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Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared to double down on his country's war effort during a major speech, calling up hundreds of thousands of new troops, threatening Ukraine and the West, vowing to use “all the means at our disposal,” and pointing out that he is not bluffing. Here's what RAND experts had to say.
A careful strategy of strength and prudence has helped the West maintain security and manage relations with Moscow. The West may continue this course while upping the ante to help Ukraine defeat and expel Russian forces. In so doing, the West may also be advancing prospects for longer-term peace that might come only through liberalization in Russia.
What Russia seeks is new political leadership across the Western world that does not support a status quo that can isolate Russia from the capital and technology it needs to generate security and prosperity over the long term.
The Battle of Saratoga turned the tides of the Revolutionary War, ultimately leading to American independence. Nearly 250 years later, the Battle of Kharkiv may be a similar turning point in Ukraine's fight against Russia.
The United States has been gradually increasing assistance to Ukraine without provoking a wider war. Although this approach has frustrated Ukrainian leaders and many observers, it reflects the best traditions of Cold War–era crisis diplomacy—pursuing U.S. interests while avoiding a direct clash with a rival, always with an eye on the long term.
Before Russia invaded Ukraine in February, its diplomatic missions began circulating some particularly fantastical lies. It's tempting to write off such claims as cartoonish propaganda. But Russia is making similarly outrageous claims to the United Nations and other international forums. Such maneuvers could dangerously undermine international arms control agreements.
Western sanctions are ensnaring more Russian business leaders, some of whom say they are unjustly targeted. Can those in the private sector reduce their risks of being designated? Perhaps, if they make difficult choices.
Russia's war in Ukraine entered the summer of 2022 with no clear military victor in sight. Although it is important to exercise caution in drawing any major conclusions, some powerful signs about the future of warfare can be derived from this conflict.
The United States and its Arctic partners suspended cooperation with Russia at the Arctic Council in response to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. The prospect of returning to the council's business as usual seems very far away.
The concept of ontological security could help explain Putin's war on Ukraine and his regime's reasoning. It's about maintaining a continuous sense of self, and in this case, of state identity. Putin may have deemed the invasion necessary to maintain a sense of continuity and order, where order is Russia's continued adversarial relationship with the West.
Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the West's support for Kyiv has been tempered by an ace up Vladimir Putin's sleeve: the potential use of nuclear weapons. But other countries are taking notice, which could imperil world stability even further.