The Kremlin aims to punish Ukraine and the West.
Brad K. Blitz is a Professor of International Politics and Policy and Head of the UCL Department of Education, Practice, and Society.
1. What is your view on the latest situation in Ukraine?
The war in Ukraine remains as tragic now as when it began. While the Ukrainian military has held off the Russian advance, the scale of destruction – the thousands killed and millions displaced – is appalling. The recent reports from Mariupol, and the images of bodies now being discovered, are just further evidence of the nature of the war against civilians. These war crimes must be investigated.
2. What do you think is Russia’s ultimate objective in the war it launched against Ukraine?
The Kremlin aims to punish Ukraine, and the West, as Putin seeks to redesign the Russian state, picking and choosing from Russia’s history. While we in the West are now subject to enormous energy hikes, Ukrainians are paying with their lives.
3. What do you think the West can do more to help Ukraine?
The West must keep attention focused on Ukraine, but to do so, it now needs to find a way to address the energy hikes in Europe. This is the second front of Putin’s war. He is trying to weaken Europe by stopping the sale of gas and oil, and in effect, making it unaffordable for millions of Europeans. We need European states to protect their citizens and not be distracted.
4. What are the highest threats for Ukraine now? What do you think the future holds for Ukraine?
Of course, the most significant risk relates to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station and the shelling all around it. The fact that Russian forces have taken control of it, and may cause a meltdown is terribly worrying. Then, there’s the general situation of the war continuing through winter. As for the future, I am confident the European Union, the United States, and their partners will support a major programme of reconstruction, but that does not touch the enormous personal and social costs to the Ukrainian people, many of whose lives have been ruined, with the loss of family members, and others forced to live abroad for their own safety.