A recent report by the Atlantic Council think tank advocating the provision of lethal military assistance to Ukraine highlights the threat posed by Russia to neighboring states.
But the key question missing from the Atlantic Council report is what the West’s overall goal in the conflict should be. The possible goals could range from helping Ukraine restore control over the Donbass, to implementing a cease-fire along the current line of control, to simply deterring Russia from similar adventures elsewhere.
The Atlantic Council report assumes but does not prove that Russian efforts to dominate its neighbors pose a grave threat to international security in general because success in Ukraine will embolden President Vladimir Putin to take similar actions elsewhere.
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Is the Russian Navy about to collapse? In a recent article on War is Boring, David Axe made this argument largely based on data from my recent articles on the Russian shipbuilding program and the Russian Navy’s priorities. While the information I provided is sound, Axe’s overall interpretation is not.
The Russian Navy is investing in a time-phased recapitalization of its navy over the next 20 years. Submarines are the first phase, already well under way, followed by smaller surface combatants, then increased amphibious capabilities. The navy is letting recapitalization of cruisers and destroyers slip into the next decade. As such, the availability of large combat ships will decrease in the near term but begin to increase in the medium to long term.
The Russian Navy has historically had four main missions: 1) strategic deterrence, 2) coastal defense, 3) protection of sea lanes of communication, and 4) out-of-area deployment.
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