The DINAM Ukraine Discussion Series

In this innovative discussion series, highly distinguished experts offer critical discussion and insight into the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine.


The series breaks down the facets of the conflict to provide deeper context to current events, by examining historic defence policies, and assessing the counteroffensive challenges, and the military and diplomatic incongruencies. This series also explores the destabilising effects of the war on the Ukrainian economy and on global food security.  


The series is hosted by Ukrainian researcher and political analyst Mariia Zolkina (@Mariia_Zolkina), DINAM Research Fellow in the Department of International Relations at LSE for 2022/24. An expert in the fields of regional security, reintegration policies in occupied territories and wartime diplomacy, since 2014 she has worked as Head of Regional Security and Conflict Studies at one of most authoritative Ukrainian think tanks, the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation (DIF), and is Co-Founder of the Kalmius Group.

Join us for two new in-person discussions for 2024. 

These public events are free and open to all. No ticket or pre-registration is required. Entry is on a first come, first served basis. 

For any queries email

Ukrainian Donbas: debunking Russia's myths and narratives about the region - Wednesday 28 February 2024

Listen to DINAM Research Fellow at LSE, Ukrainian researcher and political analyst Mariia Zolkina as she reveals the data-based findings about real public moods in Donbas, starting from spring 2014 and afterwards, following the Russian invasion. She discloses crucial changes of public views, caused by beginning of hybrid war, and shows how they differed from many myths and ungrounded narratives circulating internationally about Donbas. 


Mariia Zolkina is the DINAM Research Fellow (2022-2024) in the Department of International Relations at LSE. She is a Ukrainian researcher and political analyst working in the fields of regional security, reintegration policies in occupied territories and wartime diplomacy. Since 2014 she has been producing expertise on the political component of Russo-Ukrainian war, especially regarding the Donbas region, and has analysed the socio-political implications of the conflict both at the national and international levels. 


Portrait photo of Florian Foos

Dr Florian Foos is Associate Professor in Political Behaviour in the Department of Government at LSE. He studies political campaigns using randomised field experiments and aims to identify the causal effects of formal and informal interactions between citizens, politicians and campaign workers on electoral mobilisation, opinion change and political activism. 



Tomila Lankina is Professor of International Relations at LSE. She has worked on democracy and authoritarianism, mass protests and historical drivers of human capital and political regime change in Russia and other countries; she has also analysed the propaganda and disinformation campaigns in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in Ukraine. 

Find out more about this event

Listen to the podcast


Russia's War on Ukraine in 2024: pivotal moment or impasse? - Wednesday 13 March 2024

Two years into Russia’s large scale invasion of Ukraine, the war is entering a new stage. Ukraine’s major allies are facing fresh challenges and changes in their political landscapes.

Despite Ukraine’s resistance, new tranches of military and financial aid to Ukraine are proving difficult to approve and organise. Pre-electoral domestic struggles in the US signal the possibility of the re-distribution of leadership roles within the international coalition in support of Ukraine, and the necessity of re-evaluating current tactics towards not only Ukraine, but Russia as well.



Mariia Zolkina is the DINAM Research Fellow in the Department of International Relations at LSE (2022-24). She is a Ukrainian researcher and political analyst working in the fields of regional security, wartime diplomacy, conflict studies and reintegration policies in occupied territories. Since 2014 she has been producing expertise on the Russo-Ukrainian war, focusing mainly on the Donbas region, and has analysed the socio-political implications of the conflict both at the national and international levels.


Olga Tokariuk is a Chatham House OSUN Academy Fellow, Ukraine Forum. Her main professional interests are international affairs and research on disinformation, especially in the context of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. She is a former fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University and CEPA non-resident fellow. Olga’s background is in journalism and she has vast experience in Ukrainian and international media. She is a former head of foreign news desk at the independent Ukrainian Hromadske TV. 


Dr Maryna Vorotnyuk is an Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI) in London. Previously, she held the position as Research Fellow in the International Security Studies team at RUSI. She works on security developments in the Black Sea region, Russian, Ukrainian and Turkish foreign policies, and the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.


Luke Cooper

Dr Luke Cooper is an Associate Professorial Research Fellow with the Conflict and Civicness Research Group and Director of PeaceRep’s Ukraine programme. Dr Cooper is a historical sociologist and political scientist, whose work studies processes of change and transformation within and between societies. He has written extensively on nationalism, authoritarianism and the theory of uneven and combined development, engaging both contemporary and historical case studies. His most recent book, Authoritarian Contagion; the Global Threat to Democracy, was published by Bristol University Press in 2021.


Find out more about this event

Listen to the podcast

Read the student event blogger report


Ukraine’s Defence and Foreign Policy: Lessons from the Past and Challenges for the Future - Tuesday 23 May 2023

The defence and foreign policy of Ukraine has been influenced by domestic political processes, international developments, and security challenges. 

This discussion traces the evolution of the country’s defence and foreign policy since 1991, including decisions that have altered Ukraine's defence capacities and role. It will focus on the analysis of critical events such as the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, the 2008 NATO Bucharest summit, the domestic declaration of “non-block status” by former President Yanukovich, followed by the occupation of Crimea and part of Donbas in 2014, and future aspirations of joining NATO and the EU.

The speakers discussed how the large-scale invasion impacts Ukraine’s foreign policy priorities beyond the West, and what a new agenda for foreign policy in Ukraine in a post-war period could look like.

Join the conversation via #LSEUkraineSeries 



Olexiy Haran (@o_haran), Professor of Comparative Politics at the National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy (UKMA), Research Director at the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation (a leading Ukrainian analytical and sociological think tank)

Professor Haran was a member of the Public Council under Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine for over 15 years and has numerous journal publications including the title ‘Constructing a Political Nation: Changes in the Attitudes of Ukrainians during the War in the Donbas (2017). His latest book From Brezhnev to Zelensky: Dilemmas of Ukrainian Political Scientist was published in 2021.



Volodymyr Dubovyk (@VolodymDubovyk), Associate Professor, Department of International Relations and Director, Center for International Studies, Odesa I. I. Mechnikov National University (Ukraine) 

Volodymyr Dubovyk is a Visiting Professor at Tufts University and is a recipient of the emergency grant from the Kennan Institute (2022) and non-resident fellowships from the George Washington and Toronto University. His areas of expertise extend beyond security studies and include transatlantic relations and Black Sea security. Professor Dubovyk has conducted extensive research at the Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars as well as across several US institutions. He is the co-author of Ukraine and European Security (Macmillan, 1999) and has published numerous articles on US-Ukraine relations, regional and international security, and Ukraine’s foreign policy.  



Dr Kateryna Zarembo

Dr Kateryna Zarembo (@KaterynaZarembo) is a Ukrainian policy analyst and university lecturer, focusing on international relations and civil society studies. She is an associate fellow at the New Europe Center (Ukraine) and a senior lecturer at the National University of “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy” (Ukraine).



Oksana Osadcha

Oksana Osadcha is an Associate of the International Defence Hub of the European Values Centre for Security policy (Czech Republic) and Program Director of the PROTECT (Promoting Reform Objectives through Technical Expertise and Capacity Transfer) project. She is also a visiting lecturer of Kyiv Mohyla Business School “Strategic leaders in Security and Defence Sector” and “Strategic Architects” MPA programmes.



Click here to watch the recording of this event

Updates from the War: military and political assessments of Ukraine’s counteroffensive potential - Tuesday 30 May 2023

Ukraine has declared a very clear position: to proceed with de-occupation and refuse to compromise/refuse to negotiate its territorial integrity. However, international military support will directly impact the capacity and capability of Ukraine to regain occupied territories. Would an unsuccessful counteroffensive lead to political pressure on Ukraine to negotiate with Russia at a defacto cost of Ukraine control over their territories?   

This discussion will look at Ukraine's counteroffensive strategy, the commitment of Western allies, the role of specific battles, and the security and military arguments behind the control of Crimea by Ukraine.

There will also be a Q&A from the audience.

Join the conversation via #LSEUkraineSeries 



Dr Omar Ashour (@DrOmarAshour), Professor of Security and Military Studies at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies  

Professor Ashour is the Founding Chair of the Critical Security Studies Graduate Program (MCSS) and the director of the Strategic Studies Unit in the Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies. His expertise includes military and combat effectiveness, small state defence, asymmetric warfare, insurgency and counterinsurgency.

He has previously taught at University of Exeter (UK) and at McGill University (Canada), and served as a senior consultant for the United Nations on security sector reform, counter-terrorism, and de- radicalisation issues. He co-authored the United Nations' Economic and Social Commission for West Asia's (UN-ESCWA) during the transitional periods of the "Arab Spring" and was editor of Bullets to Ballots: Collective De-Radicalisation of Armed Movements (Edinburgh University Press, 2021). His most recent book is How ISIS Fights: Military Tactics in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Egypt (Edinburgh University Press, 2021).



Mykhaylo Samus, Director at New Geopolitics  Research Network 

Mykhailo Samus is an experienced researcher in the field of International Relations, with a focus on national resilience and new generation warfare. He served 12 years in the Ukrainian Armed Forces and gained his Master’s Degree in International Journalism from the Institute of Journalism, Kyiv Shevchenko National University (2007). Having started his career as a journalist at Defense Express, he became the Editor-in-Chief of the Export Control Newsletter magazine, and then the Deputy Director of the Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies (CACDS). He was the founder (2009) of the EU CACDS office in Prague, and was responsible for the coordination of CACDS international activities, its regional sections, and projects with NATO and the EU. Mykhailo also was the member of the editorial border of the CACDS Analytical Bulletin Challenges and Risks.   



Dr Hanna Shelest, Security Studies Program Director, The Foreign Policy Council  

Hanna Shelest is Director of Security Programmes at the Foreign Policy Council “Ukrainian Prism” and Editor-in-chief at UA: Ukraine Analytica. Dr Shelest also is a non-resident senior fellow at CEPA (Washington, DC) and was a Senior Researcher at the National Institute for Strategic Studies under the President of Ukraine, Odesa Branch. She was a Visiting Research Fellow at the NATO Defence College in Rome, and has experience in PR and lobbying for government and business. She has been an adviser of the Working Group preparing the 2035 Ukrainian Navy Strategy and in developing the Foreign Policy Strategy of Ukraine.  

Dr Shelest’s main research interests are conflict resolution and mediation, security and cooperation, especially in the Wider Black Sea Region and the Middle East, foreign policy of Ukraine, and NATO. 


Click here to watch the recording of this event

Economics in a time of the war: Ukraine’s Resilience and the Global Impact of Russian Aggression - Monday 12 June 2023

What does the current economic situation in Ukraine under attack look like? What role does the long awaited counteroffensive potentially play for recovery of Ukraine’s economy? 

This discussion will look at the economic and financial stability of Ukraine for the coming months and the economic arguments behind strategy to liberate all occupied territories. What is the the correlation between plans for the reconstruction of Ukraine and the presence/absence of clarity regarding the format of Ukraine's victory? To what extent have grain sea corridors been successful so far? What should be priorities and what will be risks Ukraine’s reconstruction plans? 

There will also be a Q&A from the audience.

Join the conversation via #LSEUkraineSeries 



Iryna Kosse

Iryna Kosse is Leading Research Fellow, Project Coordinator at the Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting (Ukraine).  

She has more than ten years of professional experience in policy analysis and advocacy and five years in organisational and project management in a leading Ukrainian economic think tank – Institute for Economic Research (IER). In 2022, Iryna Kosse was a Senior Fellow at Ukraine and Eastern Europe Programme of GLOBSEC (Slovakia) working on issues of economic recovery of Ukraine after the Russian war.



Hlib Vyshlinsky

Hlib Vyshlinsky, Executive Director, Centre for Economic Strategy. He has managed the Centre for Economic Strategy since it was founded in May 2015. Hlib has over 20 years’ experience in economic analysis and research. Since 2021 Hlib has been Head of the Board at Hromadske TV.



Chris Alden

Chris Alden, Professor in International Relations, LSE, and Director of LSE IDEAS Africa Programme and the LSE Global South Unit, and a former Programme Head, Global Powers and Africa, South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA). He is author of multiple books and articles including China and Latin America: Development, Agency and Geopolitics with A. Mendez (Bloomsbury, 2023).


Click here to watch the recording of this event

Updates from the War: Public Opinion and the Future Price of Peace - Wednesday 14 June 2023

Domestic consolidation and resistance within Ukrainian society has become one of the key factors enabling Ukraine to repel massive Russia's attack in 2022. How has public opinion in Ukraine on war-related issues evolved after 15 months into large scale war? What is the public mood about possible models of conflict resolution? And what place does liberation of all occupied territories have in the model of Ukraine's victory?  

Extensive discussion will also focus on legal, human rights and humanitarian arguments backing Ukraine's strategy to deoccupy its entire territory. Why can someone still perceive Crimea as a "red line" for Russia and how to fight this approach? Would Ukrainians themselves be ready to compromise with Russia? And how has public opinion about compromises changed since 2014?  

There will also be a Q&A from the audience.

Join the conversation via #LSEUkraineSeries 



Petro Burkovskyi

Petro Burkovskyi, Executive Director at the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation, and Head of the Centre for Advanced Russia Studies at NISS (2018-2020). Recent publications include Olexiy Haran, Petro Burkovskyi, Russo-Ukraine War 2022 and its impact on South Asia, IPRI Journal /lslamabad Policy Research Institute, 2022, Special Edition.



Tamila Tasheva

Tamila Tasheva is the Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (since 2022), previously she was Deputy Permanent Representative since October 25, 2019. At the beginning of the temporary occupation of Crimea, she became a co-founder and long-term coordinator of the CrimeaSOS, one of the most famous and effective human rights organisations in Ukraine dealing with the topic of temporarily occupied Crimea (implementing partner UNHCR). She is a human rights activist and one of the Crimean Tatar young generation leaders.



Olga Aivazovska 

Olga Aivazovska is Head of the Board of the Civil Network OPORA NGO, an international expert in electoral matters and developing draft laws. Olga is co-founder of the International Center for Ukrainian Victory and Center for War Crimes Documentation (Warsaw).

Olga Aivazovska was a director of national, nonpartisan observation missions in Ukraine with over 25,000 activists involved from 2010 to 2021 and participated in electoral observation in more than ten countries of Europe. She was included in the top 100 most influential women of Ukraine in 2014-2021 (according to political editions of Focus magazine and the Novoe Vremia). 


Click here to watch the recording of this event