21 Mar 2022

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its impacts on Eastern Europe

Michael Emerson / Veronika Movchan / Artem Remizov / Denis Cenusa / Tamara Kovziridze / Shahla Ismayil / Benyamin Poghosyan / Andrei Yahorau / Andrey Makarychev

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From Ukraine, the first essential observation is that the Russian invasion, originally intended to secure control of Kyiv and overthrow the government within a week or two, has failed. The advance on Kyiv seems halted.  Public opinion polls in Ukraine show a huge 92 % majority believing that Ukraine will win the war, such has been their incredible resilience. The image in the EU of Ukraine, its people and President Zelensky has been totally transformed into one of heroism alongside terrible human suffering. They deserve a commensurate response to the formal request by Zelensky for Ukraine’s accession.

At its Versailles summit on 10-11 March the EU could only give a holding answer, inviting the Commission to formulate an Opinion on Ukraine’s application, as also those of Moldova and Georgia.  The impact on Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan follows a pattern of overwhelmingly (except for Armenia) support for Ukraine, while their governments take more cautious positions to avoid antagonising Russia. There are complex issues arising through refugee and migrant movements. Moldova receives more Ukrainian migrants per capita than even Poland. Armenia and Georgia are receiving large numbers of Russian migrants. Belarus for its part, complicit in Russia’s military operations, has become even more of a Russian satellite state.

In this edition of the Eastern Partnership Bulletin from the 3 DCFTAs project, of which CEPS is the leading partner, the project researchers give a succinct analysis on how the ongoing war in Ukraine is not just impacting Ukraine but all of the major countries in eastern Europe, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Russia.