Ukraine is entering its second year of war with Russia. The conflict has left tens of thousands of Ukrainians and Russians dead, millions of people displaced, and billions of dollars in damage to the country’s economy, environment, and infrastructure. When Russia invaded Ukraine one year ago, few predicted the magnitude of the losses that would follow. The estimates that upwards of 180,000 Russian soldiers have died, while Ukrainians have likely lost more than 100,000.
Ukraine’s valiant defense against the Russian invasion and its resulting losses have stunned the world. Ukraine has achieved striking successes in 2022 through smart operational planning, the effective use of large-scale Western support, and the enduring will of the Ukrainian people. Ukraine has successfully repelled Russia's initial invasion, launched successful counterattacks, and caused significant damage to the Russian armed forces.
The, along with its European partners, has provided Ukraine with weapons, training, intelligence-sharing, and diplomatic coordination to enable a decisive Ukrainian victory. America’s vital economic interdependence with Europe and obligations through the NATO alliance necessitate defeating threats to European security such as the current Russian invasion of Ukraine. Enabling Ukraine to secure a lasting defeat of Russia’s invasion is an essential U.S. national interest from every angle, as is increasingly broadly accepted in the US.
However, the U.S. must ensure Ukraine receives timely and lasting support to enable the Ukrainian counteroffensives necessary to liberate Ukraine’s territory and destroy Russia’s military power. The war is depleting resources on both sides due to its attritional nature. If Ukraine is unable to dramatically change the map in its expected counteroffensive, and Ukraine and Russia stay engaged in this attritional battle, the reality of a long, drawn-out war may change the calculations in Brussels, Berlin, and Washington.
It is anticipated by many Ukrainians that their nation will be part of NATO and the European Union within the next ten years. The events of the last year would give a good indication of why Ukraine (along with almost every other nation in Eastern Europe) wanted to join NATO. Joining NATO would give Ukraine the assurance of protection from external aggression, and would be a major step in achieving Ukrainian security and economic prosperity.
0. “Ukrainians on first anniversary of Russia’s war: ‘I worry a lot’” Al Jazeera English, 24 Feb. 2023, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/2/24/ukrainians-on-first-anniversary-of-russias-war-i-worry-a-lot
1. “Ukraine war one year anniversary: How the war might likely end” Slate, 24 Feb. 2023, https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2023/02/how-the-ukraine-war-is-likely-to-end.html
2. “What the West Must Do Now to Help Ukraine Win the War” TIME, 24 Feb. 2023, https://time.com/6258132/what-the-west-must-help-ukraine-win-war/
3. “After one year of war in Ukraine, what’s next?” Vox.com, 24 Feb. 2023, https://www.vox.com/world-politics/23600837/ukraine-war-russia-whats-next
4. “Why Can't Russia Figure Out How to Win?” New York Magazine, 22 Feb. 2023, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2023/02/why-cant-russia-figure-out-how-to-win-in-ukraine.html