On 24 February 2022, at 3:00 GMT Russia launched an attack on Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin dubbed it a “special military operation”. Immediately, part of the international community condemned this attack.

This attack results from a long, multidimensional escalation, with one of the focal node being the crisis in Ukraine, which started in November 2013. To assess and understand today’s war, not to fall in the trap of amazingly widespread psychological operations (propaganda), it is necessary to comprehend the 2013-2014 years.

The current 2022 war is globally very polarised, with too many emotions running very high. As a result, publishing publicly objective assessments is difficult. Our work on the war, from detailed assessments and states of play to monitoring and warning on the issue, nonetheless, continues as we are commissioned to carry it out. As a result, publicly, here we only publish selected elements on the war in 2022. Our work on the 2013-2014 roots of the crisis remains publicly available.

The 2013-2014 crisis rapidly became a war. This page is a table of content for the strategic foresight and warning analysis of the crisis, conflict and war in Ukraine we published during 2014.

Our aim was to provide, first, in-depth strategic foresight & warning analysis on the war in Ukraine, starting with identifying and presenting the actors. Second, we used this opportunity to engage in a methodological reflection on the challenges met during the analysis and ways forward to solve them. The lessons learned are useful for all complex crises and were integrated in our methodology.

As a brief introduction, back in 2013 and 2014, the war in Ukraine was a complex war, in as much as it encompasses various multi-dimensional phenomena, classical ones but also novel or relatively surprising ones, compared with what was generally thought of as possible or probable for the future. The second escalation, started during winter 2021 is no less complex and takes its roots in the first period.

war in Ukraine, strategic foresight and warning, Red (Team) Analysis
Image from Military Maps: Crowdsourced Map for 27 June  – The application Military Maps was developed on the Russian social network Vkontakte (read “Crowdsourcing Ukraine’s Rebellion“, Global Voices, 4 May 2014). The page of the group is here. The page of Military Maps can be found here

In terms of strategic foresight and warning methodology, the first period of escalation to war in Ukraine was definitely a challenge in various ways. Notably, the conflict being young, the situation was fluid and rapidly evolving, while polarization was at work. Analysts thus had to do two tasks in the same time. First, proper international relations and political analysis for strategic foresight and early warning, which demand time, reflection and knowledge. Notably, we had to consider the evolution of the international context as well as related potential impacts which were multi-dimensional and far-reaching, but may actualize on very different timeframes (see section below “International environment and world order”). Second, and in the same time, analysts had to keep abreast of rapidly evolving developments.

To access this series of articles purchase the Ukraine Crisis Package – Understand the Roots of the Crisis or a membership.

Understand the conflict

The Crisis and its escalation

Conflict in Ukraine – Setting the Stage by Helene Lavoix, 19 May 2014

Methodology, actors and factors

Also available to registered users for the online courses Geopolitical Risks and Crisis Anticipation – Analytical Model and Scenario-building.

The actors

The far right groups

The Separatists in Donbass

The Oligarchs

International environment and world order

Impacts on the corporate world