Center for American Progress

RELEASE: How the United States Should Respond if Russia Invades Ukraine
Press Release

RELEASE: How the United States Should Respond if Russia Invades Ukraine

Washington, D.C. — If Russia invades Ukraine, the United States must lead a robust response that ensures President Vladimir Putin’s act of aggression is viewed over time as a massive strategic mistake, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress.

While the United States has options for responding to an invasion, the report finds that there is no silver bullet. The United States, for instance, will not send troops to Ukraine, as that simply is not feasible. Instead, U.S. officials will need to play the long game and pursue a sustained campaign to impose hefty costs on the Kremlin.

“The United States and its allies must take steps now that will affect the Kremlin in ways that will be felt years down the road,” said Max Bergmann, a senior fellow at CAP and author of the report. “The strength of America’s response next year and five or 10 years from now will matter just as much as the response in the weeks and months immediately after an invasion. But this pressure campaign will be effective only if the United States, NATO, and the EU commit to working together.”

The report offers nine recommendations that will have the most impact:

  • Target and uproot the wealth and influence of Russian oligarchs.
  • Establish strict export controls that deprive Russia of advanced technology.
  • Sanction Russian banks and wage a continuous economic sanctions campaign.
  • Push the European Union to pursue a wartime-like effort to decarbonize and reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels.
  • Modernize the militaries of NATO members, many of which still operate Soviet/Russian equipment.
  • Aid Ukraine by creating a new security assistance crisis response fund to stockpile military supplies to shorten delivery timelines.
  • Engage in a global diplomatic offensive to isolate Russia.
  • Maintain diplomatic dialog with Russia to deescalate tensions as it did during the Cold War.
  • Brace for Russia’s response by boosting counterintelligence and cyber efforts directed at Russia.

Read the report: “How the United States Should Respond if Russia Invades Ukraine” by Max Bergmann

For more information, or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at shananel@americanprogress.org.