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Hope amidst Hardship? Ukraine’s Position on the Geopolitical Chessboard and the Upcoming U.S. Presidential Election

2 years, 24 months, 730 days, 17520 hours, 1051200 minutes.


In the shadow of the second-year anniversary of the Russian invasion, Ukraine grapples with the lasting impacts of a tumultuous conflict that has thrust the nation onto the global stage. Starting with the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the Russian war of aggression has caused thousands of deadly casualties, massive displacement of civilians within Ukraine, as well as extensive damage to critical infrastructure that has further exacerbated the challenges faced by the civilian population. Against the backdrop of ongoing hardship, one may argue that there is a glimmer of hope as Ukraine navigates its pivotal position on the geopolitical chessboard, while the upcoming U.S. presidential election adds a layer of additional complexity and uncertainty regarding the existential topic of exogenous financial and military support that has become of utmost importance in maintaining the defence bulwark against the Russian threat.

 

A Critical Juncture for the Future Trajectory of the War?

In 2024, countries with more than half of the world’s population – over four billion people – will send their citizens to the polls to decide on the political future of their respective countries. Among those countries that will vote, the U.S. presidential election has arguably the most political weight, not only for the future of U.S. citizens but also for the trajectory of major geopolitical conflicts, such as the Israel-Hamas war and ultimately the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Thereby, one may argue that Ukrainian soldiers are at the mercy of both leaders and voters in the West, especially American citizens and politicians, who most importantly decide upon U.S. financial aid and advanced weaponry that is urgently needed to push back the Russian Armed Forces. While President Biden has repeatedly amplified the importance of providing aid to Ukraine, Republican politicians and voters have been increasingly sceptical of providing more aid, ultimately leading to a deadlock in the authorization of $60 billion in additional military aid by Congress.


Whereas European countries play a substantial role in providing financial support to Ukraine, as seen in the latest agreement on the Commission’s proposal to provide regular financial support till 2027, U.S. support is of utmost importance when it comes to military aid. With the upcoming U.S. presidential elections and Trump’s win in the Republican presidential caucuses in Iowa as well as New Hampshire, the former President reiterated that “We’re gonna get the Ukraine war solved”. Given Trump’s sceptical stance towards U.S. support for Ukraine, his self-proclaimed “close relationship” towards the Russian regime, as well as the significant differences of opinion between Republicans and Democrats on the matter of aid, it can only be emphasised that the U.S. presidential election will be a critical juncture in the trajectory of the Russo-Ukrainian war. Albeit one of several major elections in 2024, the inauguration of either a Republican or Democrat as U.S. president will significantly influence the pathway and ultimately the outcome of the war. Yet, uncertainty regarding the future US-Russian bilateral relationship remains consistent.

 

Hope amidst Hardship?

The second anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine serves as a reminder of the daily challenges faced by the nation and the importance of international cooperation in fostering long-lasting and sustainable peace. As the world anticipates the pivotal outcome of the U.S. presidential election, the international community must stand united in supporting Ukraine’s effort to safeguard the norm of national sovereignty and prevent the bizarre expansionary visions of the Russian President, justified by repeated acts of historical revisionism. Ultimately, the support of other sovereign countries is of utmost importance in delineating that the international community does not tolerate such behaviour and that it will try to prevent similar escalations in the future, for example, in the South China Sea.


 

Björn Laurin Kühn is a bachelor's and FGGA (Faculty of Global Governance and Affairs) Honours student of Political Science, specialising in International Relations and Organisations at Leiden University. He is particularly interested in Eastern Europe and the MENA region with a focus on security policies, crisis and security management, intercultural negotiation and transatlantic relations. Besides his studies, he is currently a member of the AC committee at the JASON Institute for Peace and Security Studies and is actively engaging in University politics as the IRO (International Relations and Organisations) representative for the Bachelor’s Programme Committee.


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