Explained: Russia and Ukraine

Explained: Russia and Ukraine

All you need to know about the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Jacob Shapiro
Jacob Shapiro


  • Moscow has an imperative to pursue strategic depth in Europe given its geography.
  • Russia does not want to fight a war, but in order to force political and security concessions, it must convince the West that it’s prepared to fight.
  • The implications of a full-scale Russian invasion would impact oil, natural gas, fertilizer, nickel, and wheat prices.

What’s Going On?

Russia has deployed over 100,000 soldiers to its border with Ukraine. According to the US Department of Defense, Russia is ready to invade Ukraine with the goal of conquering the entire country. According to Reuters, Russia has even shipped blood and medical supplies to the frontlines.

To counter the threat, the US has placed 8,500 troops on “heightened alert” (That’s less than 10% of Russia’s deployed strength… Putin must be terrified). The US is also promising its European allies it can provide enough oil and natural gas to meet demand if Russia cuts the EU off.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has consistently repeated what several Russian officials have insisted for months: that Russia does not want war, but is prepared to respond to provocations from the US and Ukraine.

As for Kyiv – it has been telling everyone to chill out. In the words of Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov: “Don’t worry, sleep well” as Russian and Ukrainian officials hold talks in Paris and promise to maintain a ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine “unconditionally.”

Don’t feel bad if you’re confused. On the surface, very little of this makes sense. Geopolitics, however, can light our way – and can also help zero in on exactly how and why this should matter to global investors as well.