The dynamics surrounding Moscow’s war on Ukraine continue to change. Last week, a Russian Colonel-General claimed that Moscow’s objective in the war is to seize eastern Ukraine. Yet President Putin has not confirmed that this is his sole or even principal objective, and Russian military activity has not pivoted toward the east; Russian rockets continue to menace Kyiv in central Ukraine and more have recently found their way to Lviv in the west.
In the meantime, President Zelenskyy has moved in multiple directions as well. In an interview with Russian journalists, he appeared willing to accept Ukraine’s neutrality and agree not to pursue a nuclear weapons program in exchange for ironclad security guarantees over all of Ukraine’s territory. Yet he has also requested more advanced weapons from the West, including conventional ground weapons that he hadn’t asked for in the past.
For his part, President Biden visited Europe for meetings with NATO, the EU and the G-7. While he shored up alliance unity and cooperation with partners, Biden also appeared to suggest publicly that Putin must be removed from office. While the White House quickly clarified that the President meant that Putin should not be able to coerce outcomes abroad, the Russian media picked this up as endorsement of regime change. What is Putin up to both on the battlefield and at the negotiating table? How is Ukraine managing this fight? And what should the US and the West best do to defend their interests in this crisis?
Melinda Haring, deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center, moderates a discussion with General Philip Breedlove, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Ambassador John Herbst, senior director of the Eurasia Center, Illia Ponomarenko, defense and security reporter at the Kyiv Independent, and Olga Tokariuk, nonresident fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis, on the latest developments in Russia’s war against Ukraine.
Atlantic Council, April 1, 2022