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Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine changed the world in ways almost no one—including Russian President Vladimir Putin, a former spy with czarist tendencies—would have predicted. The first invasion on European soil since World War II has jolted the European Union out of indecision and division. Though perhaps fueled by raw emotion, the world’s democracies responded with concrete consequences—an unprecedented set of economic sanctions that have cut Russia off from the global economy and banking system.

 

Russia’s exile will have an effect on the global economy and with it the aerospace industry. But any disruptions pale in comparison to the damage the world would face if Russia’s invasion of its neighbor escalated into a wider—or even nuclear—conflict.

 

 

Assessing Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

A discussion about the opening days of Russia’s war on its neighbor Ukraine and how that renewed Europe’s focus on defending the continent.

 

From The Archive

Should Ukraine Have Given Up Its Nuclear Weapons?

First published on May 5, 2014

Did Ukraine make a mistake when it gave up its nuclear arsenal?  

That question was first asked after Russia occupied and annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in March 2014. When the Soviet Union collapsed at the end of 1991, Ukraine had on its territory 1,900 strategic nuclear warheads, 176 intercontinental ballistic missiles and 45 strategic bombers, constituting the world’s third-largest nuclear arsenal.

Three years later, Kyiv agreed to give it up in exchange for guarantees for its sovereignty and territorial integrity by Russia, the U.S. and the UK. Was it the right call? It was, said Steven Pifer, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, in an Aviation Week Viewpoint written shortly after Russia’s seizure of Crimea. Pifer argued that the newly independent nation lacked the infrastructure and money to maintain a nuclear arsenal on its own. 

Ukraine also would have been an outcast, deprived of billions of dollars in economic aid from the EU and U.S. and access to lending from the International Monetary Fund. “Broke and friendless, a Ukraine facing a crisis with Russia would have done so alone,” Pifer wrote.

Today, as Russian forces carve up the country and President Vladimir Putin declares it had never been a real nation, the question of whether Ukraine should have given up its nuclear weapons is back in the forefront.

Subscribers can click here to read the full column.

Implications On Aerospace & Aviation

 

Ukraine War: Latest Coverage

May 20, 2022
Russian Helicopters is preparing to replace Western-made engines on its products, with plans to test domestic powerplants on the Kamov Ka-226 and Ka-62 and Kazan Ansat as soon as 2023.
May 20, 2022
In its latest round of sanctions aimed at Russian entities in the wake of the Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the UK government has barred three Russian airlines from raising cash by selling their slots at UK airports.
May 20, 2022
Almost three months on from the initial shock of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the long-term impacts of the ongoing conflict on commercial aviation and aerospace are becoming clearer.

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