Russia's War on Ukraine

Three persons look at damage caused by the shelling of Kyiv. IMAGO / Ukrinform

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a war of aggression that we condemn in the strongest possible terms. We are very worried about the people in Ukraine. With our research and expertise on Ukraine and the entire region of Eastern Europe, we at ZOiS will continue to contribute to the fact-based assessment of the situation. We also strive to maintain our contacts with researchers, journalists and artists who are in need, have had to flee, or come under political pressure, regardless of where they are located.

Our online dossier gathers relevant background information from our archive in addition to recent articles and assessments by ZOiS experts.

ZOiS Publications

Podcasts and Event Recordings

ZOiS Experts in the Media

„Breite Kreise haben die Bedeutung der Ukraine erkannt“

Interview with Gwendolyn Sasse for Cicero (01/02/2023)

The Day: The Role of Belarus in Russia's War Against Ukraine

TV interview with Nadja Douglas for Deutsche Welle, starting at minute 15:12 (31/12/2023)

Theologin zu Rolle der Kirchen im Ukraine-Krieg

Interview with Regina Elsner on ORF III (26/01/2023)

Ukrainischer Kirchenkonflikt Thema im UN-Sicherheitsrat

Article with assessments by Regina Elsner for (18/01/2023)

Politikwissenschaftlerin: Aserbaidschan will Kontrolle über Berg-Karabach ausbauen

Article with assessments by Nadja Douglas in Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (17/01/2023)

Ist die Krim verhandelbar?

Article with assessments by Gwendolyn Sasse (13/01/2023)

Kriegsszenen im Sandkasten und Waffenübungen: Putins Propaganda erfasst nun sogar Kinder

Article with assessments by Félix Krawatzek (12/01/2023)

Wann endet der Krieg in der Ukraine?

Interview with assessments by Gwendolyn Sasse on MDR-Nachrichtenradio (11/01/2023)

Sorgfaltspflicht bei Kriegsverbrechen: Replik auf Reinhard Merkel

Article with reference to Gwendolyn Sasse in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (06/01/2023)

Kirche ist keine Friedensstifterin

Interview with Regina Elsner on WDR (05/01/2022)

Die Krim - annektiert, nicht befriedet

Guest article by Gwendolyn Sasse in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (05/01/2022)

Год после протестов: эксперты из ФРГ о ситуации в Казахстане

Article with assessments by Beate Eschment on Deutsche Welle (04/01/2022)

Religiöse Intoleranz in der Ukraine?

Guest article by Regina Elsner and Thomas Bremer in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (03/01/2023)

Orthodoxien im Krieg

Event report with Regina Elsner on RBB Inforadio (01/01/2023) 

External publications by ZOiS experts

Why the EU Must Open Its Doors to Ukraine

Guest article by Gwendolyn for Carnegie Europe on Ukraine's EU candidate status.

To stop Russian manipulation, Francis must make Vatican's stand on Ukraine clear

In a guest article for the National Catholic Reporter, Regina Elsner and her co-authors call on the Vatican to take a clearer position on the Russia-Ukraine war.

Ausbruch aus einem selbstreferentiellen Gespräch

In the Hauptstadtbrief, Gwendolyn Sasse pleads for Ukraine to be placed at the centre of the German debate on the war.

Ökumenische Herausforderung Friedensethik

For zebis, Regina Elsner outlines the peace ethics of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Wie die Russische Orthodoxe Kirche den Vatikan manipuliert

For feinschwarz, Regina Elsner and her co-authors explain how the Russian Orthodox Church manipulates the Vatican.

Keine zweite Ukraine werden – Kasachstans neue Distanz zu Russland

In a guest commentary in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Beate Eschment describes the political situation in Kazakhstan against the background of the war in Ukraine.

Come il Patriarcato di Mosca ha «arruolato» il Vaticano nella guerra

In a guest article for Il Regno, Regina Elsner and her co-authors analyse the relationship between the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church in the context of Russia's war against Ukraine.

Ukraine: A battleground for Europe’s future

Tatiana Zhurzhenko sheds light on what Russia's war against Ukraine means for Europe on voxeurop.

Do people in Donbas want to be ‘liberated’ by Russia?

John O'Loughlin, Gerard Toal and Gwendolyn Sasse present poll results from the Donbass for the Washington Post.

Wenn Religion der Ideologie dient

Regina Elsner analyzes the instrumentalization of the Russian Orthodox Church for state ideology in a guest article for the Central Committee of German Catholics.

Leider keine Friedenskraft

The Protestant magazine zeitzeichen publishes a text by Regina Elsner on the involvement of Russian Orthodoxy in the war over Ukraine.

Russia-Ukraine Talks: A Difficult Road to Peace

On Carnegie Europe's blog Judy Dempsey's Strategic Europe, Gwendolyn Sasse analyses the state of the negotiations between Ukraine and Russia. While Ukraine seems willing to accept a neutral status in return for firm security guarantees, Russia is not displaying the required political will.


Together with dekoder, ZOiS has developed a FAQ asking scientists how the war can be resolved diplomatically.

Ukraine war: people are fighting and dying for Vladimir Putin’s flawed version of history

In a guest article for The Conversation, Félix Krawatzek examines Putin's image and instrumentalisation of history.

The Role of Religion in Contemporary Russia and for the War in Ukraine

Regina Elsner and Tobias Köllner explore Russia’s political relationship with religion and its utilisation to build a strong nationalist identity, as well as how this relationship shapes the country’s foreign affairs.

Perspectives on the Russian contestation of the Ukrainian state - № 7

On the SCRIPTS blog, Tatiana Zhurzhenko writes about the implications of Russia's war on Ukraine regarding Ukraine’s borders and border regions and assesses what it means for the liberal script.

So schön, wie es niemals war – Geschichte in Putins Russland

Nina Frieß and Félix Krawatzek analyse Vladimir Putin's historical narratives in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung.

Krieg in der Ukraine - Die religiöse und kirchliche Dimension des Konflikts

At a panel discussion organised by Domschule Würzburg, Regina Elsner speaks about the role of religion in Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The End of Unity: How the Russian Orthodox Church Lost Ukraine

For the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, Regina Elsner comments the implications of Russia's war on Ukraine for the Russian-Orthodox chuch.

Julia Langbein: Western sanctions need to hurt the Putin regime at its core

Increasing repression and disinformation over the past years in Russia make it unlikely that current Western economic sanctions will have a large-scale mobilisation effect on the Russian people against the Putin regime. While the current sanctions regime is comprehensive, it needs a ban on Russian gas and oil imports by the EU and the US in order to deprive the Putin regime of respective revenues, which are the fundamental pillar on which its survival is based, argues Julia Langbein.

Panel discussion on religion and the war in Ukraine

organised by The Orthodox Christian Studies Center of Fordham University. Featuring Archimandrite Cyril Hovorun (University College Stockholm), Brandon Gallaher (University of Exeter), Regina Elsner (Centre for East European and International Studies), and Sean Casey (Harvard Divinity School). Moderated by Aristotle Papanikolaou (Fordham University).

Krieg in der Ukraine – Krieg in Europa

At a panel discussion organised by the Evangelische Akademie Sachsen, Regina Elsner discusses the backgrounds of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The murderous silence of the Russian Orthodox Church

On Religion in Praxis Regina Elsner analyses the role of the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia's attack on Ukraine.

Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Changes Everything: Ukraine's Future (Judy Dempsey’s Strategic Europe)

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will have profound consequences for the stability of the region and for the future of European security, not to mention the immense human suffering.