Russia

Responding to a Dictator’s Stunts: A No-Thrill Flight Without a Destination?

It is quite extraordinary to see a state being rebuffed by Hamas, berated by the Ryanair CEO, admired by a boss of a Russian state propaganda outlet and prompting an immediate response from the EU that goes beyond “deep concern”—all within 36 hours of a major civil aviation incident. Whatever the reaction, we must give it to them: the regime in Minsk played by the “book of rogues” as a deserving and almost exemplary disciple of its big brother in Moscow. Can it be stopped from attempting similar stunts in the future? Probably not, so we will have to be prepared.

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Russian forces landing a shore during a military drill along the Opuk training ground not far from the town of Kerch, on the Kerch Peninsula in the east of the occupied Crimea. The announcement by Russia’s Defence Minister, Sergey Shoygu, on 22 April that Russia would be withdrawing the forces it had assembled for the ‘snap exercises’ launched on 7 April has been met by as much confusion as relief.

Ukraine: A Crisis Recedes, a Fog of Ambiguity Descends

The announcement by Russia’s Defence Minister, Sergey Shoygu, on 22 April that Russia would be withdrawing the forces it had assembled for the ‘snap exercises’ launched on 7 April has been met by as much confusion as relief. In the time that has passed since that announcement, statements by the Biden administration and the proposed Biden-Putin summit have increased confusion rather than dispelled it.

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Some Initial Lessons Identified for the West from Russia’s Action against Ukraine

The exact reasons for the build-up of Russian forces in and around Ukraine are known only to President Vladimir Putin and his inner circle, but it would be unwise to believe that there is no link between this show of force and the signals Moscow receives from Kyiv and Western capitals. Western nations should not be or appear to be deterred by Russian information operations and troop build-ups.

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Another Provocative Test of Ukraine’s Societal Resilience

The attention being paid to the geopolitical implications of the situation developing on the Russia-Ukraine border should not overshadow the need to also respond to Russia’s day-to-day manipulation of Ukrainian society, especially in the regions located near occupied Crimea and the frontline in eastern Ukraine.

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