Underestimating Ukraine and overestimating Russia: one year on from the full-scale invasion

Speaker: Dr Olesya Khromeychuk (Director, Ukrainian Institute, London)

Convenor: Dr Marnie Howlett (REES, DPIR)

Ukrainians did not wake up on 24 February suddenly feeling defiant. Their resistance was built up over centuries of repression, whether Russian imperial or soviet, and decades of shaping their regained statehood and their vision of the country they want to live in. This, however, went largely unnoticed in an international community that frequently dismissed Ukrainian voices.

In 2022, international observers predicted that Ukraine would fall within days of Russia’s full-scale invasion. However, a year on, the Ukrainian Armed Forces demonstrate unprecedented resistance to the occupying troops and Ukrainian society remains extraordinarily defiant. Why did the international community get it so wrong and what lessons should we draw from Russia’s war in Ukraine?

Dr Olesya Khromeychuk is a historian and writer. She received her PhD in History from University College London. She has taught the history of East-Central Europe at the University of Cambridge, University College London, the University of East Anglia, and King’s College London. She is author of A Loss. The Story of a Dead Soldier Told by His Sister (Stuttgart: Ibidem, 2021) and ‘Undetermined’ Ukrainians. Post-War Narratives of the Waffen SS ‘Galicia’ Division (Peter Lang, 2013). She is currently the Director of the Ukrainian Institute London.