NICOLAI PETRO: The Russo-Ukrainian War Enters Its Third Year | Joe Hoft


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NICOLAI PETRO: The Russo-Ukrainian War Enters Its Third Year

Nicolai Petro explains the Russo-Ukrainian War as it enters its third year. 

The Russo-Ukrainian War is now in its third year and experts are explaining what is really going on and what is needed for peace.

Nicolai Petro shares the following:

Two years have passed since Russia invaded Eastern Ukraine, yet we are still debating why Russia invaded, what its ultimate goals might be, and how to end the conflict. This confusion, I submit, has much to do with our unwillingness to grasp the war’s true complexity, and can only be overcome if we recognize that it is a conflict with multiple levels.

The first level, familiar to many U.S. observers, is the strategic competition between Russia and the United States and the enduring conflict rooted in the question of to whose sphere of influence Ukraine belongs. Former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder confirmed that much in 2016, arguing that the heart of the problem is “nothing has happened to suggest that the Russians are any more willing to give us control of Ukraine than they were before.” (Curiously, this wording went unchallenged for six years but was changed to “give up control of Ukraine” in March 2022, after the original quote went viral).

At a second level, however, the war represents a conflict between Russian and Ukrainian elites over whether they are one people or two and whether their relations should be fundamentally friendly or antagonistic. In Russia, antagonism is bolstered by the fear that far-right nationalism in Ukraine, which has grown steadily in influence since 2014, is transforming Ukraine into “anti-Russia”. In Ukraine, antagonism is fueled by the nationalist fear that friendly relations with Russia will prevent the emergence of a Ukrainian national identity. As former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko put it, “If Russians and Ukrainians are one people, then the Ukrainian people do not exist.”

Here is more from a discussion on the topic with Nicolai Petro, Alexander Mercouris and Glenn Diesen.

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