desolate landscape with trees and grey sky. A sign warns of nuclear contamination. With added logo “Socio-ecological Transformation Conflicts”
The exploitation of Ukraine's resources by external actors has caused environmental damage extending far into the future. | Foto: Oleksandra Bardash via Unplash

A Green Recovery for Ukraine: How to Avoid the Trap of Green Colonialism?

The environment is not a silent victim in Russia’s war against Ukraine; the long-term threats for the people of Ukraine are already visible. The environmental dimension of the war has been documented from early on. In this respect, the war is a model for future military conflicts. President Zelenskyy emphasized in his peace plan that green reconstruction is an essential element for a just and sustainable future. Green reconstruction, as every reconstruction, needs international support and local engagement. In this blog post, we identify the conditions that must be met to ensure that local groups are empowered and new international dependencies are avoided.


"Israel Stands With Ukraine" rally at Habima Square in Tel Aviv, 2022, while a projection shows Volodymyr Zelenskyy's online address to the Knesset. | Foto: Wikimedia Commons | Lizenzinformation

How War in Israel Affects Russia’s War Against Ukraine 

Since February 24th, 2022, the world has witnessed Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, which has become a serious challenge to many countries but particularly to those in the Euro-Atlantic community. A year and a half of brutal aggression has compelled Western governments to elaborate and implement a range of complex decisions at unprecedented scales and on a very short timelines. Further, Russia’s invasion has tested West’s ability to predict and assess security threats and to generate and sustain adequate political attention to the crisis. The shocking massacre of Israelis by Hamas on October 7th, 2023, has forced Western policy makers to react quickly to another crisis in another part of the world. Understandably, the Ukrainian government’s anxiety has increased with the uncertainty as to how it might be possible for the West would cope with two crisis situations simultaneously, and what—if anything— Kyiv should do about the situation in Israel. 


Map of Europe showing NATO member states, Russia and Ukraine.
Scholars like Mearsheimer have argued that the West is mostly to blame for the Russo-Ukrainian war. | Map source: (personal editing)

“Russian Self-Defense”? Fact-Checking Arguments on the Russo-Ukrainian War by John J. Mearsheimer and Others

In the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war, and in the wider Russo-Western conflict, both sides compete over international influence as well as over how Ukraine and Russia are governed. While most would agree with this general assessment, prominent scholars like John J. Mearsheimer and others have argued that the West caused these confrontations by aggressively expanding its influence and preferred regime type into Ukraine, thus forcing Russia’s hand. However, while Russia’s perceptions of NATO evidently played a role in its decisions, a recent study finds that Mearsheimer’s arguments are at best incomplete and at worst simply false.


South African President Cyril Ramaphosa
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, leader of the initiative | Photo: GovernmentZA via flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

An African Peace Initiative in the Russia-Ukraine War?

A team of seven African presidents led an initiative in mid-June 2023 to attempt to make peace in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. For most observers, this intervention raised interesting questions: How can states from a continent ravaged by wars and conflicts have the courage, credibility, and conviction to intervene in a European conflict? Moreover, how can countries without power and leverage intervene in a conflict in which other more powerful actors have failed? What did they expect to achieve from this intervention?  This article suggests that the African team sought to invoke the dire economic consequences occasioned by the Russia-Ukraine conflict on Africa to exert moral leverage on the disputing parties to end the war. Combined with the desperate economic situation,  the African leaders found strength in their neutrality to make a case for a peaceful approach to a conflict that has had global ramifications. The initiative did not seek to mediate the conflict; rather, it was a modest diplomatic plea for peace in the face of a deteriorating situation.


Prigozhin's "mutiny" in Rostov on 24. June, 2023. A tank with flowers in its gun barrel.
Prigozhin's "mutiny". A tank with flowers in its gun barrel. | Foto: Fargoh via Wikimedia Commons | CC0 1.0

What’s the Long-Term Significance of Wagner’s March to Moscow?

On 23 and 24 June, armed columns of the Wagner Group made their way from occupied Ukrainian territory toward Moscow, passing through Rostov and Voronezh. The declared goal of these Russian mercenaries under the leadership of oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin was to depose Russian Minister of Defense Sergei K. Shoigu and Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery V. Gerasimov. Prigozhin accused both of having betrayed Russia in its war against Ukraine.


Press briefing by UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine
Press briefing by UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine | Photo: UNIS Vienna via flickr | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

From Facts to Norm Violations and Accountability? The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine

The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine—established by the United Nations Human Rights Council in March 2022—published its report on 15 March 2023, detailing numerous violations of international human rights, criminal and humanitarian law, primarily carried out by Russian forces. Such commissions of inquiry are essential when other enforcement mechanisms are blocked, and can provide avenues for accountability in national, regional, and international courts. The full-scale attention of international institutions on Ukraine is a critical moment to strengthen the work of international fact-finding missions for future and existing armed conflicts.


Vladimir Putin's Face on a TV-Screen
September 21, 2022, Vladimir Putin, Delivers a Speech on Russian TV, Photo: Adrien Fillon, picture alliance |

Putin’s Mobilisation, Annexation and Nuclear Threats: Last-Ditch Effort or More of the Same?

Just as leaders from across the world gathered in New York to address challenges to global peace and stability, the Russian president Putin declared mobilisation in Russia for the third time in its history. This step, which had formerly was ruled out by Russian officials, indicates that the Kremlin does not have any viable options but to escalate. Even though Putin still prefers to call the war a “special military operation”, he has virtually introduced martial laws across the entire spectrum of Russian economy and society, doubling down on the only gamble that he thinks can still pay off.