After months of military build-up on the Ukraine border, Russia finally launched its offensive on Ukrainian soil on February 24. Ukraine, a nation with deep historical and cultural roots with Russia as part of the defunct Soviet Union, has already been in various arms conflicts with Russia in the last decade, beginning with the annexation of Crimea in 2014, the war in Donbas, and several consequent battles at a smaller scale. Since the 1990s, Ukraine’s aspirations of sovereignty and independence and its foreign policy of cosying up with the EU and its NATO alliance have become a primary sore point for Moscow, and are seen by the latter as an encroachment of its national security and geopolitical interests. Fast forward to today, Ukraine’s capital Kyiv has now been breached through heavy bombardment, with many other cities such as Kharkiv and Mariupol following suit.
The West, represented by NATO and the US, has so far shown reluctance to directly engage with Russian forces, resorting instead to economic and political sanctions. More recently, despite close ties with Ukraine, NATO has turned down President Zelensky’s call for no-fly zones above Ukrainian airspace, citing the risk of war at a larger scale (or even global). As the conflict progresses, economic pressure is now mounting over global oil and energy supply in which Russia is an indispensable global producer. European countries, which are highly dependent on Russian energy, are now seen to be slowly backtracking on the Russian ban, with only the US reaffirming its stand.
Under this backdrop, this forum attempts to delve deeper into the dynamics between global superpowers more recently manifested by the unfolding Russia-Ukraine conflict, as well as their ramifications for countries beyond Europe. Its impact on the politics of peace and security will also be highlighted, particularly for nations facing prolonged invasions by foreign state actors such as Palestine, Kashmir, and so forth.
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