Putin Pulls the Trigger and the West Responds Again: What Happens Now?

Jim DeLoach, Managing Director Host, The Protiviti View

On February 23, Protiviti issued a Flash Report on Vladimir Putin’s recognition of two Ukrainian regions as “independent people’s republics,” deployment of “peacekeeping forces,” and demands that Ukraine disarm and negotiate the sovereignty of the two separatist regions. The Flash Report also summarized the sanctions that had been imposed by the West in response to Putin’s aggression.

Much has happened since then. Putin has ordered a full-scale invasion (dubbed a “special military operation”) from three directions — from the north through Belarus, the south through the Crimean Peninsula and the east from Russia itself. This coordinated attack on the land, through the air, from the sea and across cyberspace is regarded by the West as an unprovoked act of war. According to U.S. military and intelligence assessments, Putin’s actions will result in up to 50,000 civilians killed or wounded and spawn a humanitarian crisis with up to 5 million refugees fleeing the country if the fighting with Russian forces escalates. That doesn’t count the disruption, emotional distress and terror inflicted on millions of innocent people. And history provides powerful lessons regarding wars in Europe that have often taken unexpected turns for the worse.

With his end game unclear, Putin has likely underestimated the resolve of the Ukrainian people and overestimated his military’s capabilities. In the wake of his aggression, a tragic humanitarian crisis is building as Ukraine puts up a courageous defense of its sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.

In this Flash Report, we summarize the latest developments in the Russia-Ukraine crisis, sanctions issued by the West, actions by a growing number of private sector organizations, and the implications and impact for organizations around the world.

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