Theresa May’s gnomic phrase ‘Brexit means Brexit’ echoed around British and international media outlets following the 2016 British referendum to withdraw from the European Union (EU). The ‘British Exit’, or ‘Brexit’, after a process lasting three years and overseen by various Conservative Party leaders, has indeed been achieved. However, the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine has posed a collective threat to the continent, including the United Kingdom (UK). With a renewed effort to cooperate on security matters, the ‘Brexit means Brexit’ aphorism has seemingly become tainted. With political analysts declaring that this renewed closeness is imperative both for saving Ukraine (Blewett-Mundy, 2024) and for the freedom and security of the UK and its EU neighbours (Ricketts, 2024), it is no surprise that there is an interest in analysing the increased momentum in EU-UK security cooperation. In this context, exploring how and why the UK and the EU have resumed their security cooperation is topical.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 immeasurably disturbed the European security landscape greatly fuelling fear of Russia's neo-imperialistic ambitions, particularly in the former Soviet sphere of influence. In Eastern Europe, especially in the Baltic states and Poland, these fears have grown steadily since Russia's hybrid forms of aggression against Ukraine in 2014. In particular, Poland has felt threatened by various hybrid threat scenarios since the beginning of Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, including a potential attack on its own territory. Poland's response to the war in Ukraine has been and continues to be influenced by both geographical and historical considerations. With a border shared with Russia's exclave, Kaliningrad, and the escalating tensions since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, the fear of a Russian invasion through the Suwalki Gap, a crucial Polish-Lithuanian border, emerged as a concerning potential contingency since the collapse of the Eastern bloc. As a result, Poland has decided to act decisively. In concrete terms, this has materialised as the massive expansion of its defence forces and staunch support for its attacked neighbour.
It is becoming difficult to analyse the 2022 conflict in Ukraine without also evaluating the political debate in Washington, D.C. This debate is becoming particularly relevant among 'America First' supporters who question the continued financial and military aid provided by the United States. Despite initial bipartisan support for aid packages, dissent has been growing, with critics arguing for fiscal caution rather than continued support. This paper outlines the aims of the ‘America First’ foreign policy. The primary aim of ‘America First’ politicians is that US allies contribute their fair share to collective deterrence in NATO and internationally. This paper highlights that since 2022, many European allies have contributed more than their fair share of defence spending. ‘America First’ politicians also demand that the foreign policy focus on cost-effectiveness. Understanding the specifics of this term is critical to measuring the success of the US aid program to Ukraine.
This study will critically evaluate defence and international affairs specialist James Bosbotinis’ article (2023) titled ‘The Lessons of the Ukraine War and its Implications for Artillery,’ weighing up its strengths while also providing analysis on the topic of artillery in Ukraine. Bosbotinis’ article is an in-depth and well-sourced study of what NATO and its Western allies more generally can learn from the tactics and weapon systems used by both sides of the Russo-Ukrainian war. Presenting an exhaustive analysis of the use of artillery, it evaluates the complementary nature of higher-end precision or guided systems and cheaper unguided conventional weapons. The nature of the war has highlighted the vulnerabilities that NATO countries could encounter if they were to directly engage against Russia. From munitions stockpiles to the risks associated with having large logistical chains, to the ever-increasing importance of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), artillery seems to have proven itself to be a key player in the waging of modern warfare.
In 1997, the international community signed the Ottawa Treaty as a response to the humanitarian crisis caused by the global proliferation of anti-personnel mines. They agreed on banning the development, production, stockpiling, transfer and use of anti-personnel mines. Twenty-six years later, these explosive remnants continue causing around 5000 casualties per year. This number is significantly rising. In 2020, Syria was most affected by anti-personnel mines with at least 2729 casualties.