Project SyndicateProject Syndicate

Europe transformed

By Joschka Fischer

20 Jan 2023 · 3 min read

Editor's Note

When Vladimir Putin launched Russia's attack on Ukraine, he aimed to keep NATO at bay. But he's achieved the exact opposite, former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer argues in Project Syndicate.

BERLIN – Next month, Russia’s violent assault on neighboring Ukraine will have been going on for one year. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plan for a quick “special military operation” – a “Blitzkrieg” – has failed, owing to Ukraine’s unflinching resistance, the West’s united support of its defense, and Russia’s own incompetence.

Rather than a rapid military victory culminating in regime change, Putin’s “special operation” has instead descended into positional warfare. Even after a year, no one can say for certain when and how the war will end. Most likely, it will continue for some time, claiming many more victims. Yet it is hard to imagine a scenario in which Russia could still achieve its primary goal of eliminating Ukraine as a sovereign, independent state.

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