The discussion on the scenarios of Russia’s war against Ukraine featured Dr. Hanna Hopko and Daria Kaleniuk, co-founders and board members of the International Centre for Ukraine Victory, and Adam Roževič, Policy Analyst at the EESC. The discussion was moderated by Justinas Kulys, Project Manager at the EESC.
During the discussion, the speakers stressed that Lithuania is a true leader in mobilizing support for Ukraine in the context of the war. “Lithuania has emerged as a true leader in assisting Ukraine in its efforts to achieve victory. There is confidence that Lithuania will play a significant role in helping Ukraine obtain NATO membership. On all governmental levels, Lithuania exemplifies what the Western leadership should look like. So it is important to present a united voice when communicating with Western allies. I think it’s important to open negotiations this year for Ukraine and Moldova. Also, a candidate status for Georgia,” said Dr Hopko.
The speakers also agreed on the need for a clear strategy to help Ukraine achieve victory as soon as possible. “A long-term plan must be established to consistently supply Ukraine, accompanied by a clear statement that no matter what happens on the battlefield, Ukraine will receive ongoing support. We must realize that despite the brutal current state of the war, we have managed to avoid the worst-case scenario of Ukrainian occupation. Now, our focus should be on providing Ukraine with long-term assistance and planning ahead,” argued Ms Kaleniuk.
Although the worst-case scenario has not happened, Russia is committing genocide against Ukrainians and damaging Ukraine’s economy in many ways. As the panellists pointed out, the worst-case scenario for Ukraine and the world is not a defeat of Ukraine, but Russia’s use of nuclear weapons. “Going back to the nuclear aspect, it is essential to acknowledge that Russia is a nuclear power, which adds complexity to the conflict. The United States and other actors will strive for escalation management to prevent a nuclear catastrophe. While Russia may speak about the use of nuclear weapons, it is crucial to assess the actual level of risk compared to other potential risks. In the context of a possible conflict between Russia and NATO, the risk of nuclear weapons being used is significantly higher, necessitating careful consideration and strategic management,” said Dr Hopko.