This month, Ukraine has taken back the key city of Kherson in its efforts to retake land under Russian occupation. The retaking of the city is part of Ukraine's continued counteroffensive, which saw them taking back land to the North back in September. The loss of Kherson, which Putin declared part of Russia just weeks ago, shows the inability for the Russian military to make progress in a war which was seen to be an easy victory to the Kremlin.
Now with the war looking closer to an end with Russian forces retreating out of parts of the country, the question remains: what will the aftermath of the war look like in terms of relations between the west and Russia?
After the invasion of Ukraine, there were major sanctions put in place against Russia by western nations. Major Russian banks were banned from the Swift financial system. There were outright bans on Russian gas from countries like the United States, Canada, and Britain. Even countries that are heavily dependent on Russian gas began punishing Russia. Germany, whose biggest source of gasoline comes from Russia, halted construction of their Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
Russia has been preparing for punishment from western powers for years now, ever since the 2014 invasion into Crimea. Back then they created the Eurasian Economic Union, which was seen as their version of the European union. They have also begun selling more gas and other goods to countries like China and India, who benefit from cheap Russian gas.
And so, with all of these things considered, it seems like the post war world in Ukraine may be much different in terms of how western countries and Russia engage with each other. Even if sanctions are lifted, they will be hesitant to work with each other with one another. Many US companies have closed down their Russian locations, and new gas trade relations with other countries have been set up in preparation for the lack of energy coming from Russia.
Even if the war were to end tomorrow, the world is unlikely to go back to its previous state of trade relationships.