Russia-Ukraine Dialogues: battlefield dynamics and prospects for 2024

In a recent statement, Putin asserted that "Ukrainian statehood may suffer an irreparable, very serious blow" if the current battlefield situation persists. Panelists delved into the military balance on the ground, analyzing the nuanced interplay of air, land, and sea power. The situation on the frontlines and the intricacies of the Ukrainian offensive were highlighted, along with a critical assessment of the strategic significance of the Black Sea and Crimea. Moreover, our panel scrutinized transatlantic support for Ukraine and explore the impact of unconventional supply sources, including North Korea and Iran, on Russia's future war capabilities. The potential implications of these supplies on the war's trajectory was a central focus, providing a nuanced understanding of the complex dynamics at play in the ongoing war. #LSERussiaUkraine 



This webinar was held on Tuesday 13th February 2024

Meet the speakers and chair

Keir Giles (@KeirGiles) is a Senior Consulting Fellow with the Russia and Eurasia Programme of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) in London. He is also a director of the Conflict Studies Research Centre, a group of subject matter experts in Eurasian security, based in Northamptonshire, UK. After one of the briefest careers on record in the Royal Air Force, followed by travelling widely in the Soviet Union during his first degree in Russian, Keir Giles co-founded the first company providing Western pilots the opportunity to fly Soviet military aircraft, operating from sites near Moscow and in Crimea. He went on to write for several years as Russia correspondent for a range of military and civilian aviation journals. Other positions held while living in Russia included with Ernst Young working on understanding and explaining the then chaotic and unpredictable Russian commercial law, and a brief attachment to Gorky Film Studios as an actor. While working with the BBC Monitoring Service (BBCM) collecting open-source information from Russia for the UK government and other customers, he was half of a two-man team setting up the first Monitoring office in the former Soviet Union, in Moscow. Other periods of duty with BBCM included a detachment to draw up and coordinate the service's strategic response to the emergence of the internet. Meanwhile, he continued to specialise in the Russian military and in aviation, leading to a secondment from BBCM to the UK Defence Academy's Conflict Studies Research Centre (CSRC) in 2005. Keir Giles is the author of "Moscow Rules: What Drives Russia to Confront the West" (Brookings, January 2019), an examination of the persistent factors causing relations with Russia to fall into crisis. His latest book, "Russia's War on Everybody" (Bloomsbury, 2022) examines the human impact of Russia's covert warfare waged against the West. Outside the UK, Keir Giles has published and provided advice, analysis and expertise via the NATO Defense College, a number of NATO Centres of Excellence, Defence Research and Development Canada, US Army War College, US Naval War College, the Swedish Defence Research Agency, the Portuguese and Ukrainian National Defence Universities and others. His publications are available here.

Lieutenant General (Retired) Ben Hodges (@general_ben), the former Commanding General of US Army Europe (2014-2017), currently serves as NATO Senior Mentor for Logistics, he consults for several companies on Europe, NATO, and the European Union, and he is co-author of the book, Future War and the Defence of Europe, published by Oxford University Press. Hodges has a regular media presence on CNN, MSNBC, Fox, BBC, Times Radio, ZDF, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Deutsche Welle, The Daily Telegraph, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and other media. He offers insight and analysis on NATO, US and European security, the Russian War against Ukraine, the greater Black Sea and Baltic Sea Regions, the Israel-Hamas war, the upcoming US Election and its implications for Transatlantic Security, human rights, and other related geostrategic topics. He was most recently Senior Advisor to Human Rights First, a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization based in the United States. Prior to joining Human Rights First, he held the Pershing Chair in Strategic Studies at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA). A native of Quincy, Florida, General Hodges graduated from the United States Military Academy in May 1980 and was commissioned as an Infantry Officer in the US Army. After his first assignment as a Lieutenant in Garlstedt, Germany, he commanded Infantry units at the Company, Battalion, and Brigade levels in the 101st Airborne Division, including the First Brigade Combat Team “Bastogne” in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (2003-2004). His other operational assignments include Chief of Operations for Multi-National Corps-Iraq in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (2005-2006) and Director of Operations, Regional Command South in Kandahar, Afghanistan (2009-2010). General Hodges has also served in a variety of Joint and Army Staff positions, including Chief of Plans for the 2nd Infantry Division in the Republic of Korea, Director of the Pakistan-Afghanistan Coordination Cell on the Joint Staff, and Chief of Army Congressional Liaison. From 2012-2014 he served as Commander, NATO Allied Land Command in İzmir, Turkey. His last military assignment was as Commanding General, United States Army Europe in Wiesbaden, Germany from 2014 to 2017. He retired from the U.S. Army in January 2018 and lives today with his wife in Frankfurt, Germany.

Leon Hartwell (@LeonHartwell) is a Senior Associate at LSE IDEAS and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) in Washington DC. His research interests include conflict resolution, genocide, diplomacy, democracy, the Russia-Ukraine war, and the Western Balkans. Previously, Hartwell was the Senior Advisor of the Central and South-East Europe Programme (CSEEP) and the 2022 Sotirov Fellow at LSE IDEAS, and CEPA’s Acting Director of the Transatlantic Leadership Program.  From 2012 to 2013, he was also the Senior Policy Advisor for Political and Development Cooperation at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Zimbabwe, where his work included government and civil society engagement, political reporting, peace building projects, and supporting human rights defenders. In 2019, Hartwell completed a joint doctoral degree summa cum laude at Leipzig University (Germany) and Stellenbosch University (South Africa). His thesis analyzed the use of mediation in the resolution of armed conflicts. Hartwell has published extensively in professional scholarly outlets and mainstream media ranging from the Negotiation Journal (Harvard-MIT-Tufts) and Oxford University Press to War on The Rocks. He speaks Afrikaans, English, Dutch, and Latvian, which he studied at the U.S. Foreign Service Institute.