Why does the situation in the Ukraine matter for Europe and the West? Will our ability to put forward an effective policy towards Russia be measured by the way we handle the Ukraine crisis? In a recent comment, James Sherr writes:

"From the outset of the Ukraine crisis, the West has acted on the premise that economic sanctions would induce Russia to modify its actions. But while sanctions do constrain capacity, they do not constrain behaviour. Their immediate impact is bearable. Moreover, they do nothing to diminish Russia’s most usable and effective form of power: military force. Given the stakes, the case for strengthening Ukraine’s defences is compelling."

James Sherr is Associate Fellow (and former Head) of the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House and was a member of the Social Studies Faculty of Oxford University until 2012. He is also a Visiting Fellow of the Razumkov Centre, Kyiv and a Senior Associate Fellow of the Institute of Statecraft. Between 1995 and 2008 he was a Fellow of the Conflict Studies Research Centre of the UK Defence Academy, in 1999-2000 an adviser to the House of Commons Defence Committee and between 1983-85 Director of Studies of the Royal United Services Institute.  For twenty years, he has advised governments in the UK, NATO, the EU about developments in Russia and Ukraine and for a number of years worked closely with Ukraine on defence and security sector reform. He is a regular participant in the Harvard JFK School Black Sea and Russia Security programmes and is a member of the Valdai Club.  He is the author of Hard Diplomacy and Soft Coercion: Russia’s Influence Abroad (Chatham House, 2013). His most recent publication is ‘Ukraine: A War of Narratives and Arms’ (in The Russia Challenge, Chatham House, June 2015), Ukraine and Europe: Final Decision? (2013), The Mortgaging of Ukraine’s Independence (Chatham House 2010), Russia and the West: A Reassessment (UK Defence Academy 2008.

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