An Escalatory Spiral in Ukraine?
An Escalatory Spiral in Ukraine?
Podcast / Europe & Central Asia 1 minutes

An Escalatory Spiral in Ukraine?

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood talks with Olga Oliker, Crisis Group’s Europe and Central Asia director, about the latest escalation in Ukraine, as Russian airstrikes batter multiple Ukrainian cities.

The war in Ukraine took another nasty turn this week. Last Saturday, a blast destroyed parts of the Kerch bridge, which links Russian-occupied Crimea with Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed Ukraine for the explosion and announced retaliatory strikes on cities throughout Ukraine. This latest escalation comes after Ukrainian military gains in September prompted Putin to announce a partial mobilisation of fresh Russian forces and the annexation of several partly Russian-held regions in eastern Ukraine. He also made his most explicit nuclear threats yet. 

In this episode of Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood speaks with Olga Oliker, Crisis Group’s Europe and Central Asia program director, to discuss where things stand on the battlefield, where the conflict might be headed and the peril of further escalation. They talk about Russia’s recent escalatory steps and Moscow’s announcement of General Sergey Surovikin, who led Russia’s brutal campaign in Syria, as new commander for Russia’s Ukraine operations. They also look at the growing criticism in Moscow of Russia’s war efforts. They examine what Putin’s repeated escalations in response to Ukrainian gains means for the risks of a direct confrontation with NATO and nuclear weapons use. They also discuss the divided response from European countries on whether to welcome in Russians fleeing the Kremlin’s mobilisation. 

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

For more on the situation in Ukraine, check out Crisis Group’s extensive analysis on our Ukraine country page, our EU Watch List entry Walking a Fine Line in Ukraine and last week's episode of War & Peace Taking Stock of Russia’s Military Performance in Ukraine with RAND Senior Policy Researcher Dara Massicot.


Executive Vice President
Program Director, Europe and Central Asia

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