Russia invades Ukraine

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Early this morning, Russia began a land, air, and sea invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine is now fighting on three fronts as Russian forces cross the border near Kharkiv in the north, Luhansk in the east, and the Russian-annexed Crimea in the south. Russia is demanding Ukraine’s armed-forces lay down its arms, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on Ukrainians to defend their country. We spoke with Daniel Rothenburg for more ASU Center on the Future of War.

What do we know about the Russians military tactics as of right now?

Rothenburg: “One interesting thing about this conflict the U.S. decided to put the world on notice regarding the Russian plans, and they have more or less followed through on what we were told to expect. There have been rocket attacks, there have been armed columns. It started last night and it’s ongoing.”

It sounds like airfields and air defense are among the first things to be attacked, is this true?

Rothenburg: “True, and that’s also a classic strategy and something that the U.S. also did in the past. It makes sense to try to ground the opponents air force.”

How much could sanctions hurt Russia?

Rothenburg: “One thing that’s been interesting about watching all this from a distance is that the initial threats by Putin, Putin made a series of specific demands, and the U.S. and European allies decided not to cave into those demands but to express a unified front and to be very clear that punishing sanctions would be the result of additional military action. Those have just been announced. Its difficult to know exactly what those sanctions will have and nor have the most severe sanctions been put into place yet. Whatever happens with sanctions their impact takes more time. It isn’t like an invasion, so we have to sit back and watch and try to access what all of this means.”

What is to keep the Russians from turning to China?

Rothenburg:  “Already seen moves in that direction.  Again no one knows where all of this is going this is suggests some pretty powerful and significant realignments of global politics. It’s not clear that China is going to want to cozy up to Russiaon the terms that are of interest to Russia, but again there are a lot of things happening in the world and it is pretty early to make predictions on where this is all going.”

Daniel Rothenberg; ASU Center on the Future of War.

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