Seeking strategic landmarks in the postwar period

Just before the war erupted in Ukraine, the preparation of strategic planning documents in the field of national security was completed. They identified a wide range of threats to national security in various areas. However, the sources of these threats were not so numerous. The largest group of threats stemmed from the aggressive foreign and military policies of the Russian Federation. The biggest threats included the impingement on Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, blocking our country's steps towards full membership in the EU and NATO, the possibility of further escalation of Russia's armed aggression against Ukraine and the full-scale use of military force against Ukraine, provoking armed conflict on Ukraine's state border, conducting intelligence and subversive activities by special services of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, conducting information special operations, using illegal armed groups, spreading terrorism financed and supported by the Russian Federation, launching cyberattacks, blocking the supply of necessary resources and equipment for Ukraine's economy and so on.

Russia's large-scale hybrid war, which Ukraine and the world faced in 2014, lasted for almost nine years and the Russian aggression against Ukraine was not expected to collapse. In his book The Grand Chessboard, Z. Brzezinski indicated that "Ukraine's independence challenged the very essence of Russia's claim to being the divinely endowed standard-bearer of a common pan-Slavic identity.” He also pointed that “Russia cannot be in Europe without Ukraine also being in Europe, whereas Ukraine can be in Europe without Russia being in Europe." At the same time, the scenario of a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine and the aggressor's terrorist war against the population was not considered by experts as the most probable.

The weak reaction from democracies and international organizations, especially those responsible for peace and security, to Russia's impingement on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of neighboring states, especially Georgia and Ukraine, later led to the expansion of Russia's hybrid aggression, with the overall goal of forming a new center of power in a multipolar world and exacerbating tensions in the West. The policy of appeasing the aggressor and symbolic sanctions did not hinder the Kremlin's aggressive plans, which have been prepared and gradually implemented for quite some time.

The destruction of the international security system constructed after the Second World War and the weakening of the influence of international organizations that are obliged to ensure compliance with international law have turned into a global problem. Admittedly, this situation has become a separate source of threats to Ukraine's national security, as it has significantly weakened the existing crisis management mechanisms and instruments, devalued security guarantees, provoked new conflicts and the spread of international crime in the absence of effective deterrence and punishment. The inability of powerful international organizations and their structural units, such as the UN Security Council, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, UNICEF, or OSCE, not only to address complex security and peace issues, but simply to navigate the international security environment and identify events [1]  broaches the issue of auditing the effectiveness of their activities and their in-depth reform.

Undoubtedly, there are other sources of risks and threats to Ukraine's national security, including climate change, development of science and technology, promotion of the interests of other states that contradict the national interests of Ukraine, and so on. All of them, as well as a large number of vulnerabilities of the state and society as a source of internal threats are described in detail in planning documents on national security and defense, adopted in recent years to implement paragraph 66 of Ukraine's National Security Strategy.

During the ongoing war, certain plans, connections, and ideas passed or failed the test of durability and viability. Obviously, some strategic goals need to be rethought, evaluations revised, and national security and resilience mechanisms strengthened or restructured. Hence, after the war we have a big task ahead of us: updating the strategic documents of the state to ensure its development as an independent, free, strong democratic state that is able to guarantee national security and stability in a changing security environment. The search for answers to these questions has already begun, and this is yet another step bringing us closer to our victory.


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[1] As of March 9, 2022, the official UNICEF Ukraine website addresses the "conflict" in Ukraine that puts children at risk. Neither the essence of the "conflict" nor its source are mentioned. See: One week into conflict in Ukraine, half a million children become refugees. URL:

The opinion expressed in the text is exclusively the author's and it does not reflect the official position of the National Institute for Strategic Studies

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