Russia’s War in Ukraine: The Evolution of Grand Strategy

As Russia’s war in Ukraine enters its third year, we are publishing a second series of briefs on various aspects of the conflict. Many of the authors of these briefs are based in Ukraine.

The war shows little sign of ending. Ukraine is fighting for its survival and is determined to drive Russia from its territory, while Russia continues to hope that it can mobilise sufficient resources to outlast the west’s support for Ukraine. Although there have been important developments at the tactical level—for example, in the increased use of drones by both sides, in Ukraine’s successes in diminishing Russia’s naval power and in its ability to strike targets inside Russia—there has been little movement on the front lines for many months. Both sides have been forced to adjust, operationally and strategically, to the prospects of a drawn-out conflict.

In the second brief of the series, Leonid Polyakov observes that while Ukraine’s strategic objectives have remained the same throughout the war, the ways and means to achieve them have shifted. Surprise and mass have become less relevant, but technology must be mobilised through society-wide efforts if Ukraine is to prevail. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s longer-term security requires the construction of a credible deterrence posture.

Download and read: Brief 2. The Evolution of Grand Strategy, Leonid Polyakov (PDF)