On 24 February 2022, Russia stunned the world by launching an invasion of Ukraine. In the midst of checking on the family and friends who were now on the front lines of Europe’s largest conflict since the outbreak of the Second World War, acclaimed Ukrainian-American historian Serhii Plokhy inevitably found himself attempting to understand the deeper causes of the invasion, analysing its course and contemplating the wider outcomes.
The Russo-Ukrainian War is the comprehensive history of a conflict that has burned since 2014, and that, with Russia’s attempt to seize Kyiv, exploded a geo-political order that had been cemented since the end of the Cold War. With an eye for the gripping detail on the ground, both in the halls of power and down in the trenches, as well as a keen sense of the grander sweep of history, Plokhy traces the origins and the evolution of the conflict, from the collapse of the Russian empire to the rise and fall of the USSR and on to the development in Ukraine of a democratic politics.
Based on decades of research and his unique insight into the region, he argues that Ukraine’s defiance of Russia, and the West’s demonstration of unity and strength, has presented a profound challenge to Putin’s Great Power ambition, and further polarized the world along a new axis.
A riveting, enlightening account, this is present-minded history at its best.