Cyjax has published a new White Paper which is divided into two distinct sections. First, it provides a historical and contemporary overview of the situation in Ukraine, along with an assessment of President Putin’s rationale for launching the 2022 invasion.
The events which took place on 24 February 2022 took the world largely by surprise. While fears had been raised in the previous months as Russian forces massed on the Ukrainian border, analysts, government officials and military specialists continued to argue that a full-scale invasion of the country was very unlikely: it had been assumed that President Putin would not risk starting a war that could spill over into a full-blown confrontation with NATO. This, however, neglected to take into account that the Russian leader was no doubt emboldened by the lukewarm response of the West to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014.
It is indisputable that Ukraine, as a sovereign nation, has every right to defend its territory. However, Putin sees the Russian and Ukrainian people as one nation; he views the demise of the Soviet Union as a great tragedy, and when he took power in 2000, he set about reversing the decline of Russia’s influence in the world.
Section Two of the paper focuses on the role which cyber warfare is playing in this conflict, and includes an analysis both of state-sponsored operations, which frequently align with traditional physical attacks on critical infrastructure, and the highly successful campaigns which are being conducted by hacktivist groups such as Anonymous, the IT Army of Ukraine and Killnet.
Prospects for the future are reviewed in the Conclusion. A year on from the invasion, it appears there is no end to this war in sight. Putin would demand that the aspirations of Ukraine to join NATO and the EU should be put aside indefinitely; he would also insist on the installation of a Moscow-compliant government in Kyiv.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy understandably refuses to enter into diplomatic relations with Moscow, and is determined to reclaim the territory illegally annexed by Russia.
For their part, the Ukrainians and their Western allies might hope that the sanctions imposed on Russia will lead to severe financial problems which will in turn eventually result in the withdrawal of Moscow’s forces, protests against Putin and his acolytes, and even territorial instability. Could the Russian Federation, like its Soviet predecessor, disintegrate as people in the republics such as Chechnya, Buryatia and Tatarstan rise up against the Kremlin? It seems possible but unlikely.