Image credit: Andriy Dubchak/AP
February 22, 2023
Sharper: Ukraine One Year Later
Analysis from CNAS experts on the most critical challenges for U.S. foreign policy.
Immediately after President Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the general consensus was that Ukrainian forces would be overwhelmed in a matter of days. One year later, the war continues on—exhibiting the resiliency of the Ukrainian people and the strength of global alliances, such as NATO. However, the protracted nature of the war will alter the region for an untold number of years. CNAS experts are sharpening the conversation about the shifts in global security, economics, and defensive reserves. Continue reading this edition of Sharper to explore their ideas and recommendations.
How Finnish and Swedish NATO Accession Could Shape the Future Russian Threat
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was a major strategic blunder. Most notably, Russia’s aggression in Ukraine compelled Finland and Sweden to apply for NATO membership—leading to an expansion of the very alliance that Russia purports to be opposing in Ukraine. A new policy brief from the Transatlantic Forum on Russia discusses how Finland’s and Sweden’s entry into NATO will shape Europe’s security landscape, how Russia is likely to see these changes and respond, and how the allies can address the future challenges stemming from these changing dynamics.
Economic Measures against Russia Following Its 2022 Invasion of Ukraine
Following the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February, the United States and its allies have unleashed an impressive array of economic measures against Moscow, using a wide range of economic tools to weaken Russian military operations, as well as punish and disincentivize those offering financial or logistical support for its continued aggression toward Ukraine. This edition of Sanctions by the Numbers provides a snapshot of U.S. and allied economic measures against Russia following its invasion and continued aggression toward Ukraine, an overview of the most sanctioned sectors of the Russian economy, potential obstacles to enforcing joint sanctioning actions against Russia, and an outlook on potential escalation or de-escalation with Moscow.
The Russia Stability Tracker: February 2023
Since the invasion of Ukraine, the Russian military’s poor performance, botched mobilization, mounting casualties, economic challenges resulting from the sanctions and export controls, and increasingly visible elite fissures have raised questions about political stability inside Russia. To gauge how the war is affecting Putin’s hold on power, CNAS convened a group of experts that will assess various pillars of Putin’s support and offer a summary of how those factors have changed since the start of the war. Experts will provide updates to the tracker bi-monthly to provide a larger picture of the future of Russian stability.
The Outlook for Ukraine in 2023
Brussels Sprouts take stock of where things stand in Ukraine as we head into 2023. Over the past couple of months, the lines of territorial control have remained mostly stable between Ukraine and Russia following Kyiv’s liberation of Kherson in November. However, many are now looking ahead to intensification of the fighting in the coming weeks. Lawrence Freedman and Mike Kofman join Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Jim Townsend to discuss how the situation in Ukraine is likely to evolve during the second year of fighting.
One Year of War in Ukraine
February 24 will mark one year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Ahead of this solemn anniversary, CNAS experts from across the center analyze the many ways in which the war in Ukraine has impacted global security.
The Role of Allies and Partners in the National Defense Strategy with Dr. Celeste Wallander
The 2022 National Defense Strategy emphasizes the vital role allies and partners play in U.S. national security. Recent events, such as the coordinated international response to Russian aggression in Ukraine, have reinforced how allies and partners can strengthen deterrence. Given America's global responsibilities, it is critical that the United States works with allies and partners to manage potential crises. On Friday, February 10, CNAS hosted Dr. Celeste Wallander, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, for a virtual event to discuss how the Department of Defense plans to work with allies and partners in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa to manage regional crises and achieve the aims of the National Defense Strategy.
The West Has Captured Thousands of Iranian Weapons. Send Them to Ukraine.
"Last month, both the U.S. and French navies intercepted cargo vessels smuggling thousands of weapons from Iran bound for Yemen," write Jonathan Lord and Andrea Kendall-Tyalor in The Washington Post. "Tehran sent the shipments in defiance of a U.N. Security Council resolution banning the provision of weapons to the Houthis, Iran’s Yemeni partner and proxy force in the civil conflict. The two seizures alone netted thousands of Russian-style assault rifles and machine guns, dozens of antitank missiles, and over half a million rounds of ammunition. Likewise, last summer, the British navy snagged an Iranian vessel carrying surface-to-air missiles and engines for land-attack cruise missiles. Instead of allowing these weapons to gather dust, Washington should send them to Ukraine."
The ‘Arsenal of Democracy’ Is in Peril
"The U.S. was once known as 'the arsenal of democracy,' for its ability to build enough weapons not only for itself but also for its allies. In recent decades, that moniker hasn’t been as fitting," argue Stacie Pettyjohn and Hannah Dennis in The Wall Street Journal. "The American defense industrial base has consolidated since the end of the Cold War—especially for munitions and missiles—leaving it unable to meet U.S. military requirements, let alone those of its allies and partners. But as William LaPlante, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, said in October, “production is deterrence.” If the U.S. is to compete with China and Russia, its production capacity needs to change quickly. The war in Ukraine has underscored the extent of U.S. foreign commitments and the present limits of industry."
Russia’s Dangerous Decline
"Russian power and influence may be diminished, but that does not mean Russia will become dramatically less threatening," observe Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Michael Kofman in Foreign Policy. "Instead, some aspects of the threat are likely to worsen. For the West, recognizing that reality means abandoning any near-term hopes of a chastened Russia and maintaining support for Russia’s targets. That effort should begin in Ukraine: the United States and its allies must provide sustained support to Kyiv to ensure that Russia suffers a defeat. But even if Putin loses, the problem that Russia poses will not be solved. In many ways, it will grow in intensity. So, too, should the response to it."
Ukraine Gave Up Nuclear Weapons at Our Behest. Here’s What We Owe Them.
"The world is on the cusp of a dangerous new nuclear era, and the war in Ukraine might be a glimpse of what is to come," writes Jon Wolfsthal in The Washington Post. "Reflecting this, the hands of the iconic Doomsday Clock, an indicator reflecting the opinion of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists as to how close humanity finds itself to self-destruction, were recently moved up 10 seconds — to 90 seconds to midnight. This is the closest they have ever been to Armageddon. But even if the Ukraine war never goes nuclear, any ultimate Russian victory would add to the sense that nuclear weapons are increasingly useful elements of state policy, for both offense and defense."
In the News
Featuring commentary and analysis from Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Carisa Nietsche, Eddie Fishman, Jim Townsend, and Samuel Bendett.
About the Sharper Series
The CNAS Sharper series features curated analysis and commentary from CNAS experts on the most critical challenges in U.S. foreign policy. From the future of America's relationship with China to the state of U.S. sanctions policy and more, each collection draws on the reports, interviews, and other commentaries produced by experts across the Center to explore how America can strengthen its competitive edge.
Sign up to receive the latest analysis from the CNAS expert community on the most important issues facing America's national security.
More from CNAS
The Battle of Bakhmut
In this episode of MWI’s Urban Warfare Project Podcast, John Spencer is joined again by Michael Kofman, director of the Russia Studies Program at CNA. He researches Russia and...
By Michael Kofman
How to Think About Bakhmut and a Ukrainian Spring Offensive
Fresh back from his research trip to Ukraine, Mike Kofman joins Ryan for a discussion about what he learned. They discuss the battle for Bakhmut, munitions shortages and force...
By Michael Kofman
Unpacking the Ukrainian Battlefield With Russia Military Analyst Michael Kofman
Wars evolve in one of two ways—one side decisively defeats the other, or both sides, realizing that total victory is unattainable, compromise on a temporary or permanent deal ...
By Michael Kofman
What will the war bring in 2023? Illia Ponomarenko Interviews Michael Kofman and Rob Lee
The Kyiv Independent's Illia Ponomarenko sits down with military analysts Michael Kofman, director of the Russia Studies Program at CNA and an adjunct senior fellow at CNAS; a...
By Michael Kofman