EPRS Strategy By / February 15, 2022

The Ukrainian crisis: Military threats and diplomacy [What Think Tanks are thinking]

Russia continues to strengthen its military presence around the Ukrainian border, despite intensive diplomatic activity to ward off a feared armed conflict between the countries.

© kirill_makarov / Adobe Stock

Written by Marcin Grajewski.

Russia continues to strengthen its military presence around the Ukrainian border, despite intensive diplomatic activity to ward off a feared armed conflict between the countries. Russia has amassed more than 100 000 troops, as well as ships, aircraft, rocket launchers and other heavy weaponry near Ukraine, prompting some politicians and analysts to say that war may be imminent. Others believe Russian President Vladimir Putin is still playing a diplomatic game, aimed, among other goals, at bringing Ukraine into Russia’s sphere of influence. The United States, the European Union and other countries have threatened severe sanctions against Russia should it start new hostilities, following its annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the destabilisation of some eastern Ukrainian provinces.

This note gathers links to recent publications and commentaries from many international think tanks on the crisis and its implications for neighbouring countries, the European Union and global geopolitics. More reports on the issue can be found in a previous item from the ‘What think tanks are thinking’ series.

The crisis of European security: What Europeans think about the war in Ukraine
European Council on Foreign Relations, February 2022

Friendly arguments: Biden’s and Zelensky’s disagreement on the threat from Russia
European Council on Foreign Relations, February 2022

Why the war in Ukraine could reshape the European nuclear order
European Council on Foreign Relations, February 2022

How the Russia-Ukraine crisis could change Sweden’s security policy
European Council on Foreign Relations, February 2022

Putin knows exactly what he wants in eastern Europe, unlike the West
European Council on Foreign Relations, February 2022

Russia’s choices and the prospect of war in Ukraine
International Institute for Strategic Studies, February 2022

Russia’s ‘military-technical solution’ for Ukraine
International Institute for Strategic Studies, February 2022

Belarus seeks to amend its constitution to host Russian nuclear weapons
International Institute for Strategic Studies, February 2022

Russia’s assault on Ukraine and the international order: Assessing and bolstering the Western response
Brookings Institution, February 2022

How the demise of an arms control treaty foreshadowed Russia’s aggression against Ukraine
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, February 2022

For Biden, wreaking havoc on Russia’s economy is the least bad option
Atlantic Council, February 2022

Russia crisis military assessment: What would a ground offensive against Ukraine look like?
Atlantic Council, February 2022

With Putin poised to invade, Zelensky must prioritize Ukrainian unity
Atlantic Council, February 2022

How the Ukraine crisis could become a disaster for Russia
Heritage Foundation, February 2022

The return of US leadership in Europe: Biden and the Russia crisis
Istituto Affari Internazionali, February 2022

Is Putin winning, or is he trying not to lose?
Egmont, February 2020

What Ukraine reveals about NATO and the EU
Carnegie Europe, February 2022

Rewinding the clock? US-Russia relations in the Biden era
Institut français des relations internationales, February 2022

Will tough US sanctions deter Russian aggression in Ukraine?
Peterson Institute for International Economics, February 2022

Russia’s shifting foreign and security policy in Northern Europe: The new geopolitical meaning of ‘good neighbourliness’
Finnish Institute of International Affairs, February 2022

Kontraproduktive Drohpolitik: Russland drängt Finnland und Schweden näher an die Nato
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, February 2022

Die Ukraine unter Präsident Selenskyj: Entwicklung hin zum ‚populistischen Autoritarismus‘?
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, February 2022

Ukraine conflict: An escalation within limits
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, January 2022

How do the militaries of Russia and Ukraine stack up?
Council on Foreign Relations, February 2022

The Russia-Ukraine crisis could determine the future of sovereignty
Council on Foreign Relations, February 2022

Putin’s Ukraine quagmire
Council on Foreign Relations, February 2022

Russia and the West: A new Cold War?
Council on Foreign Relations, February 2022

Russia-Ukraine: Diplomacy is the best hope for heading off a deeper crisis
International Crisis Group, February 2022

The Ukraine crisis: There is still room for diplomacy
Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy, February 2022

Ukraine: Germany is not to be relied upon?
Heinrich Böll Stiftung, February 2022

Murky waters: The Black Sea region and European security
Friends of Europe, January 2022

Western diplomacy on Russia must serve deterrence
International Institute for Strategic Studies, January 2022

What does Putin want with Ukraine and how does he plan to get it?
German Marshall Fund, January 2022

What it’s like in Ukraine as the Russia crisis unfolds
German Marshall Fund, January 2022

What next for diplomacy between the West and Russia?
German Marshall Fund, January 2022

Russia’s energy role in Europe: What’s at stake with the Ukraine crisis
Council on Foreign Relations, January 2022

Why NATO has become a flash point with Russia in Ukraine
Council on Foreign Relations, January 2022

Guide to the chess game at the United Nations on Ukraine crisis
International Crisis Group, January 2022

In the shadow of war: Ukraine and the limits of a ‘geopolitical’ EU
Centre for European Policy Studies, January 2022

Is Germany damaging Europe’s position on Ukraine?
Carnegie Europe, January 2022

The Russia-NATO crisis tests Turkey’s balancing policy
Carnegie Europe, January 2022

Europe faces tough choices on Nord Stream 2 if Russia invades Ukraine
Peterson Institute for International Economics, January 2022

Ukraine: The price of stability
Egmont, January 2022

A proposal for a new Western policy on the Russia-Ukraine conflict: Re-position to de-escalate
Finnish Institute of International Affairs, January 2022

Is a Russia-Ukraine war imminent?
Chatham House, January 2022

Why Putin’s gamble does not have to be lose-lose
Chatham House, January 2022

The future of European security: What does Russia want?
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik, January 2022

Can Europe survive painlessly without Russian gas?
Bruegel, January 2022

Once in a hole, stop digging: Russia, Ukraine, the West and the imperative of diplomacy
Clingendael, January 2022

The power of keeping calm: Ukraine in the face of Russia’s potential aggression
Centre for Eastern Studies, January 2022

Russia demonstrates its power in Belarus and on the oceans worldwide
Centre for Eastern Studies, January 2022

NATO member states on arms deliveries to Ukraine
Centre for Eastern Studies, January 2022

Does Russia want a new Berlin Wall?
Foreign Policy Centre, January 2022

Why do we think we can read Putin’s mind on Ukraine?
The Hill, January 2022

If Russia invades, sanction its oil and gas
Brookings Institution, January 2022

Why Europe has no say in the Russia-Ukraine crisis
European Council on Foreign Relations, January 2022

Bonfire of sovereignty: Russian tanks in Belarus
European Council on Foreign Relations, January 2022

Moldovan lessons for the Ukraine conflict
European Council on Foreign Relations, January 2022

Kazakh lessons for authoritarian leaders: How Putin and Lukashenka could fail the test
European Council on Foreign Relations, January 2022

The EU’s unforgivable failure
European Council on Foreign Relations, January 2022

War in Ukraine: Erdogan’s greatest challenge yet
European Council on Foreign Relations, January 2022

Free-rider on the storm: How Russia makes use of crises in its regional environment
European Council on Foreign Relations, January 2022

Russia’s threat to invade Ukraine and Europe’s soft power
Centre for European Policy Studies, December 2022

How serious is Europe’s natural gas storage shortfall?
Bruegel, December 2021

A winter of Russian discontent?
Clingendael, December 2021


Read this briefing on ‘The Ukrainian crisis: Military threats and diplomacy‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.


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