As vital as military battles over Ukraine's physical terrain are, the fight to protect its vulnerable human terrain—including its millions of refugees, mostly women and children—will be at least as critical to Ukraine's future. Ukraine's borders are both escape routes for these refugees and the indispensable lifelines of support for Ukraine from the United States and its allies. Yet over the year since the war began, these borders and refugees face risks that are rarely understood or discussed by policy makers or the media.
A few days after the current war began, SAIS Foreign Policy Institute Senior Fellow Steven Schrage traveled to Ukraine's border to volunteer and research its historic security and refugee challenges, using his background as a senior State Department official who oversaw billions [AY2] in border and human security, law enforcement, and post-conflict operations.
After repeated trips to Ukraine's borders over the last year, Schrage found both incredible stories of heroism by Ukrainians, the Polish people, and the international community that rushed in to help as well as historic, but under-reported risks of human trafficking, security challenges, violence and crime, and aid coordination challenges. Schrage and his team presented their report documenting extensive interviews, data collection, findings, and policy recommendations that can change assumptions on the priorities needed to win the longer-term battles for the Ukrainian people and their international allies.