Foreign PolicyForeign Policy

The top five lessons from year one of Ukraine’s war

By Stephen M. Walt

09 Feb 2023 · 7 min read

Editor's Note

Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine began nearly one year ago. Writing for FP, a Harvard professor of international relations details what he sees as some of the hard lessons learned since then.

Since Russia invaded on Feb. 24, 2022, the two combatants have each suffered more than 100,000 casualties, along with thousands of tanks and other armored vehicles lost. Ukraine’s economy has shrunk by roughly 30 percent, and more than 30 percent of its population has been displaced. Its infrastructure is being wrecked, and some 40 percent of its electricity-generating capacity has been damaged. Neither side seems willing to compromise or even consider a cease-fire; if anything, Moscow, Kyiv, and Ukraine’s Western supporters are doubling down.

War is an instructive if harsh teacher, and sometimes the most we can salvage from the sacrifices that others have made is greater knowledge and wisdom for the future. Here are five lessons that leaders and publics around the world might learn after a year of war in Ukraine.

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