Survive and thrive: A European plan to help Ukraine within the lengthy conflict in opposition to Russia


  • Russia’s conflict on Ukraine is more likely to final a few years, even when the violence might subside at instances.
  • To maintain Ukraine throughout this battle, Europeans ought to draw up a four-part ‘long-war plan’.
  • This plan would comprise army help to Ukraine within the type of a ‘safety compact’; safety assurances that reply to situations of Russian escalation; financial help, giving Ukraine entry to the EU’s single market; and assist to safe Ukraine’s vitality provide.
  • Besides its sensible affect, this plan will sign Europeans’ dedication to helping Ukraine, exhibiting Kyiv, Moscow, and the broader world neighborhood that the EU is in it for the lengthy haul. The long-war plan may even present readability to anxious publics in member states.
  • Together, these proposals would defend Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and assist create the long-term situations for a decision to the conflict – if and when a extra constructive angle emerges within the Kremlin.


As the conflict in Ukraine passes its six-month mark, the return of battle to the European continent continues to shock. The bravery of Ukrainians, and the unity of their companions, have been the defining options of the conflict’s first section. Rather than collapsing, Ukraine and its supporters have proven an inspiring dedication and solidarity within the face of aggression.

Unfortunately, the conflict reveals little prospect of ending. The violence might subside at instances, however the absence of any kind of decision will imply that it might reignite at any second. Ukrainians, and their supporters in Europe and elsewhere, need to embark on an extended conflict.

To prevail in that conflict, the Russian regime should hope this Ukrainian spring will give method to a Russian winter. It desires to make progress on the bottom by slowly capturing extra territory. It counts on chilly climate, hovering vitality costs, and the burdens of internet hosting refugees to undermine public help in Europe. It believes that home politics within the United States will begin to weaken transatlantic unity. And the Kremlin thinks it could actually win the battle of narratives, significantly within the world south.

But, even because the European Union and its member states push again on all these fronts, they need to take into account extra holistically how they are going to help Ukraine within the lengthy conflict. By laying out a complete plan for the conflict’s subsequent section, Europeans can ship important messages to key audiences. They may give a sign to Kyiv that they’re on this for the lengthy haul, but additionally encourage Ukraine to proceed to keep away from escalation. They may give a sign to Moscow concerning the prices of aggression and thereby encourage it to de-escalate. They may give a sign to the general public at residence by making clear the stakes concerned and reassuring voters that the prices are restricted and unfold pretty. Europeans may give a sign to Washington that they’re pulling their weight and never free-riding on American help. And they may give a sign that the punishment of Russia is not going to come on the expense of the remainder of the world.

Ukrainians will and may make their very own choices about how they wish to organise their resistance to Russia’s invasion. But Europeans should equally determine for themselves what can they provide to help these Ukrainian efforts and the situations below which they are going to supply it. They shouldn’t watch for US management on these points – Ukraine is in Europe’s neighbourhood, not America’s. Worse, the United States’ political volatility and its different urgent world commitments imply that it’s not a completely dependable accomplice on this endeavour. Europeans should take up their duty to supply assist to Ukraine within the lengthy conflict, and to contribute the lion’s share. Effective European help for Ukraine that follows a robust strategic logic is, the truth is, extra more likely to preserve the US concerned within the effort.

A complete ‘long-war plan’ for Ukraine ought to comprise 4 important components that Europeans decide to supporting:

Military safety – The EU and its member states would supply long-term army help to Ukraine via a brand new safety compact agreed by the EU and Ukraine. This would contain sending weapons and gear to the Ukrainian armed forces and safety companies, and providing coaching and technical help in areas comparable to cyber.

Security assurances The EU’s member states would complement the army help offered via the safety compact with a complete set of safety assurances. These would set out the kind of elevated help they’d give to Ukraine within the occasion of varied conceivable Russian escalations.

Economic safety – The EU would proceed to supply monetary help to stabilise the Ukrainian economic system and start the lengthy reconstruction course of. But, to supply a long-term imaginative and prescient of integration with Europe, the EU would additionally supply Ukraine a “partnership for enlargement”. This would open up entry to the European market, doubtlessly enable Ukraine to obtain cohesion funds, and assist it put together for EU membership over the long run.

Energy safety – Finally, the EU and its member states would construct on Ukraine’s membership of the EU vitality union to assist the nation extra tightly combine its vitality infrastructure with that of the EU and meet its worldwide local weather obligations. To ease the societal affect of the vitality transition, the EU would additionally present a “Just Transition Fund to Ukraine” modelled on the EU cohesion coverage’s inside Just Transition Fund.

This paper particulars the 4 elements of a European long-war plan for Ukraine that would assist maintain the nation via the battle. Few plans, after all, survive contact with actuality. Military developments on the bottom in Ukraine and political developments on this planet past have regularly shocked and upset probably the most rigorously made preparations of all sides. They in all probability will once more. That actuality, nonetheless, shouldn’t stymie the event of reasonable plans to help Ukraine. The proposals contained on this paper goal to stimulate considering within the EU about what’s more likely to be Europe’s best geopolitical problem within the years to come back.  

Military safety 

Foreign army help has turn into the lifeline of the Ukrainian conflict effort. In the lengthy conflict, will probably be important to strengthen Ukraine’s army capabilities and forestall any additional escalation of the conflict as soon as Russia has rested and refitted its forces. Ukraine’s companions, and significantly the EU and its member states, ought to help Ukraine in attaining these targets. These efforts can proceed independently of any effort to advertise NATO or EU candidacy for Ukraine. They are crucial to make sure that European militaries can successfully proceed, over the course of an extended conflict, to supply the kind of help they’ve been giving to Ukraine in current months. 

One means of engaging in that is to supply Ukraine with a “security compact.” This would primarily be a set of EU and Ukrainian undertakings designed to extend cooperation between the safety and defence sectors of the EU and Ukraine. Such a safety compact could be a broad-based effort to enhance the EU’s cooperation with its companions on intelligence reform, cyber-security, and army cooperation – enhancing the help the union offers to Ukraine to defend in opposition to international threats. 

In the run-up to the all-out Russian invasion of Ukraine, many related, particular person efforts passed off. But they have been inadequate, and EU member states usually didn’t lead them – relatively, the US and the United Kingdom did. In the subsequent section of the lengthy conflict, the EU and its member states must take the lead in selling a safety compact with Ukraine. They additionally must extra systematically assess Ukraine’s army help wants and make better efforts to satisfy these wants.

Compact targets

Despite the inherent uncertainties, it’s potential to establish what steps the EU can absorb pursuit of this effort – a significant safety compact for Ukraine will ask a number of member states. The necessities transcend simply the prices and level in direction of the general improvement of European capabilities and prolonged long-term cooperation with Ukraine at a number of ranges. The effort ought to handle a number of fast and strategic points.

Military dimension and funding

The lengthy conflict in Ukraine will primarily be a land conflict. Since 2021, Ukraine’s land forces have comprised two elements, every enjoying an vital position: the standing forces, made up {of professional} and contract troopers; and the territorial defence forces and their conscript-training amenities. All instructed, the Ukrainian army in February mustered nearly 200,000 soldiers in the active force (organised into 29 brigades of manoeuvre forces) and another 900,000 in the reserve force (organised into 4 heavy and 23 mild reserve brigades). This is a considerably bigger drive than the German or the French military, and it has accordingly excessive funding wants. Currently, appreciable parts of Ukraine’s international army help go in direction of paying troopers’ salaries and offering assist for troopers’ households as a result of the Ukrainian state lacks the funds.  

Transition to Western weapons and gear programs

An much more urgent subject, already demonstrated by the conflict to date, is the necessity for Ukraine to transition to proudly owning and utilizing Western -designed gear. Supply chains counting on Russian spare elements and ammunition are unreliable, and purchases of second-hand Soviet gear or shares from different nations are stop-gap measures at greatest. Europeans ought to subsequently goal to make the Ukrainian army extra interoperable general with NATO militaries. As a part of this, Ukraine may even have the ability to create a well-equipped speedy response drive that will enable it to answer quite a lot of escalation contingencies.

A Ukrainian armed drive that’s extra interoperable with NATO militaries would enable Europeans to shortly upscale weapons deliveries in any given disaster; put together shares of provides (comparable to ammunition and spare elements) for Ukraine, and pre-deploy them near the border in case of escalation or a brand new disaster; and harmonise command and management and cyber-security requirements, procedures, and information so as to enable for fast change of battlefield info and speedy response to cyber-attacks.

Of course, given the scale of Ukraine’s military, this isn’t a simple job. The desk beneath offers a back-of-the-envelope estimate for the substitute of the Soviet-era programs Ukraine at the moment makes use of with Western-designed weapons and the acquisition of 12 days of ammunition provide for them. The numbers are primarily based on high-readiness forces’ pre-war shares solely, and recommend a value of about €100 billion.

Estimated prices for the substitute of Soviet-era programs with Western-designed weapons and 12 days of ammunition provide
Type Number in use Replacement value per unit (€) Average day by day consumption 12-day ammunition provide Ammunition prices per spherical Total prices (€)
Main battle tank 987 8,000,000 20 236,880 5,500 9,198,840,000
Misc armoured preventing car 747 2,000,000 250 2,241,000 320 2,211,120,000
Infantry preventing car   1,357 5,000,000 150 2,442,600 450 7,884,170,000
Armoured personnel provider  831 4,000,000 1,200 11,966,400 5 3,383,832,000
Towed artillery 587 1,500,000 70 493,080 1,000 1,373,580,000
Self-propelled gun   655 10,000,000 70 550,200 1,000 7,100,200,000
Light a number of launch rocket system  209 0 80 200,640 1,000 200,640,000
Heavy a number of launch rocket system  150 3,500,000 12 21,600 150,000 3,765,000,000
Self-propelled anti-aircraft weapon 75 15,000,000 500 450,000 1,000 1,575,000,000
Heavy mortar 404 0 100 484,800 800 387,840,000
Fighter 80 80,000,000 2 1,920 3,000,000 12,160,000,000
Light surface-to-air missile 1,768 480,000 4 84,864 150,000 13,578,240,000
Heavy surface-to-air missile 332 25,000,000 2 7,968 3,500,000 36,188,000,000
Smart artillery spherical     20 240 150,000 36,000,000
Anti-tank guided weapon      500 6,000 240,000 1,440,000,000
Total           100,482,462,000
Note: 120mm mortars and light-weight MLRS (BM-21 Grad household) don’t want substitute, as NATO continues to make use of these calibres. Twelve days of fight provides are the minimal commonplace in NATO to be stored at hand.

Source: Gustav Gressel

In the top, the fee won’t be fairly so excessive. The figures set out above are for brand spanking new gear, however, as is commonly noted, the transition to Western gear ought to come first from shares of present gear.

Defence-industry capability

A serious problem in helping Ukraine’s transition to using Western gear in help of a large-scale land conflict might be industrial output. In the previous 30 years, NATO militaries have principally fought counterinsurgency campaigns or restricted wars in opposition to growing nations. None of those campaigns has demanded air-defence programs, or massive numbers of tank and artillery rounds. The army help effort for Ukraine has revealed quite a few defence-industrial weaknesses in Europe that Europeans might want to shortly handle. Europe is subsequently at the moment unable to pursue an industrial conflict, in Ukraine or anyplace else.

As a primary step in direction of having the ability to maintain such a conflict, NATO planners should rethink the trade-offs between amount and high quality of army gear and ammunition. They might want to recognise that, in sustained industrial warfare, amount has a high quality all its personal. For instance, the West (European states and the US) has been overly reliant on precision-guided munitions, all of which take a very long time to supply and sometimes value greater than €150,000 per munition. For most battlefield conditions, nonetheless, ‘dumb’ munitions would do. Each yr, the US produces 9,000 M-30-family GPS-guided rockets for the M-142 HIMARS system. This is what Ukraine is predicted to make use of over 25 fight days. Cheaper options are not in manufacturing.  

Because a tank spherical is a lot cheaper than a contemporary anti-tank guided weapon, even the excessive prices of buying the latest Leopard 2 tank would equal the preliminary value after about 35 engagements. In a low-intensity fight state of affairs – for instance, Afghanistan – 35 engagements in opposition to targets comparable to armoured autos take a very long time to build up. They hardly justify the logistical effort of fielding a car like a Leopard 2. But in high-intensity fight comparable to Ukraine, 35 engagements might happen in a single day. The foremost battle tank is subsequently an economical imply to ship the specified outcome.
Similarly, foremost battle tanks seem far more costly for destroying enemy armoured autos than the Javelin anti-armour weapon system, as tanks value far more per unit (€8m versus €200,000). But after 35 engagements, a brand new foremost battle tank is ‘cheaper’ than a Javelin as a result of tank rounds value solely a fraction of the ultra-sophisticated Javelin good missiles.  

The Ramstein process initiated by the US in April 2022 to coordinate army help to Ukraine from all the varied nationwide donors has succeeded considerably in making a much less chaotic help course of and standardising the gear delivered. However, the amount of deliveries remains to be too low. Used US M-113 armoured personnel carriers, M-109 howitzers, and German Leopard 2 battle tanks should be the long run spine of the Ukrainian army as a result of there isn’t a various; neither is there capability (or cash) to supply brand-new gear within the required portions.  

One method to decrease the prices for Ukraine’s transition to Western requirements is for main Western defence industrial companies to interact in manufacturing partnerships with Ukrainian enterprises in order that they will learn to produce gear in accordance with NATO requirements. This could be executed for many lessons of armoured preventing autos, munitions, artillery programs, and digital warfare gear. Spare-parts depots in Poland or Romania containing Ukrainian-produced car elements ought to complement this effort. Ukraine should work exhausting to guard its defence industrial belongings from Russian assaults, and a few enterprises could also be relocated to Poland or Romania at some stage in the conflict to guard them and protect data and expert labour. 


Ukrainian forces will want coaching from NATO nations to have the ability to use Western weapons and to successfully combine new recruits. The UK has already began such an effort, and Poland and the EU have introduced their intention to take action.

But, within the lengthy conflict, the safety compact might want to embody a broader dedication to coach Ukrainian troops on new weapons programs. Training and manoeuvres ought to enhance to permit for the switch of data, not solely within the standard army realm, but additionally in EU or NATO coaching for Ukrainian forces on digital warfare and cyber-capabilities. This is just not a one-way road, as Ukraine now has first-hand expertise preventing Russia in all realms. Embedding European army advisers with the Ukrainian armed forces for coaching and advisory functions would facilitate long-war assessments on wants and shortfalls.  

Training exterior Ukraine is especially wanted for forces aside from the common Ukrainian forces. As famous, Ukraine’s territorial defence forces comprise 23 brigades of sunshine infantry. Those brigades have been fashioned solely shortly earlier than the conflict started and have performed an vital position in backing up the common forces. However, that they had inadequate time to coach and lacked some crucial gear. There was no officer coaching programme earlier than these brigades have been fashioned. This hole has now partially been stuffed by coaching in NATO nations and might want to proceed.


There is a big hole between US and UK capabilities to observe and forecast Russian army strikes and people of continental European states. Europeans want to enhance their very own digital intelligence capabilities and assist Ukrainians enhance theirs to hint particular person Russian programs. Both Europeans and Ukrainians additionally must increase their army cyber capabilities within the offensive and defensive realms. Russia’s digital command and management programs have confirmed to be a lot weaker and unsophisticated than anticipated. 

Air drive and navy

The conflict up to now has demonstrated the important significance of Ukraine’s air drive. Without the Ukrainian air drive, Russia would have used the air house over Ukraine at will and would have crushed the Ukrainian land forces, significantly its mechanised reserves. Although the first focus of a European safety compact could be the land forces, it’ll additionally want an vital air element.

The wants are equally nice. During the conflict, Ukraine has operated 70 fighter plane (Mig-29, Su-27), 45 assault plane, six air defence brigades, and 4 air defence regiments with Buk-M1 and S-300 programs, which collectively embody about 322 heavy surface-to-air missile launchers. The surface-to-air missiles defend key infrastructure and cities, whereas the fighter plane act as a cellular reserve within the gaps in between. Given the scale of the nation, reductions in numbers on account of losses or ammunition shortages would open important holes in Ukraine’s air defences. All six air-defence brigades and 4 regiments must transition to Western-supplied programs to maintain up the availability of munitions. 

Ukraine’s army state of affairs additionally has implications for the fight plane it wants. To function efficiently in opposition to a superior enemy, Ukraine must preserve its fighter forces cellular and dispersed. They need to function not solely from small airfields, but additionally auxiliary airstrips comparable to straight roads and highways. Few plane within the West are designed to do that when it comes to ease of upkeep and brief take-off, however the US F-18 and the Swedish Gripen are designed for dispersed operations from improvised fields. In the long run, fighters initially designed for carrier-based operations will normally be higher fitted to such deployments.

As the Ukrainian air drive should battle on this dispersed means, there are limits to the utmost variety of forces one can function on this mode. Large airbases cluttered with fighters would solely present targets for Russian missiles. Even if Western multi-role plane are higher and extra versatile than Russian ones, Ukraine will solely have the ability to function round 80 to 100, together with some redundancies in case of conflict losses.     

Ukraine’s navy additionally retains an vital position. However, given the precedence of land and air forces in its long-war armament plans, Ukraine’s navy will probably stay a littoral one. The navy’s main belongings are coastal defence missiles and superior mines (in addition to mine-laying vessels), together with coastal surveillance radars and digital reconnaissance efforts. They would then be supplemented by small missile craft, significantly submarines. Given the backwardness of Russian anti-submarine warfare belongings, even a couple of coastal defence submarines would tie down many Russian vessels and prohibit Russia’s freedom of motion within the Black Sea. But Ukraine has by no means operated submarines by itself. Creating such a functionality would require exterior help from an skilled navy – and ought to be a part of any long-term European safety compact.  

Europe-Ukraine council of defence ministers

Finally, a council of defence ministers and intelligence chiefs from Ukraine and crucial donor nations ought to start to satisfy frequently to evaluate the state of affairs with Russia, the state of Ukraine’s army and its wants, and whether or not the EU and its member states live as much as the spirit of the safety compact. The Russian army might be equally adapting its forces and plans to handle its shortcomings within the preliminary phases of the conflict. The interplay between opposing forces that adapt shortly implies that this conflict, as with these prior to now, will stay dynamic even when there are lengthy durations of relative quiet. Supporting Ukraine in such a contest would require steady changes to insurance policies and drive postures. 

Security assurances  

Military help, whereas important, is not going to be sufficient to maintain the lengthy conflict in Ukraine. The nation may even want a deeper sense of solidarity from Europe – a way that Europeans will present deep and intensive help within the coming interval. To obtain this, Ukraine wants safety assurances that set out what kind of help Europe will present below which circumstances, together with varied types of escalation by Russia. Ideally, such assurances would observe a settlement and all events, together with the Russians, would take part in them. Russian aggression and intransigence imply this isn’t but potential. But that doesn’t forestall Ukraine’s companions from making bilateral safety assurances.

Such assurances would have a double perform. Firstly, they’d search to reassure Ukraine that it might not be left alone within the face of aggression by Russia. Moreover, they need to ultimately make Ukraine really feel comfy sufficient about future help to barter a settlement with Russia from a place of energy. Secondly, safety assurances would search to discourage Russia from launching new acts of aggression by lowering uncertainty round future Western help.  Russia wants to know – in no unsure phrases – that additional escalation or aggression might be met by elevated Western help for Ukraine.

For all these causes, Europeans ought to present safety assurances as a part of its long-war plan to help Ukraine. Those assurances take the type of bilateral political agreements between the EU and Ukraine, in addition to between Ukraine and key EU member states.

Various Ukrainian officers, together with Andriy Yermak, President Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of workers, have explicitly called for legally binding safety ensures from Ukraine’s allies that will instantly commit them to “the availability of weapons, change of intelligence, the help of our defence and the safety of our economic system.” Given the quantity of help Ukraine is at the moment receiving in all these classes, Yermak is basically asking for a way of future solidarity.   

Yermak’s name displays the way in which through which the Ukrainian understanding of safety assurances has been deeply formed by the expertise with the 1994 Budapest memorandum. In this doc, the US, the UK, and Russia dedicated to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, in change for which Ukraine agreed to surrender the nuclear weapons left on its territory after the collapse of the Soviet Union. That doc notably didn’t cease Russia from annexing Crimea and destabilising Donbas in 2014, or from enterprise an additional invasion of Ukraine in 2022.  

Kyiv regards the absence of a legally binding dedication by different signatories to answer such a situation as the primary motive for his or her failure to successfully protect Ukraine’s territorial integrity. However, the Budapest memorandum entailed solely adverse commitments (i.e., to abstain from sure actions) and no constructive commitments (i.e., to answer sure actions). In this sense, the US and UK honoured their commitments below the memorandum. Indeed, given the sanctions imposed on Russia and army help delivered to Ukraine after each 2014 and 2022, they far exceeded the guarantees made at Budapest. The lesson to be discovered from the expertise with the Budapest memorandum is subsequently much less concerning the authorized nature of the safety ensures Ukraine wants than about their substance. Future assurances ought to embody constructive commitments to answer Russian aggression, and there ought to be little question concerning the readiness of the guarantors to behave. 

In truth, a legally binding doc could also be much less substantial than a common political dedication. Assurances, legally binding or in any other case, will solely perform successfully in the event that they promote the political pursuits of people who present them. NATO members, and specifically the United States, have because of this all the time resisted tying their arms too tightly in issues of conflict and peace. Even NATO’s Article 5 doesn’t present for computerized motion, however relatively preserves the capability of allies to evaluate the advisability of varied choices earlier than taking choices by consensus. Governments don’t wish to be dragged into army motion with out taking a political determination to take action primarily based on their very own political pursuits. This implies that, within the case of safety ensures for Ukraine, a legally binding doc would find yourself entailing solely imprecise ideas.  

These safety assurances Europe offers Ukraine might want to keep away from offering any assure of NATO membership and shouldn’t prejudice the opportunity of some type of Ukrainian neutrality. Security assurances are normally offered by exterior powers to protect a sure steadiness of their pursuits or a sure established order. And, until Ukraine turns into a member of NATO, the safety ensures it receives should be explicitly distinguished from Article 5. Blurring the excellence could be detrimental each to the safety of NATO (whose deterrent posture might be focused instantly if it was seen as in any means supporting or being ready to help Ukraine) and to the safety of Ukraine (via Russia trying to check the extent to which NATO members are prepared to increase solidarity to Ukraine).  

In addition, the political wants of these offering the ensures are such that Ukraine would additionally want to present assurances of its personal. With a legally binding doc, Ukraine might endure a type of geopolitical ethical hazard through which extreme certainty about allied help would lead future Ukrainian leaders to take reckless actions. But, whatever the authorized character of a selected safety assurance, no nation will honour it if it feels Ukraine has not acted responsibly. In this mild, a non-legally binding settlement might truly show a extra highly effective doc than one thing ostensibly containing hard-and-fast ensures.

More broadly, the safety assurances shouldn’t diminish the opportunity of reaching a extra everlasting settlement with Russia. Russia’s aggression and its avowed dedication to destroy (or take over) the Ukrainian state at the moment make such a settlement unimaginable. But the purpose of European sanctions and help for Ukraine, in addition to the safety assurances proposed right here, is to ultimately drive Russia away from that place, to not solidify a everlasting divide between the West and Russia.  

The safety assurances ought to:

  • embody a headline dedication by guarantors just like article 42.7 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty; that’s, to supply “help and help by all means of their energy, in accordance with article 51 of the UN Charter”. They would commit to do that if additional Russian armed aggression takes place. This would enable each Ukraine’s EU and non-EU companions to have an identical degree of dedication to Ukraine’s safety, thus sustaining a robust transatlantic dimension whilst Ukraine progresses in direction of full EU membership. The dedication is broad sufficient to permit for wide-ranging choices, from monetary and humanitarian help to the availability of weapons and gear, as much as direct army motion if wanted. The ambiguity would have a deterrent impact, as it might rule nothing out, whereas on the similar time permitting Ukraine’s companions to pursue calibrated and gradual responses.  
  • decide to continued safety help and cooperation with Ukraine, as described within the first a part of this paper. Continuous army cooperation is a core factor of the credibility of safety assurances, because the established practices of communication and interplay will allow a speedy and efficient response within the occasion of a disaster. In this regard, the safety compact would act as an vital factor of the broader set of safety ensures. For its half, Ukraine would decide to proceed to take care of and develop its capacities so as to guarantee its personal safety.  
  • commit each Ukraine and its allies to determine a daily session channel for joint menace assessments and contingency planning. Ukraine and its companions would additionally use this to evaluate what the Ukrainian army must defend in opposition to additional Russian aggression or escalation. This would in flip enable Ukraine’s companions to plan their very own shares of {hardware} and determine what to supply to Ukraine in such a state of affairs. This is a important complement to prepositioning gear in Ukraine’s neighborhood, as in any other case that gear won’t meet precise Ukrainian wants.  
  • commit Ukraine and its allies to convene an emergency session mechanism inside 24 hours of an assault or on the request of Ukraine or any of the events to the assurances. The mechanism would collectively determine on help measures and potential additional actions, together with via diplomatic means, comparable to convening an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council and growing a draft decision to undergo the UN General Assembly.  
  • explicitly present for additional sanctions in opposition to Russia, though events to the assurances would retain ample flexibility to permit a proportionate response. In the occasion that among the present sanctions are lifted within the framework of a settlement, a snap-back mechanism, which might reimpose these sanctions within the occasion of renewed Russian aggression, could also be established as a part of the safety assurances. Such a snap-back mechanism would serve to discourage future Russian adventurism and to permit Ukraine’s companions to react shortly to any future aggression. 
  • explicitly pertain to sure elements of Ukrainian territory. As some elements of Ukrainian territory will probably stay past the management of the Ukrainian authorities, worldwide companions might be reluctant to supply assurances to those territories, even whereas holding quick to the concept that they continue to be a part of Ukraine. The wording ought to exclude these territories from the assurances and commit Ukraine to settling these disputes via peaceable means – if potential – with out after all recognising Russian sovereignty over these territories.  

Such safety assurances are reasonable and would perform as a deterrent to Russia. They would foster a way of solidarity in Ukraine whereas avoiding geopolitical ethical hazard. A set of safety assurances agreed alongside these strains might create a extra secure state of affairs, even in a long-war situation, and generate at the very least some momentum for all sides to discover a settlement.    

Economic safety 

In an extended conflict, it is not going to be potential to attend for a peace settlement earlier than taking measures to safe Ukraine’s future financial improvement. To maintain its capability to battle that lengthy conflict, Ukraine would require  worldwide help to finance the conflict effort, to take care of macroeconomic stability, and, even earlier than the conflict ends, to start the reconstruction wanted following the extra intense phases of the conflict. The European Investment Bank (EIB) has already pledged €1.59 billion in fast reconstruction help for Ukraine. Even extra urgently, the European Commission pledged emergency loans of as much as €10.2 billion in macro-financial help. By early August 2022 it had disbursed €2.2 billion of this sum. The EU might want to proceed to supply this backup help to maintain the functioning of the Ukrainian economic system throughout the lengthy conflict.

But, as crucial as this help is, it quantities to a really costly Band-Aid. To heal Ukraine and to maintain its will to battle the lengthy conflict, the nation would require a level of financial safety: that’s, the sense that its economic system can perform sufficiently to supply for its individuals even throughout the lengthy conflict, and that it could actually develop.  Of course, Ukraine’s economic system is not going to be ‘regular’ below long-war situations. At the second, for instance, it’s principally unable to export grain or different merchandise by sea. But even below such making an attempt situations, Ukrainians might want to, and may, obtain a level of financial safety.

One means {that a} long-war plan might promote that financial safety is to supply a imaginative and prescient of Ukraine’s European future and at the very least a style of what that future will imply. As a part of this effort, Ukraine grew to become a candidate for EU membership in June 2022, however the membership course of is lengthy and unsure. It might effectively take many years to finish and be years earlier than Ukrainians really feel any tangible profit. Without interim efforts, this course of might result in disillusionment in Ukraine, because it has in elements of the Western Balkans.

At the identical time, from an EU perspective, it’s not potential to short-circuit the membership course of. Arguably, the shortage of rigour in that course of so far has already weakened solidarity and cohesion inside an EU that has skilled successive waves of enlargement within the final 30 years. Ukraine wants a imaginative and prescient of integration with Europe that may present advantages within the close to time period, however neither promise nor rule out membership in the long run.  

For these causes, writing for ECFR, Piotr Buras and Kai-Olaf Lang proposed a “partnership for enlargement” that will search to allow integration earlier than formal enlargement for Ukraine and equally located nations. In the particular case of Ukraine, locked in an extended conflict with Russia, such a partnership might be important to assembly the geopolitical problem posed by Russia, and to channelling European help for Ukraine.  

The central facet of this partnership is to grant Ukraine negotiated entry to the only European market. Under this association, Ukraine wouldn’t have the flexibility to take part in EU choices on shaping the frequent market and different coverage areas, as EU members do. In this manner, Ukrainian entry to the only market wouldn’t upset the varied delicate institutional balances inside the EU which might be the supply of a lot of the opposition to additional EU enlargement. At the identical time, it under no circumstances precludes eventual EU membership via the traditional accession course of.  

This “everything but the institutions” strategy goes effectively past the present framework of the EU-Ukraine affiliation settlement, which solely contemplates integration in 14 particular areas. Symbolically, it might present Ukraine with the “4 freedoms”: the motion of individuals, items, companies, and capital which might be the central promise of the only market. Practically, it might create huge improvement alternatives for Ukraine inside a couple of years. Indeed, the very promise of speedy entry to the European single market might enhance personal funding into Ukraine nearly instantly, significantly in these areas much less affected by the conflict. 

Access to the only market will should be calibrated in a “extra for extra” (extra help for extra reforms) strategy, as embodied within the EU-Ukraine affiliation settlement. Achieving this intermediate degree of integration will nonetheless require troublesome reforms and programs of accountability on the Ukrainian aspect to make sure that European funds are effectively spent, and that Ukraine is adhering to the relevant European requirements. 

Unlike the affiliation settlement, the partnership would come with Ukrainian entry to EU cohesion funds. This might be important for financing Ukraine’s reconstruction of the financial injury inflicted by the Russian invasion. But, as a result of EU cohesion funds wouldn’t begin flowing for a number of years. In the interim Ukraine would want a particular EU liquidity and reconstruction fund. This might construct on European Commission and EIB efforts and be financed by frequent borrowing, serving to meet Ukraine’s fast wants and getting ready Ukraine for cohesion funds. This effort ought to complement and combine with efforts by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to finance Ukrainian reconstruction and help Ukrainian authorities liquidity. It shouldn’t come on the expense of help to different elements of the world. In all this, marking out a transparent path for Ukraine to affix the only market would assist to mobilise funding and help its handiest use. 

Energy safety 

Alongside the army, safety, and financial points of Europe’s complete long-war plan, Ukrainian success within the lengthy conflict will rely on safeguarding its vitality system. Indeed, a safe vitality system will strengthen exercise in help of the opposite points, enabling efficient army motion, minimising safety threats to Ukraine, and supporting financial improvement.

To obtain this, Ukraine ought to start to combine and align its vitality and local weather insurance policies with these of the EU, and Europeans ought to present help for it to take action. In the vitality realm, integration is critical as a result of Russia has typically sought to make use of its management over vitality assets to dominate its neighbours. In Ukraine’s case, the Russian presence in Ukrainian vitality firms and transit infrastructure has prior to now inspired corruption and restricted its sovereignty. Russia’s occupation of elements of Ukraine offers the Kremlin de facto management over among the nation’s important vitality infrastructure, together with the biggest nuclear energy in Europe at Zaporizhzhia, which produces 20 per cent of Ukraine’s electrical energy.  

Ukraine connected its electrical grid to the EU grid within the opening days of the conflict, however a lot stays to be executed on this area. The nation would require extra help to regulate its vitality system within the wake of Russia’s invasion and to proceed its modernisation. It might want to rebuild and enhance its vitality infrastructure, linking it extra tightly to European vitality programs. Kyiv may even must develop extra indigenous sources of vitality, enhance home vitality effectivity, diversify its vitality imports, and undertake home reforms to root out corruption and liberalise its vitality markets.  

At the identical time, Ukraine, like each different nation on this planet, faces the problem of adapting its vitality system and certainly its economic system to the worldwide crucial of decarbonisation. Ukraine’s commitments below the Paris settlement, the monetary markets’ rising reluctance to fund vitality initiatives that contribute to greenhouse fuel emission, and the EU’s personal commitments below the European Green Deal all imply that any effort to rework Ukraine’s vitality system should have local weather targets constructed in from the very starting. 

In sum, vitality and local weather are core coverage points that may critically have an effect on Ukraine’s skill to combine economically and politically with the EU. In the primary occasion, it’s because the European Green Deal means the kind of integration proposed within the earlier part is not going to be potential with out Ukrainian progress on local weather points. But, extra positively, efficient vitality and local weather insurance policies comprise the potential to encourage financial improvement and technological innovation and drive reforms within the economic system and in governance. They supply the chance to refocus Ukraine’s economic system away from fossil fuels, typically a supply of corruption, and to maneuver Ukrainian {industry} in direction of the brand new climate-friendly applied sciences that might be vital sources of future innovation and development

The EU supply to Ukraine should rise to this problem and this chance. Buras and Lang suggest 3 ways it could actually achieve this. Firstly, it could actually construct on Ukraine’s current membership of the EU vitality union. This would begin with an EU-Ukraine dialogue that will set reform targets and tie the quantity and disbursement of help to progress in direction of these targets. The dialogue would additionally concentrate on integrating Ukraine’s vitality programs with these of the EU, bettering the safety and resilience of its vitality infrastructure in opposition to cyber-attacks and different aggression, and reforming the Ukrainian vitality market.  

Secondly, along with investments in modernisation, the EU ought to create a “Just Transition Fund to Ukraine” to allow focused mitigation for Ukrainian social teams adversely affected by the vitality transition, comparable to staff in carbon-intensive industries. This could be on a smaller scale than the EU cohesion coverage’s inside Just Transition Fund however with an identical objective. 

Thirdly, the EU ought to arrange a multilateral local weather neighborhood, with Ukraine as a founding member. The objective of this neighborhood could be to outline the local weather requirements that Ukraine and others want to satisfy so as to entry EU vitality adjustment help funds and to keep away from having to undergo the European Green Deal’s proposed carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM). Given the urgency of the EU’s personal local weather insurance policies, Ukraine might be unable to attain the required financial integration with the EU with out such predefined requirements and help to satisfy them. Submitting to the CBAM, for instance, would render a lot of Ukraine’s remaining {industry} deeply uncompetitive within the EU. Of course, the fact of the financial stresses that long-war Ukraine might be below might require some rest of those requirements. But, even then, will probably be vital to know what the requirements are and the way Ukraine intends to ultimately obtain them.

Conclusion: Towards a decision 

Conditions of protracted conflict clearly make it troublesome to drive ahead Ukraine’s financial improvement and integration with the EU. Unfortunately, the character of in the present day’s geopolitical competitors doesn’t enable the drawing of such a shiny line between situations of conflict and peace. There is more likely to be no definitive finish to hostilities between Russia and Ukraine within the coming years, even when the violence might plateau. This implies that neither Ukraine nor the EU can afford to attend for a settlement with Russia. In these circumstances, the one method to maintain Ukraine in an extended conflict – and to create incentives for Russia to ultimately settle for a simply settlement – is to display that the nation can develop, and even thrive, via one of these complete European plan. 

The coming weeks might be vital in that regard: as winter approaches, Ukrainians will want an understanding of what kind of help, and the way a lot of it, they will count on from their companions to proceed their battle and protect their sovereignty. At the identical time, the European public will count on extra readability and visibility on what the EU is doing for Ukraine and why; that is additionally essential to consolidate European unity regardless of the conflict fatigue. It would additionally enable the EU to take a number one position on supporting Ukraine, at a time when the US administration might be specializing in home points and the approaching mid-term elections.  

The subsequent casual assembly of EU heads of state and governments, on 7-8 October, provides a superb alternative to launch this dialogue. It takes place after the UN General Assembly, which Russia and Ukraine will attempt to use to strengthen their standing on the worldwide stage, and earlier than the G20 summit in November – throughout which Russia will play on the blended emotions concerning the conflict in lots of rising nations. The EU ought to devise a transparent imaginative and prescient and message about its dedication to Ukraine’s safety, now and over the long run, to claim its confidence within the nation and to counter Russian narratives a few shifting world order. 

This plan to help Ukraine goals primarily to make sure the nation’s long-term sovereignty and territorial integrity within the face of continued Russian aggression. Alongside it, the EU and its member states, in shut partnership with Ukraine, must also stay open to the thought of a decision of the conflict. Each of those help efforts is in step with that risk. They will, subsequently, supply alternatives for a extra constructive Russia to contribute to European efforts in a way that the Russian authorities would discover in step with its personal safety pursuits. But, as such an angle within the Kremlin appears extremely unlikely at current, the EU ought to transfer forward with all these efforts – no matter whether or not Russia constructively contributes or not.  

About the authors 

Piotr Buras is head of the Warsaw workplace and senior coverage fellow on the European Council on Foreign Relations. Between 2008 and 2012 he labored in Berlin for Gazeta Wyborcza, the largest Polish day by day newspaper. His fields of experience embody Poland within the European Union, the rule of legislation, and German politics. 

Marie Dumoulin is director of the Wider Europe programme on the European Council on Foreign Relations. Prior to becoming a member of ECFR, Dumoulin labored as a French profession diplomat. She has intensive expertise with settlement processes of protracted conflicts in Europe’s jap neighbourhood. 

Gustav Gressel is a senior coverage fellow with the Wider Europe programme on the European Council on Foreign Relations’ Berlin workplace. Before becoming a member of ECFR, Gressel labored as a desk officer for worldwide safety coverage and technique within the Bureau for Security Policy of the Austrian Ministry of Defence and as a analysis fellow of the Commissioner for Strategic Studies with the Austrian Ministry of Defence. He additionally served 5 years within the Austrian Armed Forces.  

Jeremy Shapiro is the director of analysis on the European Council on Foreign Relations and a non-resident senior fellow on the Brookings Institution. He served on the US State Department from 2009 to 2013. 


This works gathers work that the authors and others at ECFR and past have executed on the conflict in Ukraine. Accordingly, it very a lot stands on the shoulders of a lot different work and varied in-depth conversations (and the occasional heated argument) with our great colleagues. We would significantly wish to thank Filip Medunic, Pawel Zerka, Kadri Liik, Majda Ruge, Sam Charap, Susi Dennison, Ivan Krastev, Kai-Olaf Lang, Pavel Slunkin, Denys Davydenko, Margaryta Khvostova, Olga Lymar, Nacho Torreblanca, Andrew Wilson, and Asli Aydintasbas, all of whose recommendation or work was very influential on us. The authors would particularly wish to thank Mark Leonard for making them write this paper and for serving to us to conceptualise it, and Adam Harrison for his good and brutal modifying. Of course, solely the authors bear duty for what seems right here.

The European Council on Foreign Relations doesn’t take collective positions. ECFR publications solely symbolize the views of their particular person authors.



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