Friday, September 23rd, 2022 Russia’s War on Ukraine: The Return of the Empire and the Nuclear Threats

Friday, September 23, 20225:30PM - 8:00PMThe Vivian and David Campbell Conference Facility, 1 Devonshire Place, Toronto, ON, M5S 3K7


Russia’s all-out war on Ukraine began on February 24, 2022, with the occupation of the Chornobyl nuclear site. Together with the attack a few days later on the largest nuclear power plant in Europe located near Zaporizhia, the war produced a nuclear crisis that the world has not experienced before: the nuclear facilities ended up in the middle of the armed conflict. In this lecture I will discuss the origins of the war in the disintegration of the Soviet Union, triggered among other things by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986, and the security vacuum produced by 1994 Budapest Memorandum. I will provide an assessment of the current stage of the hostilities and the impact that the Russian continuing control over the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant can have on the outcome of the war and the prospects of the nuclear industry worldwide–the theme explored in my recent book Atoms and Ashes.

Serhii Plokhii is the Mykhailo Hrushevsky Professor of Ukrainian History and the director of the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University. A leading authority on Ukraine, Russia, and Eastern Europe, he has published extensively on the international history of World War II and the Cold War. His books won numerous awards, including the Lionel Gelber Prize for the best English-language book on the international relations and the Ballie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction (UK). His latest book, Atoms and Ashes: A Global History of Nuclear Disasters was released by W.W. Norton in May 2022.


Serhii Plokhii
The Mykhailo Hrushevsky Professor of Ukrainian History, the director of the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University

Ed Schatz
Director, CERES

Lucan Way
Professor of Political Science, co-Director of the Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Ukraine, CERES, University of Toronto

Main Sponsor

Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies


Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Ukraine

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