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 real-time insights that may help inform both immediate and longer-term policy responses to Russia's attack.
Dara Massicot is a senior policy researcher at RAND who specializes in Russian military strategy. In this interview, she discusses Russia's war in Ukraine, its incorrect assumptions about Ukraine's will to fight, and how hard it's going to be for Russia to restore its military capabilities.
Should the United States humiliate Russia—and Russian President Vladimir Putin specifically—over the Russo-Ukrainian War? It could lead to escalation and new wars, but the United States and NATO may need to think twice before offering concessions.
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.
Fears of global nuclear annihilation should have produced a concerted effort by all sides to keep the Ukraine conflict limited. But the focus on escalation—rather than ensuring Russia's defeat—has instead made the international security picture more precarious.
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.