From the editors:

In connection with the second anniversary of Russia launching its all-out war against Ukraine, we have invited a number of prominent political, business and military people, analysts and journalists, to share their thoughts on what this somber date means for them and for all of us.

 

 

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya

 

On Feb. 24, 2022, we entered a new reality. Illusions that had been built in Europe during three decades were shattered in a moment.

Putin has made it clear that he doesn’t recognize Belarus and Ukraine as independent countries. He thinks of us as territories he controls, and he doesn't want our people to decide their own future.

For Ukrainians, this became a fight for their very survival. They showed incredible bravery and strength in facing this challenge. This inspired people around the world to support them.

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For us in Belarus, it's also a fight for our nation's existence. It became our common fight. We're standing up for our freedom and the freedom of Ukraine.

President-elect of Belarus Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, is the Belarusian democratic opposition leader, who is widely believed to have won the presidential election in her country in 2020 that was rigged by dictator and Moscow vassal Aleksander Lukashenko.

 

Garry Kasparov

 

Putin feels unassailable. The regime has fortified for 25 years, funded by the West, and the fear and apathy of Russians is high. But Putin's attack on Ukraine exposed him. He can be defeated without a soldier on Russian soil, without a US or NATO boot deployed. Just arm Ukraine.

ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, July 15, 2024
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ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, July 15, 2024

Latest from the Institute for the Study of War.

Garry Kasparov is chairman of the Human Rights Foundation, author of Winter is Coming, a visiting fellow at Oxford Martin, business and tech speaker, and 13th World Chess Champion.

 

Anders Aslund

 

In April 2021, Russia had already amassed 100,000 troops on Ukraine’s borders. My insightful Kyiv friends told me that Russia would attack, though it was unclear when. On July 12, 2021, Putin published his article about the historic unity between Russia and Ukraine, which read like a declaration of war.

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Months in advance, the US, UK and Ukrainian intelligence understood that Russia would attack, while their German and French colleagues denied it.

The renewed Russian attack on Feb. 24, 2022, was thus no surprise, but strangely the West reacted slowly and ineffectively. Now the West must no longer be afraid of Ukraine’s victory and Russia’s defeat but do everything for Ukraine’s victory for the national security of the collective West.

Anders Åslund, senior fellow at the Stockholm Free World Forum and Adjunct Professor Georgetown University, is a leading specialist on the East European economies and author of 15 books.

 

Andrei Kurkov

What has two years of full-scale war taught me? When I hear an air raid signal, I don't jump up and don't think about where to run. I, like many of my friends, check on the Internet for more information. And if it’s another MIG-31k, I stay where I am – at my desk, drinking coffee or reading a book.

I think I've lost the use of facial muscles, which are responsible for smiling. The optimism of the spring of 2022, when everyone believed in an early victory, has left us. Today's Ukrainian realists smile very rarely. There is simply no reason to smile, and the pause in military assistance from the United States tempts us to be pessimistic.

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But, as the last two years have taught me, even when things seem to be very difficult, good news can come unexpectedly from the Black Sea.

Andrei Kurkov is an internationally acclaimed novelist and cultural activist whose widely published articles provide a personal view of the situation in his home country, Ukraine.

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