Russia's War in Ukraine: Insights from RAND

Residents flee from the town of Irpin, Ukraine, after heavy shelling by Russia destroyed the only escape route used by locals, March 6, 2022, photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

Residents flee from the town of Irpin, Ukraine, after heavy shelling by Russia destroyed the only escape route used by locals, March 6, 2022

Photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

On February 24, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, setting off the largest armed conflict in Europe since World War II. Ukraine has mounted a strong defense despite being vastly outnumbered, but Russian bombing and shelling have pummeled Ukrainian cities, civilian casualties are growing by the day, and the fighting has sparked an enormous refugee crisis.

As the war rages on, it's unclear what will happen next. But high-stakes questions loom large. How might the conflict evolve on the ground, at the negotiating table, and in the information space? How can the international community support Ukrainian refugees? And what can the West do to hold Putin accountable while mitigating the risk of a wider war between Russia and NATO?

A vast body of previously published RAND research and analysis can shed light on these questions, and dozens of RAND experts are providing timely insights that may help inform both immediate and longer-term policy responses to Russia's attack.

Russian Strategy and Capabilities

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin makes an address on the Russia-Ukraine conflict in Moscow, Russia, September 21, 2022, photo by Russian Presidential Press Service/Kremlin via Reuters

    Blog

    RAND Experts React to Putin's Latest Threatening Rhetoric

    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.

    Sep 21, 2022

Ukrainian Capabilities, Civilian Resistance, and the Will to Fight

  • A Russian flag lies on the ground near a destroyed Russian tank in the town of Izium, which was liberated by Ukrainian Armed Forces in the Battle of Kharkiv, Ukraine, September 14, 2022, photo by Gleb Garanich/Reuters

    Commentary

    Ukraine's 1777 Moment

    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.

    Sep 19, 2022

Refugees and the Humanitarian Crisis

  • People fleeing Russia's invasion of Ukraine rest in a temporary refugee center located at a local track-and-field athletics stadium in Chisinau, Moldova, March 4, 2022, photo by Vladislav Culiomza/Reuters

    Commentary

    With the Ukrainians, Avoid the Mistakes of Other Refugee Crises

    Because of Russia's invasion, millions of Ukrainians have fled their country or are internally displaced. At this critical moment, European Union countries have an opportunity to avoid some of the worst pitfalls of how the world has handled other refugee crises.

    Mar 25, 2022

Diplomatic and Political Dimensions

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting in the city of Veliky Novgorod, Russia, September 21, 2022, photo by Sputnik/Gavriil Grigorov/Pool via Reuters

    Commentary

    Regime Change in Russia?

    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.

    Sep 21, 2022

U.S. Strategic Competition with Russia

  • U.S. President Joe Biden and Russia's President Vladimir Putin meet for the U.S.-Russia summit at Villa La Grange in Geneva, Switzerland, June 16, 2021, photo by Denis Balibouse/Reuters

    Report

    U.S. Strategic Competition with Russia Is Here to Stay

    Competition between the United States and Russia occurs at many levels, from the military arena to the economic, political, and social realms. A review of 58 RAND reports on this topic highlights major findings and explores key aspects of the deteriorating U.S.-Russia relationship.

    Jan 31, 2022