Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 changed the Eurasian geopolitical landscape in a way not seen since the fall of the Soviet Union. Because of the immediate threat to Ukraine’s national survival, the United States rightly focused on providing Kyiv with rapid military and economic assistance. The US has been the coalescing force within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, encouraging European nations to increase their defense spending and provide weapons to Ukraine in ways many foreign policy experts once thought to be impossible.
Because of support from the United States and its allies and partners, Ukraine has destroyed a significant portion of a top-tier US strategic adversary’s conventional military.1 According to a recently declassified intelligence assessment, 315,000 Russian soldiers—the equivalent of roughly 87 percent of Russia’s pre-invasion force—have been killed or wounded.2 More than 2,700 tanks have been taken out of service.3 Kyiv has liberated 54 percent of the territory Russia has captured since February 2022.4 And the Ukrainians have forced some of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet to retreat from its headquarters in occupied Crimea to the Russian coastal city of Novorossiysk.
As the war enters its third year, American policymakers should expand their diplomatic efforts beyond Kyiv. Russia’s shortcomings in Ukraine and Moscow’s waning influence in Eurasia give the US an opportunity to advance its national interest. To do so, Washington should conduct a diplomatic offensive across the region to maximize US influence, build new bilateral and multilateral ties, and restore or improve existing relationships.