Ukraine and its Neighbourhood How to Deal with Aggressive Russia

By Polina Sinovets, Caterina Becker, Heidi Reisinger, Brooke Smith Windsor

The following report summarizes the core issues and findings of the discussion, obviously without covering every part of the intense and sometimes outspoken debate in its entirety. The conclusions are those of the authors, not necessarily reflecting consensus among Roundtable participants. Last year was a decisive one for Russia. It hosted the Winter Olympics, only to annex Crimea almost immediately afterwards and intervene directly in Eastern Ukraine. The friendly Olympic bear rapidly became a wild grizzly. Despite sanctions and the fall in oil prices, Russia is continuing to aggravate the conflict in Ukraine that started with the Russian invasion of Crimea. Why, and how? Some answers are provided below. The challenges faced by Ukraine and the West in calibrating an appropriate response are also explored. So, too, are the perspectives of several of Russia’s other neighbours.