Eastern Approaches – The Maritime Dimension of the Russia-Ukraine Confrontation: A View from the Ukrainian Navy

In the latest episode of Eastern Approaches, Jamestown President Glen Howard and retired Ukrainian Admiral Ihor Kabanenko discuss ongoing tensions between Ukraine and Russia. Capturing headlines around the world, in the past two weeks the Russian military built up its forces in occupied Crimea and near the Russian-Ukrainian border, prompting major fears of a new invasion by Russian forces. Though Russian troops now seem to be returning to their home bases, the episode brings to light lingering concerns of the Ukrainian military’s ability to deter Russia and defend the country. And less often discussed, how will the Ukrainian Navy protect Ukraine’s valuable coastlines against a much stronger conventional foe in the Russian Black Sea Fleet?

The Eastern Approaches video series is named after the book by British diplomat, spy and adventurer, Fitzroy Maclean, and features conversations with renowned experts on the most important geostrategic issues the United States faces in Eurasia, with an eye toward detail typically absent in foreign policy discussions today.


Adm. (ret.) Ihor Kabanenko
Fmr. Admiral, Ukrainian Navy

Interviewed By

Glen Howard
President, The Jamestown Foundation

Participant Biographies

Ihor Kabanenko is a retired admiral with the Ukrainian Navy. From 1983 to 1990, he served in the Soviet Navy in various positions up to Commander of the ship and Chief of Staff of Missile Ships Division. Since 1993, he served in the Ukrainian Armed Forces. He was appointed to the positions of Chief of Operations and Chief of Staff of the Ukrainian Navy, the Military Representative of Ukraine to NATO, Chief of Operations of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and the First Deputy Chief of Defence. He retired in 2013, with the rank of Admiral. From May to August 2014, Admiral Kabanenko served as the Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Defense, and from August to October 2014—as Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine for European Integration. Currently, he is the president of UA.RPA (Ukrainian Advanced Research Project Agency), which focuses on high-tech solutions and products for defense.***

Glen Howard is the President of the Jamestown Foundation, one of the world’s leading research and analysis organizations on Eurasia. Based in Washington, D.C., Mr. Howard has overseen the research and analysis activities of Jamestown for the past 16 years and extensively dealt with Russia and Eurasia in his capacity as Jamestown President, working with the regional leaders and national strategists across Eurasia from the Baltic to Central Asia.

An expert on Eurasia and Russia, Mr. Howard is the co-author with Matt Czekaj of the new book Russia’s Military Strategy and Doctrine, a collection of writings on Russian military strategy and doctrine by some of the world’s leading defense experts. Mr. Howard is also the editor of the book Volatile Borderland: Russia and the North Caucasus, and other works. He has published articles in the Wall Street Journal, Real Clear Defense, the Hill, and other prominent publications.

Mr. Howard is privileged to have worked for the late Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski from 2002 to 2008 as the executive director of an advocacy organization seeking a peaceful resolution of the second Russo-Chechen war.  Mr. Howard worked at the U.S. Embassy Moscow from 1984-1986 and is fluent in Russian and proficient in French, Turkish and Azerbaijani.

Mr. Howard received a Master’s degree in Soviet and East European Studies from the University of Kansas (1988) and has an undergraduate degree from Oklahoma State University in Business Management (1984).