The Center for European Analysis (CEPA) has been committed to ensuring a strong and enduring transatlantic alliance rooted in democratic values and principles. In that spirit, we have worked to advance greater awareness of the continuing threat posed by Russia to Europe and the United States. Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine has exposed the true nature of the Putin regime as it aims to conquer and subjugate a peaceful neighbor and violently revise the international order. The world we lived in a week ago no longer exists.

As Ukrainians fight with incredible courage for their freedom, the transatlantic community has shown unity in its support for Ukraine and in its determination to punish and deter the Russian government. It is critical that this be maintained.

Make no mistake: what happens in Ukraine today will define the future for us all. Putin’s ambitions do not stop at Ukraine’s borders. His aim is to redraw the map of Europe with violence. Events that were unimaginable a few days ago, such as Russian bombs falling on Kyiv, are now happening. This is the hour that will define the world for generations to come.

It is our task to ensure that Putin fails.

In the short term, the allies should ensure a continuous and growing supply of weapons, equipment, and humanitarian assistance with appropriate logistical support. Although we have already deployed rapid and severe sanctions, we must escalate economic sanctions against key Russian sectors, companies, and individuals in line with Russian actions. Russian state media outlets and other purveyors of disinformation should be sanctioned. And the United States and its allies should send military reinforcements and equipment to NATO’s frontline members to strengthen their defenses.

The West has for too long tolerated attacks from hostile powers like Russia. We have built cyber-offensive capabilities and should use them to respond quickly and decisively to Russian attacks on US or allied critical infrastructure. Mr. Putin will react with more threats, which we should take seriously, but he can no longer be allowed to veto our response.

In the longer term, it should be clear that Western policy toward Russia since the end of the Cold War has failed. Multiple attempts at engagement over the decades have only emboldened Putin. Central and Eastern Europeans warned of the consequences of such policies and, unfortunately, they were right.

The region is the bedrock of European security and its peoples’ fates are tied inextricably and indivisibly to our own. Now is the time to act decisively for their freedom and security—and ours.

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Dr. Alina Polyakova, President & CEO, Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA)