Following the shocking invasion of Ukraine by Russia, Aspen Institute UK, in partnership with the EU Delegation to the UK, hosted a panel of foreign policy experts to discuss how the war in Ukraine will reshape Europe. POLITICO’s Suzanne Lynch was joined by Robert Brinkley, Committee Chair of the Ukraine Forum at Chatham House; Natalie Jaresko, former Ukrainian Finance Minister; Ambassador Matti Maasikas, EU Ambassador to Ukraine; and Professor Joseph Nye, Professor Emeritus at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
For the first part of the conversation, the panellists discussed the current situation on the ground in Ukraine. A month into the war, the Russian military had so far failed to achieve a swift overtaking of the country, Russian troops had not captured Kyiv and had been unable to force Ukraine to re-orient its foreign policy away from the West. In fact, Ukraine was building stronger ties to the US, UK and EU, relying on support from these countries to hold off Russian forces. This reflected a major miscalculation by President Putin, as he did not anticipate the resiliency and unwillingness of the Ukrainian people to make concessions. As the war continues to unfold, it could become an increasingly protracted conflict, whereby neither Ukraine nor Russia possesses the capacity to win decisively. Meanwhile at the international level, although the invasion changed the agenda of global politics, it had not necessarily altered the underlying global balance of power.
The discussion then turned to the global response to the Russian invasion. Panellists recognised the importance of the EU’s effective response, particularly the far-reaching sanction packages, the military and humanitarian aid, and the efforts to decouple from Russian energy. Putin underestimated international support for Ukraine, with the near global condemnation of Russia’s actions: only 5 states at the UN voted in favour of supporting the invasion. In a similarly unexpected moment of unity, there has been near bipartisan support for Ukraine in the United States, and the unilateral response from NATO members who have set aside previous disputes and tensions.
The webinar offered fascinating insight into the Ukraine war, and provided interesting debate on the geopolitical future of the region. Thank you to our moderator, the panellists and the EU Delegation to the UK for valued cooperation on the event.