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As the conflict enters its second year, The Globe asked writers, thinkers and artists from around the world to imagine what must happen to end the bloodshed

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A Ukrainian soldier helps a wounded comrade last September in liberated territory in Kharkiv.Kostiantyn Liberov/The Associated Press


Roman Waschuk: Prepare for a winnable war as Ukraine enters a period of transformative counter-offensives

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Roman Waschuk, at front right, is the business ombudsman of Ukraine who served as Canada’s ambassador to Ukraine from 2014 to 2019.Andrew Lahodynskyj/The Canadian Press

Ukraine has surprised itself and the world with its resilience, both in terms of grass-roots citizen and business solidarity, as well as the solid functioning of state institutions – from the Zelensky presidency down to local mayors. Chopping up Russian armour and supply columns around Kyiv, followed by fast-manoeuvre strikes to recapture major chunks of Kharkiv and Kherson regions in the country’s southeast, have built confidence that this war is winnable.
... Warfare is inherently unpredictable, but on present trends, we may now be seeing the best that Russia can muster in a series of unfocused attacks up and down the eastern front. And we should prepare to be surprised by a Ukrainian counter-thrust, possibly to the south, as the weather warms and the battleground firms up.

Read Roman Waschuk’s full essay.


Michael Ignatieff: Not politicians, not sanctions – only the battlefield will determine when the war will be over

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Michael Ignatieff’s latest book is On Consolation: Finding Solace in Dark Times.Bernadett Szabo/Reuters

“How to end the war” is more than the wrong question. Right now, it’s a malign diversion. Instead of sticking with the Ukrainians, instead of asking them what they need, we’re asking them what they’ll settle for.
When Western leaders, especially [French President Emmanuel] Macron, ask the question – how to end the war – they are really saying that they want the war to end before Ukraine wins. Because if Ukraine wins, Russia loses, and if Russia loses, or fears it’s about to, Mr. Putin may use his nuclear weapons. If he does, we are in an even darker world than the one we live in now. We don’t want to go there, so we want Ukraine to survive but not to prevail. No wonder the Ukrainians don’t want to listen. The battlefield will decide if they have to.

Read Michael Ignatieff’s full essay.


Keri-Lynn Wilson: Russian forces are no match for the power of Ukraine’s cultural legacy

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Keri-Lynn Wilson is the founding conductor and music director of the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra.Igor Zakharkin

I’m in Lviv, rehearsing a concert to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Russia’s brutal invasion. The headline of our concert poster reads “In Memory of the Invincibles,” dedicated to those who have died and to the indomitable will of the Ukrainian people. And that resolve is how and why Ukraine will win this war: by refusing to accept anything other than victory.
... Whether it is this spring or the next, Ukraine will win. And I look forward to someday conducting a “Concert of the Invincibles” at the Kremlin in celebration of Ukraine’s ultimate triumph, and the regime change in Russia that most surely will follow Mr. Putin’s defeat. Slava Ukraini!

Read Keri-Lynn Wilson’s full essay.


Ebenezer Obadare: This war is testing the international order, and the West can’t flinch in the face of it

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Ebenezer Obadare is Douglas Dillon Senior Fellow for Africa Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in Washington, D.C.Courtesy of the Council on Foreign Relations

A much-needed rapprochement should emphasize the mutual benefits to the strong and the weak of an international rights-based system in which all are subject to the same rules. Russia has not been shy about its disdain for that system.
Something changed this time last year when, following weeks of a massive military buildup, Russian forces finally entered Ukrainian territory. It seems clear in retrospect that Mr. Putin probably calculated that the West, distracted by domestic economic woes and bogged down in political division, would be unable to muster diplomatic unanimity. So far, he has been proved wrong. Now is the time to double down.

Read Ebenezer Obadare’s full essay.


Bill Browder: The West must do everything it can to ensure a victory for Ukraine

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Bill Browder is the leader of the Global Magnitsky Justice Campaign, and the author of Red Notice and Freezing Order.Christopher Katsarov/The Globe and Mail

There are two things we must do to put a stop to this. First, the West must implement and enforce a complete embargo on Russian oil and gas – we must cease purchasing these resources in any and all capacities. Second, we must use our economic power to influence countries that have chosen to side with Mr. Putin.
... Helping Ukraine win this war won’t be easy or cheap, but it will be a thousand times less costly than managing a direct conflict with Russia. We must do everything we can to help Ukraine, and we must do it now.

Read Bill Browder’s full essay.


Daniel Roher: Russia’s troubles won’t end until its citizens can freely oppose Putin

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Daniel Roher is the director of Navalny, which recently won the BAFTA Award for best documentary, and is nominated for Best Documentary Feature Film at the Oscars.Rob Kim/Getty Images

An end to the war in Ukraine must also come with an end to Mr. Putin’s regime. When Ukraine emerges victorious, or when the war concludes with a negotiated settlement, it will only be the first step. What is needed is the promise of free and fair elections in Russia, and liberty for those who oppose Mr. Putin – including [opposition leader Alexey] Navalny.
Today, Mr. Navalny has become the loudest antiwar advocate in Russia. And he is being punished for his moral clarity in the face of unspeakable evil. ... Despite this, Mr. Navalny’s trademark humour remains intact, and his spirit unbroken. For millions of Russians, Mr. Navalny’s resilience represents the crack where the light gets in – hope for the great Russia of the future.

Read Daniel Roher’s full essay.


Anna Arutunyan: To end the war in Ukraine, Putin needs a political win

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Anna Arutunyan is a Russian-American writer and a global fellow at the Wilson Center. She is the author of The Putin Mystique: Inside Russia’s Power Cult and, more recently, Hybrid Warriors: Proxies, Freelancers, and Moscow’s Struggle for Ukraine.Supplied

As Ukraine’s resolve has shown, survival is a powerful motivator. When your only choice is fighting or ceasing to exist, it’s not much of a choice at all. The West’s strategy is uncompromising in its show of resolve and its commitment to Ukraine’s victory. But this strategy is also what motivates Mr. Putin to keep fighting – in the absence of any incentive to stop, the end of the war spells an end for him.
Today, after a year of fighting and well over 100,000 Ukrainian casualties, many are asking how this conflict will end. It will end when, for both sides or for one, there is an incentive to stop fighting. Currently there is none. And, alas, Mr. Putin’s war machine still has quite a while before it runs out of steam.

Read Anna Arutunyan’s full essay.


Cesar Jaramillo: A negotiated settlement is the only path to peace in Ukraine

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Cesar Jaramillo is executive director of Project Ploughshares and chair of the Canadian Pugwash Group.

In some sectors, calling for a peaceful settlement has become a fringe position, while support for further militarization hardens. But while it may be a hard pill to swallow for some, the most realistic endgame involves a negotiated settlement. The dogged pursuit of an ill-defined “win” for either Russia or Ukraine will not only prolong the war and increase human suffering – it will heighten the risk that nuclear weapons will be used.
... A negotiated settlement is a sensible and realistic approach to ending the war. Efforts to stop the carnage would not constitute a surrendering of principles, but a triumph for humanity, diplomacy, and pragmatism. Its is high time to end the war in Ukraine.

Read Cesar Jaramillo’s full essay.


Natalie Slyusar: As a mother in Kyiv, ending Ukraine’s war means securing a future for the next generation

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Natalie Slyusar was born in Kharhiv, Ukraine, where she still lived with her husband and son before the war. Now in Kyiv, she runs an online jewellery business and is writing a novel.Anton Skyba/The Globe and Mail

Planning something in a country where swarms of Russian rockets can appear any time, at any place, feels impractical, and maybe even silly. But I’ve chosen this life and haven’t left the country for a reason: to get a good in-person education for my son, Yaroslav, in his last year at high school. We experienced online school during the pandemic, and we know for sure it’s not an option for us.
... The catastrophe caused by Mr. Putin’s evil war against Ukraine is like an iceberg that hides underwater many problems. Disrupted education is one of the most important, and solving that is connected to the future renovation of the country.

Read Natalie Slyusar’s full essay.


Ukraine’s year of war: More from The Globe and Mail

The Decibel podcast

The Decibel’s Menaka Raman-Wilms catches up with four people from Ukraine whose lives were upended by the war. Subscribe for more episodes.


From our correspondents in Ukraine and Poland

After a year of war, Globe correspondents reflect on what they’ve seen

War’s anniversary rings hollow for Ukrainians who have felt under siege since 2014's crisis in Crimea and Donbas

Ukrainian PM calls for sanctions over Russia’s ‘nuclear blackmail’

Ukrainian refugees in Poland live on hope, but little money

Apart but alive, this Ukrainian family recounts a year divided by war

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