Europe is in turmoil, but the mood is very different depending on your vantage point.
By Anthony Borden
IWPR FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Many in Moscow remain convinced war makes no sense and – escalating theatrics aside – a solution will be found. Meanwhile, Washington is in a state of fever, convinced of the real possibility of hot conflict – tanks surrounding Kyiv – and seized by the threat to the entire European post-war order.
In Ukraine, well used to threats from the north even if not of this order, people try to stay calm, preparing for the worst but getting on with life. As the population mobilises, children continue sledding in the capital.
Throughout, the Russian president retains the upper hand. As Fiona Hill – the Brookings expert, ex-senior director at the National Security Council, and former IWPR trustee – wrote recently in The New York Times, “All signs indicate that Mr Putin will lock the United States into an endless tactical game, take more chunks out of Ukraine and exploit all the frictions and fractures in NATO and the European Union.”
The continuing pressure on a developing democracy is enormous, and IWPR’s spotlight is supporting local reporters to highlight the impact within Ukrainian society. Steely pragmatism clashes with fatalism for a country still hugely impacted by the 2014 conflict. Cyberattacks indicate destablisation efforts are already under way, and that the real target may be Ukrainian democracy. The client state of Belarus could come into play as a key military staging point. Popular mobilisation gathers pace, building a militia force that may cohere society as well as contribute to military defence.
Local journalism has a key role to play in wartime, informing, revealing and ultimately helping to repair societies torn by war. Throughout this crisis, and whatever the result, IWPR will continue helping Ukrainian voices be heard.
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