200 days of war in Ukraine
Today we take a look back, to September 2022, and follow the analysis of Prof. Gerhard Mangott and Mag. Matthias Penkin on the state of the war in Ukraine at that time. Both were wrong in their assessment that Russia will not launch a large-scale war against Ukraine, as Penkin critically notes at the beginning.
The reasons why Putin nevertheless decided to do so are the basis of current academic discussion. Putin did not begin his first presidency in 2000 as an imperialist, nor does Mangott believe that one could deduce from 2014 that Putin will eventually attack Ukraine. Over the past 22 years, both sides have done too little to build good relations. Likewise, the Minsk 2 agreement was not actually taken seriously by either side. This has probably been the most important reason for Putin’s decision to go to war.
From the meeting between Biden and Putin in June 2021, the latter probably drew the wrong conclusion that a good relationship with Russia was most important to Biden and that he would therefore not react as strongly to a war in Ukraine as he then did. In December 2021, Russia demanded that NATO provide a security guarantee and withdraw Ukraine’s opportunity to join NATO, which was given to the country in 2008. It also demanded that military infrastructure in Eastern Europe be reduced and that NATO stop accepting new members. Mangott understands the attitude of the West, which rejected these demands as non-negotiable; however, he does not rule out the possibility that the war could have been prevented if intensive negotiations with Russia had nevertheless been entered into – at least as far as the status of Ukraine’s neutrality is concerned. However, Moscow’s refusal to negotiate may have served only to create a pretext to show its own population that the West does not accept Russia’s demands and that war is therefore inevitable.
Putin’s historical revisionist position, future Russian-American relations, the sanctions against the Russian economy, Europe’s energy dependence on Russia, the energy crisis in Europe and the possible impact on support for Ukraine as well as possible unrest in European countries due to high prices are further topics of this conversation.
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