A year ago today, when Russia invaded Ukraine, few observers anticipated that the conflict would last long. Most expected Russian forces to make quick work of Ukraine’s military, even if many harbored doubts about Moscow’s ability to subsequently pacify and occupy the country. Instead, the shock of the invasion was followed by the surprise of Ukraine’s ability to hold off Russia’s initial attempt at a lightning strike on Kyiv and subsequently retake occupied territory in the east and south.
Over the past year, as the fighting has dragged on, the implications of the conflict have been the subject of much analysis and debate, including here in the pages of WPR, in an effort to make sense of its impact on Europe, the West and the global order. The war in Ukraine has been a war between two armed forces, but also between two diametrically opposed systems of values. It has been an economic war and a war of competing narratives.
But above all, it has been a war of contradictions.