David J. Kramer, John Herbst, William Taylor: In Ukraine, Peace Now Means War Later

2023-11-29 | Expert publications, Geopolitical analysis

Ukraine’s war aims are designed to guarantee a lasting peace, not a reprieve before another Russian attack.

Before Vladimir Putin launched his full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, many analysts, including in the U.S. intelligence community, predicted that the war would be over in a matter of days, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky toppled. Some even argued that there was no point in providing Ukraine with military assistance, since it wouldn’t make a difference. Those misjudgments were wide of the mark, and to the degree they influenced the Biden administration’s willingness to provide Ukraine with the weapons its needed to defend itself, they were also dangerous.

As it turned out, Ukrainians fought heroically and successfully, regaining more than half of their territory under Russian occupation, and dealing Russian forces tremendous setbacks and staggering loss of life. Ukraine, despite having no real navy of its own, has driven Russia’s ships out of the Crimean port of Sevastopol, delivering a major and humiliating defeat to Russia in the Black Sea. According to Ukrainian naval officials, 15 Russian warships have been destroyed and 12 damaged since the start of the full-scale invasion.

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