Europe at War

Assisting Ukraine to defend itself against Russian aggression would have a stimulative effect not only on Ukraine, but also on Europe. That is why the EU ought to be even more committed to helping Ukraine than it is to imposing sanctions on Russia.

NEW YORK – By invading Ukraine in 2014, President Vladimir Putin’s Russia has posed a fundamental challenge to the values and principles on which the European Union was founded, and to the rules-based system that has kept the peace in Europe since 1945. Neither Europe’s leaders nor its citizens are fully aware of the scope of this challenge, much less how to deal with it.

Putin’s regime is based on rule by force, manifested in repression at home and aggression abroad. But it has been able to gain a tactical advantage, at least in the short term, over the EU and the United States, which are determined to avoid direct military confrontation.

Violating its treaty obligations, Russia annexed Crimea and established separatist enclaves in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region. When it appeared last summer that the Ukrainian government might win the war in Donbas, Putin ordered an invasion by regular Russian armed forces. Preparations for a second wave of military action began in November, when Putin provided separatists with a new influx of armored columns and personnel.

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