Moscow has been testing Western defences and resolve for years. From poisonings on the streets of British cities, to disinformation campaigns undermining elections to the seizure of Crimea, Russian aggression has been consistent.
IWPR FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Now comes a potentially new phase, what may be an extending strategy across a sweep of border regions to challenge Western focus and seek tactical, and perhaps territorial, gains. Driven both by Russia directly and through allies – who could only be acting with Moscow's consent if not encouragement – this represents an important escalation.
From Minsk, President Alexander Lukashenko drives a policy of ushering refugees into Europe across the Belarusian border. From Banja Luka, Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik threatens to withdraw from Bosnian institutions, pressing the Dayton Agreement to breaking point. In Kyiv, as Russian troops mobilise by the Ukrainian border, President Volodymyr Zelensky warns about the potential for an imminent invasion. Meantime, instability in Nagorny Karabakh highlights Russia’s role as peacekeeper there, and its increasing influence in the Caucasus at the expense of the West.
For a Western alliance distracted by the pandemic, embittered by continuing Brexit fallout, reeling from the Taleban takeover in Afghanistan and not fully recovered from tensions during the Trump presidency, any one of these crises would be difficult to manage. Coming all at once – and with Asia-Pacific tensions already in focus – they represent a serious provocation against European stability.
The voices of independent media and grassroots civil society are at the frontlines of these major geostrategic disputes.
As our long-standing Asia and Eurasia Director Alan Davis recalls from his reporting from Vukovar in 1991, it is extremely difficult to secure real attention to far-flung conflicts, then as now. Yet these voices are critical. Providing accurate reports of events on the ground. Serving as witnesses to civilian suffering. Presenting voices of hope and humanity amid escalating tensions and war.
Supporting these voices has been IWPR’s core mission since the Balkan conflicts. And as our Frontline Updates show, it remains as urgent as ever, so please support IWPR this Giving Tuesday.
“They are victims of the cynical game that the Belarusian regime is playing."
Russian Troops Continue to Mass on Ukrainian Border
Analysts see build-up as part of a multi-pronged provocation against the West.
Vukovar: the First, Forgotten Casualty of the Yugoslav War
Attacked from the east and ignored by the West, the city's plight set a precedent for the coming years of conflict.
IWPR ASIA & EURASIA DIRECTOR