Rick LARSEN (United States)

08 October 2023

Russia’s war in Ukraine is the most violent and consequential war in Europe since the end of World War II. Its outcome will likely determine the shape of great power competition for the remainder of the 21st century.

This special report outlines the variables leading to Russia’s full invasion on 24 February 2022. It reviews the evolution of the war’s distinct phases, as well as the parallel evolution of the coordinated Allied and partner assistance supporting Ukraine’s legitimate self defense against Russian aggression. In total, NATO Allies and partners have committed to over USD 165 billion in direct military, financial and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the war – this assistance has been a vital lifeline enabling Ukraine’s advancing self-defense and reform efforts to underwrite its future as a strong democratic Ally within the Euro-Atlantic community.

The report also reviews some initial lessons learned about the evolving character of war, as well as the strategic challenge posed to Allied defense industrial bases due to the high level of military support directed towards assisting Ukraine’s legitimate self-defense. It also takes stock of the war’s impact on the humanitarian situation in the country, reviews the impact of the unprecedented levels of punishing sanctions on Russia’s ability to prosecute the war, evaluates the role the evolving strategic Russia-China partnership has in mitigating the impact of sanctions and global opprobrium upon Russia, and speculates on the early initiatives and efforts to consider the eventual monumental task of reconstructing a stronger, more resilient Ukraine from the ashes of this devastating conflict. 

It concludes with a series of recommendations for Allies and partners to consider, among them: the continued immediate provision of military and financial aid to further Ukraine’s battlefield advantages; the maintenance and tightening of the increasingly impactful sanctions regimes; increased political and diplomatic support for Ukraine’s cause globally; and ways to consider ensuring the survival and strengthening of Ukraine’s democracy and future Euro Atlantic integration.

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