Russian TV – a whole different story Click to read article about the invasion; shut down all independent media Russia’s Media Is Now Totally in Putin’s Hands Click to read article inside Russia; and targeted those expressing dissent How Putin’s regime stifled anti-war protests in Russia Click to read article with violence, prison sentences, and other punishments. Russia has now violated many How Russia’s attack on Ukraine violates international law Click to read article international laws, proving itself to be an extremely untrustworthy country. Thus, any agreements between Ukraine and Russia cannot simply rely on Russia’s word to keep them.