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.
Analysis, informed by interactions with Russians, offers Western leaders a window into Russia. Blacklists hinder this process. With the stakes so high, much depends on experts' success in getting their analysis right.
There are predictions aplenty that Russia's war on Ukraine will persist. But it could also end soon. Kremlin regime change, a Russian army collapse, or a Ukrainian win are possible. None of these contingencies should be ruled out.
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.
The United States has a strong interest in avoiding a long war in Ukraine. Although Washington cannot alone determine the war's duration, it can take steps to make an eventual negotiated peace more likely.
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.