Today, Ukraine is fighting to save its young democracy against an unprovoked and unjustified Russian invasion. Long plagued by corruption and a weak rule of law and traditionally separated by language and religion, Ukrainians have united in defense of their national sovereignty and, with international assistance and support, managed to stifle early Russian military advances. But to stave off Russian aggression in the long term — as well as rebuild in the aftermath — Ukraine will need to maintain this unity. USIP provides analysis and support for policies that can help sustain Ukrainian democracy in the face of Russia’s invasion and facilitate the dialogue and diplomacy that will be required to ultimately defeat it.
Read more about the current situation in Ukraine
The United States Should Lead the Push for Peace in Ukraine
Recent weeks have witnessed several calls for peace in Ukraine. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy just wrapped up appearances at the G7 Summit and the Arab League, urging support for his country’s peace plan. China recently followed up the release of its February 2023 peace plan by sending its top diplomat, Wang Yi, on a European tour and dispatched peace envoy Li Hiu last week to Ukraine, Poland, Germany, France and Russia. At no time since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has there been so much momentum toward a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Ukraine. The United States should seize this opportunity to play a leading role.
It’s Not About Picking Sides: The Nonaligned Movement and Russian Aggression
For nearly 80 years, the world has benefited from the post-World War II international legal prohibitions and norms outlawing aggressive war. While this relative peace and stability was threatened during the Cold War, a group of countries — called the nonaligned movement (NAM) — came together to declare their aversion to the bloc politics of the United States and the Soviet Union. This nonaligned movement championed key principles of the U.N. charter, including respect for territorial integrity, sovereignty and nonaggression.
The New Nonaligned Movement Is Having a Moment
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has accentuated emerging geopolitical trends that have coincided with the rise and intensification of great power competition. The re-emergence of the nonaligned movement (NAM) as a geopolitical force is perhaps the most salient example. Indeed, this month’s edition of Foreign Affairs — a reliable barometer of key trends in international affairs — is dedicated to the “nonaligned world.” By definition, NAM states do not want to be forced to choose sides between the United States and/or Russia and China. But as we move into a multipolar era of accelerating great power competition, these states will find themselves caught between major powers.
The Current Situation in Ukraine
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.
Religion and Conflict Country Profiles
While religion has not been a primary driver of conflict in Ukraine, its distinctive history and recent politicization have ensured that it remains an important aspect of the broader context surrounding the current war. Religion has shaped the formation of conflict narratives, as well as understandings and perceptions of the war within different communities. Misunderstanding and indifference to the role of religion in society can significantly exacerbate conflict dynamics, while understanding the peacebuilding potential of religious communities can shape interventions and create opportunities for future stability and social cohesion.