Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine shattered decades of international efforts to preserve peace in Europe Almost overnight, Russia has gone from an important actor seeking to upend the international system to a pariah state, the subject of devastating economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation. And Putin’s growing willingness to employ indiscriminate violence in service of his geopolitical ambitions makes it even more crucial for the international community to remain unified in pressuring Moscow for an end to the bloodshed. USIP is committed to developing a new portfolio of analysis and research that addresses the threat Russia poses to both Ukraine’s sovereignty and the rules-based international system.
During a meeting with his Belarusian counterpart on June 25, Russian President Vladimir Putin indicated that “within the next several months,” Russia intends to transfer Iskander-M missiles — which can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads — to Belarus and begin upgrading Belarusian Su-25 fighters to carry nuclear weapons. Most of the details of the deal remain unknown or to be determined. But should Putin’s promise turn out to be more than nuclear bluster — something Putin and other Russian officials have resorted to since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine — the deployment could remake the nuclear balance in Europe and increase the risk of a potential NATO-Russia conflict occurring.
With back-to-back G-7 and NATO summits this week, USIP's Donald Jensen says President Biden is focused on maintaining unity among allies and partners as the war in Ukraine grinds on: "Putin is counting on the faltering of Western assistance and political support for Ukraine … and that's what we’ll see discussed this week."
Russia for years has warned that it would take military steps, among others, to counter any eventual decision by Finland or Sweden to join NATO. Yet since the Nordic countries declared that intention in mid-May, Russian officials’ changing rhetoric suggests that the Kremlin will seek to avoid any real confrontation over prospective NATO expansion.
Russia’s massive assault on an independent Ukraine menaces not only Eastern Europe, but the human effort, since World War II, to build global peace through the international rule of law. USIP provides analysis and support for policies that can help sustain the democracy, dialogue and diplomacy that will be required to ultimately defeat this threat.