Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has what must be the most difficult job in the world. At last week’s NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, he couldn’t help but express disappointment that the security alliance wasn’t able to offer Kyiv a guaranteed pathway to membership. After reportedly being chided for his tone, Zelensky then switched to effusively praising NATO for its support. And then, once he had managed to balance diplomacy with the demands of war, he found himself managing a different narrative, this time to a domestic audience: He put out the message that Ukraine had gotten enough positives out of the summit, even though he surely wanted more.
Kyiv’s sense of urgency stems from the state of play on the battlefield. Ukraine’s counteroffensive, now underway for several weeks, has been slower than expected in part because of how entrenched Russia’s military is, and how it has strewn large swaths of land with deadly mines. Kyiv also wishes it could have been able to take advantage of the recent mutiny by the Wagner group, a dangerous mercenary outfit run by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a former loyalist of Russian President Vladimir Putin whose whereabouts are now unknown.
Where is the war headed? Will Wagner’s forces reemerge on the battlefield? And has Putin been weakened by the most public mutiny in his time in power? For answers, FP’s Ravi Agrawal spoke with Andrea Kendall-Taylor, a senior fellow and the director of the trans-Atlantic security program at the Center for a New American Security.
Watch Andrea Kendall-Taylor, director of the Transatlantic Security Program at CNAS and former CIA officer on Russia, assess the progress of the current Ukrainian counteroffensive.
Russia expert Andrea Kendall-Taylor on the Kremlin’s efforts to separate itself from Yevgeny Prigozhin and Wagner Group assets in the aftermath of the failed mutiny, without losing the resources it provides the Russian state.
Russia expert Andrea Kendall-Taylor on how Russian President Vladimir Putin’s legitimacy has been impacted by the Wagner mutiny both in the near and longer term.
Andrea Kendall-Taylor, former CIA analyst specializing in Russia, explains how the Russian elite view the Wagner rebellion from last month.
Director of the Transatlantic Security Program, CNAS
Andrea Kendall-Taylor is a senior fellow and the director of the Transatlantic Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). Prior to joining CNAS, Kendall-Taylor served for eight years as a senior U.S. intelligence officer focused on Russia and Eurasia.
Editor in chief, Foreign Policy
Ravi Agrawal is the editor in chief of Foreign Policy, the host of FP Live, and a regular world affairs analyst on TV and radio. Before joining FP in 2018, Agrawal worked at CNN for more than a decade in full-time roles spanning three continents, including as the network’s New Delhi bureau chief and correspondent. He is the author of India Connected: How the Smartphone Is Transforming the World’s Largest Democracy.