Published March 7, 2022
The United States and Europe are rightly backing Ukraine in its courageous defense against Russia’s invasion. But as the facts on the ground shift by the day, the West needs to think hard about its endgame: Is it Russian defeat or victory for Ukraine?
Because there’s a difference between the two.
Russia invaded Ukraine to compel it to become a Russian satellite, perhaps even to annex it forcibly. Russian President Vladimir Putin has been clear about these aims from the outset, so Russian victory would involve removing the duly elected Ukrainian government and ensuring that a new puppet leadership would not just disavow any interest in joining the European Union or NATO but decisively reorient toward the east. These core goals appeared again in Putin’s newly announced “peace” proposals. A Russian victory means the end to Ukrainian freedom.
Henry Olsen is a Washington Post columnist and a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.