Does the West's Ukraine strategy make sense?
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February, Western leaders have responded by pouring arms into Ukraine and imposing heavy sanctions on Russia. Many people (including Ukrainian leaders) have called for the West to go further by imposing an embargo on Russian energy and declaring a no-fly zone over Ukraine. So far, however, these calls have been resisted. An embargo on Russian energy could severely damage European living standards, while a no-fly would lead to direct military confrontation between two nuclear powers.
Despite reluctance to adopt these measures, the scale of the West’s response is noteworthy in several respects. First, Russia is now the world’s most sanctioned country, with Western leaders having taken the unprecedented step of freezing its central bank assets. Second, some Western countries have broken with decades of policy, as in Switzerland’s decision to match EU sanctions against Russia, and Germany’s decision to ramp up defence spending. Third, although its air force remains weak, Ukraine’s infantry is now among the most well-equipped in the world, having received thousands of anti-air and anti-tank missile launchers.