Press Release | Friends of Europe’s new Podcast focuses on the Russia-Ukraine crisis. Episode 2 is out now


Peace, Security & Defence

BRUSSELS | A new weekly podcast series hosted by Friends of Europe offers a fresh perspective on the peace, security, and defence ecosystem of Europe.

The second episode in the Frankly Speaking Podcast series draws a special focus on the Russia-Ukraine Crisis.

Each week host, Tracey D’Afters, is joined by Jamie Shea, Senior Fellows of peace, security and defence, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges at NATO; Paul Taylor, former Reuters journalist, contributing editor at Politico and author of our newly published report on the Black Sea; and Chris Kremidas-Courtney, Lecturer for the Institute for Security Governance in Monterey California.

In this second episode, recorded on Thursday 17 February 2022, Chris, Paul and Jamie discuss the latest developments in the crisis.

Will he, won’t he invade? In a week that saw US President Joe Biden warn of imminent war and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz fly to Moscow aiming to keep diplomacy alive, the whole world tried to second guess Vladimir Putin’s next moves regarding the ongoing crisis with Ukraine. If an attack were to take place, how would it unfold? Is there more military significance to the troops that NATO allies have deployed than mere political signalling? And what further NATO reinforcement can we expect in the coming weeks?

Chris Kremidas-Courtney highlights the brinkmanship taking place in the region by saying:

“I think the positioning of forces, some of the recent cyberattacks and disinformation campaign, it sure looks like [Putin] is very postured to do something in the region. […] If we’re looking at brinkmanship, we’re right on the brink.”

Kremidas-Courtney argues that maintaining strategic patience and an internal NATO-EU dialogue is critical for the current and future state we may find ourselves in, especially concern Russian tactics of cyberattacks, and hybrid ambiguity.

On NATO’s position, Jamie Shea said: “The whole issue for NATO will be to reinforce its defence and deterrence in a credible military way, but without going so far that it plays into Putin’s playbook.”

Shea asks, if Ukraine is not joining NATO, then the question we must ask ourselves is what can we do to make this state more resilient against an invasion?

Paul Taylor, who recently authored a report published by Friends of Europe on the Black Sea security ecosystem, talks of unification in the West with the crisis in Ukraine as a catalyst. He states:

“The West has an obvious interest in stringing this out as long as they can. The more difficult it becomes for Russia, both on the ground where the snow will melt, and to sustain that kind of posture in the field NATO’s and EUs unity has been perhaps a surprise to Russia. And the European Union’s unity.”

Taylor, who is a former Reuters foreign correspondent and editor, says that the message Europe must send Russia is that: “there are other options” besides an all-out war.

Tracey D’Afters
Director, Communication & Events,
Friends of Europe
T: +32 (0)473 375651

Twitter              Follow us @FriendsofEurope
Facebook         Like us at
Instagram         Follow us @friendsofeurope

Related activities

view all
view all
view all
Track title


Stop playback
Video title


Africa initiative logo