Breaking the Russian-Ukrainian Stalemate: Lessons from Military History

Today it is still the case that neither side seems to possess the military capability needed to end the war to its advantage, but there is also no prospect of peace negotiations anytime soon. Ukraine’s summer offensive did not alter the overall state of the war. From the perspective of military history, there is nothing unique about this situation, says lieutenant-general Arne Bård Dalhaug in this reflection.

“While the whole of the Crimean Peninsula is of interest in this context, the bridge over the Kerch Strait is of particular importance”. In this picture, people in Kyiv take selfies in front of an image of a stamp showing explosions on the Kerch Bridge on October 11, 2022. Photo: Ed Ram / Getty Images

Read More

Russian Siren Song of Peace and Baltic Warnings of War

Russian propaganda on the war against Ukraine illogically, but deliberately, combines three different narratives.

During his official visit to the Republic of Estonia, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with Prime Minister of Estonia Kaja Kallas in January 2024. Photo: President of Ukraine official website

First, President Vladimir Putin insists that his goals for the “special military operation” remain unchanged. Ukraine must be “neutralized,” and a pro-Russian government will be installed in Kyiv (Interfax, December 14).

Second, Putin repeatedly confirms his readiness to engage in peace talks, accusing Kyiv of sabotaging the process and clarifying that such conversations could only be had under the conditions of Ukraine’s surrender (Vedomosti, December 23).

Third, and perhaps most ambiguously, the Kremlin sends deniable signals about possibly “freezing” hostilities while asserting that Russia would never give up its imperial “conquests” (, January 25;, January 26).Read More

Ukraine’s Resilience and Russia’s Indifference Shape Their Strategies for 2024

The Russia-Ukraine war exhibits a stark asymmetry: Russia pursues aggression while Ukraine fights to preserve sovereignty, leading to divergent societal attitudes.

The Ukrainians are united in resilience against the brutal pressure. Photo: Wolfgang Schwan / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The deadlocked Russia-Ukraine war remains strikingly asymmetric in its character and key features. The core of this asymmetry is plain clear: Russia persists with the crime of aggression and Ukraine keeps fighting for preserving its sovereignty and restoring territorial integrity.Read More

Russia Enters Third Year of War Diminished, Degraded, and Joyless

On the night of December 29, 2023, Russia conducted a series of massive missile strikes on Ukrainian cities. This operation was meant to add weight to President Vladimir Putin’s confident and unwavering words in a series of public events that concluded the year.

Putin visits military training in Ryazan. Photo:

It produced another failure, however, as most missiles were intercepted by Ukraine’s air defenses (, December 29). As many as 35 innocent civilians were killed, though the missiles hit nothing of military significance.

Read More

Optics as Politics: Culture, Language and Learning with UiO ChatGPT

Discussing the case of the University of Oslo ChatGPT and the plight of Palestinians, this blog calls for educators and researchers in peace and conflict studies, to consider the communicative politics of generative AI in their work.

Photo: Johner via Getty Images

Read More

Russia’s Row With Finland Exacerbates Baltic Solitude

Russia’s geopolitical influence is increasingly shrinking in the Baltic Sea region. The most recent episode in the region’s worsening relations with Moscow was the sudden arrival of hundreds of migrants from the Middle East and Africa in November to the busy border crossing between Russia and southeastern Finland (Kommersant, November 30).

Border patrol guards checking the land border of Vaalimaa, between Finland and Russia, one of the most important land border between the two countries. Photo: Giulio Paletta/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The Finnish government responded to the crisis by renouncing the agreement on cross-border cooperation with Russia and closing all border crossings (RBC, November 30).Read More

Illusions and Peace Plans in the Middle East

Both the two-state and one-state solutions exist only in the imagination. Time has run away from them, as things stand today.

Jerusalem, December 2023. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The violent conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has been going on for 75 years, with Israel emerging stronger from all of the more serious outbreaks of warfare. How can this conflict be resolved?

A biblical answer from a rabbi was apparently that ‘it can happen by natural means – that would be a miracle. Or it can happen because of a miracle – that would be the natural course of events’.Read More

More and More Children at Risk of Conflict

News reporting from around the world constantly and painfully reminds us about the heavy toll paid by children in current conflicts, such as in Ethiopia, Ukraine, and Gaza.

Palestinian children are playing inside a destroyed house following an attack by Israeli forces in the Askar refugee camp, West Bank. Photo: Nasser Ishtayeh / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images

In addition to being directly exposed to grave violations such as killing and maiming, recruitment by armed groups, sexual violence, abduction, attacks on schools and hospitals, and denial of humanitarian access, children also suffer more indirectly from the consequences of war. Children living in conflict-affected areas are more likely to drop out of school, lack access to clean water, and suffer from mortality risks due to illnesses and malnutrition, or lack of vaccines and medical care.

Today Save the Children launches its new report Stop the War on Children: Let Children Live in Peace.

Read More

Gaza: A Religious Conflict?

Hamas named its terror attacks on 7 October ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’. Hamas believes that Jewish extremists, with the direct and indirect support of the Israeli authorities, pose a threat to, and are plotting to take over, the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem.

Israeli police guard a gate to the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, sacred to Muslims, on December 2, 2023. Photo: Scott Peterson/Getty Images

The terror attacks led to an outbreak of the kind of religious language that has a mobilizing effect. Hamas knows very well that all Palestinians, whether Christian or Muslim, regard the Al-Aqsa mosque compound as a national symbol. The Dome of the Rock with its golden dome covering is a familiar and beloved image for Muslims all over the world.Read More

Russian Energy Industry Faces Looming Investment Crisis

The 2023 UN Climate Change Conference (COP28), currently taking place in Dubai from November 30 to December 12, is missing contributions from one major energy power — namely, Russia.

A view from the oil company Tatneft in Tatarstan, Russia in June 2023. Photo: Alexander Manzyuk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Many countries are guilty of pledging to curtail emissions then departing from their plans and falling short of the United Nations’ ambitious goals (Kommersant, November 30). Moscow sees the prospects of a “green transition” as a challenge to its international position and treats it as a security threat (The Moscow Times, November 30).Read More