European Foreign Policy After Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

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European Foreign Policy After Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

28th September 2023 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has seen unprecedented set of sanctions adopted by the West in an effort to frustrate Russia’s ability to wage this devastating war. Not since the Cold War have we seen the West act with such unity and resolve. In recent days, Ursula Von der Leyen has called for EU expansion, clearly saying that the EU’s future must also include Ukraine and Moldova (among others).

But as the war drags on into another winter, there is always the possibility of slippage of support. So how strong is European resolve against Russia, and how have decisions been made so far? Have the general public accepted the sanctions and are they as strong and as united as their political representatives? What is the future of European foreign policy towards Russia and Ukraine in the coming months?

The Henry Jackson Society is pleased to convene a panel of international relations and military experts to discuss these themes, and more, on this important topic.



Sir Richard Shirreff was born in Kenya in 1955 where he spent his early years. Educated in England, he graduated from Exeter College, Oxford (Modern History) before being commissioned into the British Army from Sandhurst. In his 37-year career, he commanded soldiers on operations at every level from platoon to division. This has included combat in the Gulf War of 1991 as a tank squadron leader and again in Iraq as a divisional commander, together with other operations in Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Bosnia.  In addition, he had extensive staff experience at brigade, Army HQ and in the Ministry of Defence. He commanded NATO’s Allied Rapid Reaction Corps and his final military assignment was NATO’s 4 Star Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR). In February 2016 he co-founded Strategia Worldwide Ltd, a global risk advisory company, which has since built up a sizeable portfolio of clients across different sectors. He joined GLOBSEC’s Future Security Defence Council in February 2023.

In 2016 his novel ‘2017: War with Russia’ was published in the UK, USA and Poland. It became a best seller and has been translated into eight languages. He is an honorary fellow of Exeter College, Oxford.




Jessica Toale is founder and co-chair of Labour Foreign Policy Group (LFPG) and a Labour Councillor for the West End Ward in the City of Westminster. She has a background in politics and international development with more than 10 years working with parliamentarians, NGOs, businesses and UN agencies on a range of complex policy issues including the UN sustainable development goals, early childhood development, international financial cooperation, women’s rights and conflict and governance. She is also a Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College London’s Forensics department working on  sexual exploitation in the aid industry.

Jessica holds a BA(Hons) in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of York, a MSc in Urbanisation and Development from the London School of Economics and a Graduate Diploma in Law from the University of Law in London.



Dr Niklas Wagner has been a diplomat since 2003. His postings included Cairo, New Delhi and Rome. Currently, he is working as European Correspondent of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, responsible for Common Foreign and Security Policy. He is actively engaged in  preparations of EU Foreign Affairs Council meetings; PSC and RELEX coordination.

Dr Wagner has a degree in international law and languages from the Universities of Passau (Germany), Lausanne and Geneva (Switzerland) and St. Petersburg (Russia). He also holds a PhD on Globalisation and ILO with the Max Planck Institute for International Labour & Social Law, Munich.




Dr Helena Ivanov is an associate research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society. She recently completed a PhD in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research focuses on the relationship between propaganda and violence against civilians. In her thesis, Helena examined the role propaganda played during the Yugoslav Wars and produced a model for studying propaganda which details the key phases, functions, discourses, and techniques of propaganda (the model itself is applicable to other contexts). Additionally, Helena also served as a Manager at the Centre for International Studies at the LSE.

Prior to her PhD, Helena completed an MPhil in Political Theory at the University of Oxford, and holds a BA in Politics from the University of Belgrade.






The Henry Jackson Society was pleased to welcome former Commander in the British army and now Co-founder of Strategia Worldwide, Sir Richard Shirreff, Labour Councillor and founder of the Labour Foreign Policy Group, Jessica Toale and European Correspondent of the German Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Dr Niklas Wagner for a discussion with Dr Helena Ivanov regarding the future of European Foreign Policy in light of Russia’s war in Ukraine. Dr Wagner kicked off the discussion by maintaining that the current EU strategy towards Russia operates under four pillars: countering Russian aggression, increasing EU resilience towards systemic rivals, investing in strategic partners with similar aims and supporting democratic opposition in Russia. Whilst Sir Shirreff acknowledged and agreed with Dr Wagner’s statements, he insisted that the “drip drip” approach of military aid being sent to Ukraine must end and Europe possesses a moral obligation to aid Ukraine “in a much more whole-hearted way than it has so far.” Jessica Toale asserted that the UK has remained a “standout ally” to Ukraine and insisted that the Russian invasion has reversed UK foreign policy goals from a “Global Britain” to stronger strategic and defence connections with its European neighbours. The discussion concluded with Sir Shirreff insisting that any diplomatic negotiations with Moscow must only be conducted on terms favourable to Ukraine and the European public must appreciate that this war threatens not simply Eastern Europe, but the survival of the West as we know it. Toale agreed and followed by advocating for Ukrainian NATO membership in any post-war settlement. Both maintained that irrespective of the bleak situation on the ground, the West cannot allow a tyrannical and autocratic regime to triumph over liberal Western democracies.




28th September 2023
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm




Jessica Toale, Dr Niklas Wagner, Gen. (Ret.) Sir Richard Shirreff, KCB, CBE


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