The Eastern Front

Russia’s attack on Ukraine six months ago has initiated dramatic changes in the global geopolitical landscape in a brief period of time. The ongoing conflict has impacted companies’ day-to-day operations less in recent months, but major global shifts will continue to shape the business environment for years to come.

Our European colleagues offer five theses for what the future of the conflict will look like. 

1. It’s most likely this war of attrition between Russia and Ukraine—and by extension the West’s proxy war with Russia—will continue deep into 2023, at least. 

  • Ukraine’s recent success on the battlefield has surprised most analysts, but it’s unclear whether this marks a turning point in the war. 

2. The war will accelerate competition and distrust between the West and China, which other non-Western states will attempt to use to their advantage in different policy fields without choosing sides.

  • The war has reenergized Western alliances. At the same time, the current energy crisis and supply chain shortages have revealed how interdependent the world economy is, and how costly it is to unwind existing links.

3. This war will go down in history as a geopolitical turning point in the energy markets, rewriting past certainties about supply and demand.

  • The supply of affordable energy has become a security policy issue for many states, especially in Europe. Within just six months, this has resulted in a reordering of international energy relations.

4. Navigating corporate reputations will remain a top priority, with public demand for ethics-driven decision-making here to stay.

  • The ethical dimension of globalization has gained unprecedented relevance.
  • Further regulation to protect human rights along businesses’ supply chains is on the horizon. 

5. Global food security will remain a key challenge for policymakers – businesses that can increase output while also promoting sustainability are best placed to succeed in this environment.

Read our full analysis on the current state of the conflict here.