My first visit to Kyiv since the Russian invasion in February coincided with a major Ukrainian military success in the east of the country, where Kupyansk and Izyum were liberated and Russian troops routed. However, the government of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is too smart to celebrate one successful battle when there is a war to be won against a still-formidable adversary.
In the belief that one of the geopolitical fault lines of the modern world runs through Ukraine, I have visited the country annually for the past 11 years to attend the Yalta European Strategy conference, or YES, an event organized by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation. A businessman and philanthropist, Pinchuk is indomitable. When Russia annexed Crimea (including Yalta) in 2014, he moved the event to Kyiv, but kept Yalta in the name. When Russia invaded again in February, launching a Blitzkrieg against Kyiv, Pinchuk insisted the event must go on. I and the other foreign participants traveled from Poland by an overnight train for two absorbing days of discussions and meetings attended by Zelenskiy and key members of his government.