Breaking Taboos and Taking Action: 10 Points to Consider One Year After the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

ukraine war

GLOBSEC recently released reports highlighting key lessons learned from the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The reports cover a range of topics, from the importance of military competence in the operation of drones, to the need for NATO to improve its decision-making processes and communication capabilities. Other reports address issues such as the impact of energy market inefficiencies on European vulnerability to Russian energy extortion, the need for Eastern flank countries to play a bigger role in matters of foreign policy within the EU and NATO, and the unintended consequences of sanctions regimes.

1. Drones take nice pictures. But they can also destroy tanks from afar.   
Military competence in the operation of drones must become an integral part of all branches of the armed forces at all levels. Training should focus on basic knowledge and understanding, also to enable improvisation and experimentation, as well as mastery of different and future drone types.
(How to Beat Russia)


2. NATO´s decision-making process can only get faster.   
Speed, adaptability, and the significant ability to surprise the enemy require, in simple terms, fewer staff and more troops. NATO´s overly detailed military planning, overly rigid command and control, overly granular control ideas from the top, and overly bureaucratic internal operations must be combated and avoided. (How to Beat Russia)

3. Europe is financing the Russian military machine.  
On the energy front, the EU's priority should be directed at the reduction and/or stabilisation of energy prices, especially for gas and electricity. Market inefficiencies in these sectors have exacerbated Europe's vulnerability to Russian energy extortion. (Russia Sanctions - How to Make Them Work 

4. Left hand does not know what the right is doing.   
Radical transformations of strategic communications of forces within NATO are needed. This must include the establishment of much more extensive communications capabilities and the generation of significantly more professional output of content on all conceivable channels. (How to Beat Russia)

5. Aiding Ukraine changes Central Europeans. 
Clearing Soviet-era legacy weapons systems from stockpiles in Eastern flank countries provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for land force modernization, a rethinking of strategic air-defense systems for an entire region, rather than just individual countries, and a jump-start of relevant high-tech industries capable of supplying and maintaining these new systems. (Upcoming report on Central and Eastern European Contributions)

6. When will NATO extend the visit and move in? 
NATO deployment on a rotational basis is a ground-breaking, if expensive, precedent. To ensure the Eastern flank countries' long-term safety and security, new permanent NATO positioning must be sought. 

7. Remember, refugees not welcome?   
Ukraine Once the conflict is over, refugee inflows will reverse; however, the experience and a large number of these families will remain in the region, presenting an opportunity and bringing a diversity of opinion, religion, culture, and language. This, along with continued exchange with the country of origin, will transform host countries'. (Societal Attitudes towards Refugees)

8. Center moving east.  
Eastern Flank countries will play a decisive role in sharing experiences with Ukraine, and for Eastern Flank countries, the Ukraine experience clearly shows that the time for complacency in matters of defence is over. If one wants peace, one needs to be prepared for the worst. With these points in mind, Eastern bloc countries could and should play a much bigger role on matters of foreign policy within the EU and NATO. (Upcoming report on Central and Eastern European Contributions)

9. Let the sleeping giant wake.   
In the past year, the European Union has broken many of its own taboos and taken steps previously unthinkable. Sanctions, hydrocarbons decoupling from Russia, acceptance of Ukrainian refugees, the speed and size of the EU’s financial and military support to the Ukraine war effort, and unprecedented alignment with NATO, including weapons purchases. The future holds more, not fewer, crisis situations; to prepare for and successfully manage them, the EU cannot go back to how things were before. (Upcoming report on Central and Eastern European Contributions)

10. Sanctions do not correct themselves.  
The sanctions applied to Russia are here to stay as better, sharper, and more targeted weapons of international politics. Their application will have unintended consequences for closing gaps in the international anti-money laundering system. Furthermore, they could be used as a deterrent, given that the Russian example will always demonstrate that no economy can survive for long if it is cut off from the mainstream of financial flows. Sanctions regimes will require diligent oversight to ensure their effectiveness and impact.