Foreign Policy expert Botond Feledy briefs AmCham members on Ukraine Crisis

On February 24, Russia launched a full-scale air, land, and sea invasion on Ukraine, its southern neighbor, leading to one of the biggest armed conflicts on the continent since World War II. Foreign policy expert, commentator, and lawyer Botond Feledy helped AmCham members navigate in these uncertain times together with Dávid Kőhegyi, Second Vice President of AmCham and Head of Compliance and Investigations, DLA Piper.

Sanctions are not expected to disappear very soon

In the aftermath of the 2014 annexation of Crimea, there were 2000 sanctions imposed on Russia subsequently, however, this climbed to over 4000 after the war started on the 24th of February. Russia is now the most heavily sanctioned nation in the world, overriding North Korea and Iran. According to Botond Feledy, even though a gradual lift of sanctions could be possible as soon as a peace treaty is signed, he does not see that the sanctions will disappear in the near future. The West’s long-term containment policy is likely to continue in the upcoming years vis-à-vis Russia.

How likely is civil unrest in Russia?

Botond Feledy claimed that Putin actually gained popularity within the country since the invasion of Ukraine began. The narrative of the West being the joint enemy is functioning within the society, and no civil unrest is expected in the near future.

Is nuclear warfare possible?

Careful communication from NATO so far has been successful in preventing violent conflict between NATO and Russia; however, as Botond Feledy claims NATO’s policy may be driven by “escalation aversion”, a bias during which certain risks are not taken into consideration in favor of avoiding the worst scenario: nuclear warfare. He argued that although extending war to NATO and the usage of nukes is highly unlikely, it is not impossible to navigate in this scenario for NATO either.

China-West relations and questions

Botond Feledy and Dávid Kőhegyi further discussed the potential implications of the war on Western-Chinese relations and also had time to answer some questions from the audience. Questions ranged from cybersecurity-related inquiries to whether there is a possibility of a potential escalation of the war. Should the tensions continue to rise, and the war continues, Botond Feledy as an expert would be welcome to further discuss the situation in the future.