- - Friday, February 17, 2023

This is the first episode in a two-part series marking the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

One year ago, on Feb. 24, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin may have believed he was on the precipice of a quick, legacy-defining victory. His superior troops and tanks would roll into neighboring Ukraine – in a “special military operation” – beyond the areas of the eastern Donbas region, where Russian forces had been backing separatist groups in a stalemated conflict since 2014. Mr. Putin’s armies would encounter light resistance, reach Kyiv in days, decapitate the Ukrainian government, and – borrowing a line from a certain U.S. vice president a generation earlier – be greeted as liberators.

Within weeks, Mr. Putin’s war aims were exposed as a fantasy. Ukraine’s armed forces, supported by U.S. weaponry, resiliently thwarted the Russian advances. In the ensuing year, casualties on both sides were immense, and the damage to homes and infrastructure inside Ukraine incalculable. Thousands of civilians have been killed and millions displaced. There’s no end in sight to Europe’s largest war since 1945. Despite Ukraine’s valiant defense, Russia occupies 15% to 20% of its territory.

In this episode of History As It Happens, The Washington Times’ national security team leader Guy Taylor and Catholic University historian Michael Kimmage discuss what to expect in the coming year as well as the origins of the war, which remains a hotly debated topic on both sides of the Atlantic. Mr. Kimmage, who worked on the Russia-Ukraine portfolio for the State Department in 2014-16, also discusses the ways in which U.S. leaders talk about national interests, as Congress has approved billions of dollars in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. The non-NATO nation is often described as a “front line” in a global struggle between democracy and autocracy.

Listen to the conversation by downloading this episode of History As It Happens.

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