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What is the West's objective in Ukraine?

Michael Ignatieff
Michael Ignatieff3/24/2022 12:21 PM GMT+08  • 4 min read
What is the West's objective in Ukraine?
The fall of the Zelensky government would give Putin the victory he so desperately needs. Photo / Bloomberg
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We know what Russian President Vladimir Putin wants in Ukraine: To wipe the country off the map. We also know what Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wants — to keep Ukraine alive as a democratic state. The question is what the West wants. What is its strategic goal?

So far, the West’s objectives have been framed in the negative: To avoid being drawn into a war with Russia, while still doing whatever possible to help the Ukrainians. That has meant saying no to Zelensky when he asks for a NATO-enforced “no fly zone.” But the West’s war strategy cannot be built on what it will not do. NATO and its allies must define a positive objective.

At the beginning of the invasion, when many predicted a quick Russian victory, the West could stick to virtue signalling, congratulating Zelensky and his government on their courage while discreetly preparing to evacuate them to exile.

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