Date: 22 May 2024 Author: Benjamin Bardos

How have 3SI member states reacted to recent developments with the War in Ukraine?

Currently, in an isolated and localized manner the war in Ukraine has developed tactical advantages for Russia, however, Ukraine still retains strategic coherence and cohesion. Therefore, how have 3SI (Three Seas Initiative) member states, which predominantly lay on the border with Ukraine or Russia, if not in the immediate vicinity, reacted to these developments?

2024 comes with renewed Russian momentum along the front line, mainly in the Donetsk area, with rumors of an increasingly anticipated Russian offensive[i] possibly aiming to secure the northern parts of Ukraine, Sumy and Kharkiv[ii], as a response to the successful border raids and incursions Ukraine has carried out in addition to the harassment and destruction of the Russian oil and refining industry.

However, more acutely Russia has enjoyed some success recently following their capture of the Ukrainian stronghold of Avdivka in early 2024, whereby they have pressed on in an effort to achieve their goal of reaching the administrative border of Donetsk. Namely, the Russians managed to pull off an advance in the Pokhrovsk axis with the capture of the Ukrainian stronghold of Ocheretyne[iii] and have pressed on expanding the salient presenting a troublesome situation for the flanks of Ukrainian defenses and its operational areas supporting the frontlines.

However, these advances came at a significant cost, nevertheless, the Russian military is evidently learning and adapting. In conjunction with existing efforts by the Russians to capture Chasiv Yar[iv], albeit unsuccessfully so far and at great cost in manpower and equipment. Nevertheless, the coming months present crucial decisions to be made by Ukraine and its Western partners.

Furthermore, Russia has continuously attacked[v] Ukrainian energy infrastructure nationwide in a bid to sow dissent and amplify existing energy supply problems. These attacks have highlighted the worrisome situation of Ukraine regarding air defenses of critical infrastructure. Although, what is evidently visible is that the stalling of foreign aid to Ukraine has definitely presented Russia with more opportunities to exploit weak points in Ukraine’s defenses, whether that be air defenses for critical infrastructure or holding defenses on the front lines.

So how have these developments influenced the eastern member states of the 3SI? So far what has generally been a trend amongst eastern member states is increasing arms purchases and production, of which Poland has been at the forefront of. In spite of recent concerns[vi] regarding the enormous Polish-Korean arms deal signed last year, Poland has nevertheless continued its spending spree such as with its newly signed US supplied air defenses[vii], the integrated battle command system (IBCS) which is the first to operate in Europe.  Additionally, Poland has since 2023 normalized[viii] relations both diplomatically and economically with Ukraine, signaling a continued path of fruitful cooperation.

Meanwhile, Hungary who similarly to Poland has greatly invested in defense procurements, albeit on a different scale, has signed a deal with Sweden for the purchase of fighter jets[ix]. Moreover, Hungary is moving to positively develop economic interconnectivity with Ukraine through the construction of standard gauge rails[x] in Ukraine, in areas close to the border. Rail connectivity in general is a cornerstone objective of the 3SI, although the funding for this endeavor is mainly from the EU and participating states.

Meanwhile the Baltic states have consistently held an anxious position towards developments in Ukraine due to their proximity to Russia. Moreover, recently Russian GPS jamming from Kaliningrad and near St. Petersburg[xi] have caused tangible economic disturbances[xii] to civil aviation in the Baltics, with the most recent incident forcing a Finnair flight to turn around. Therefore, Ukraine’s success consistently meant the safety of the Baltics, which has been consistently reiterated by the respective states.

Czechia has continued to spearhead European arms production efforts, specifically in relation to the production of 155mm artillery shells, something which Ukraine is in great need of and is currently suffering from the consequences of an artillery munitions shortage. Czechia is the prime example of a segmented economic gearing towards war production, executed in a manner that has attracted significant foreign investment[xiii] to the country as well in addition to boosting the economy[xiv]

Seeing the situation in Ukraine, and the need for 3SI members to arm and rearm themselves, it is a dawning consideration whether investments under the 3SI program should expand to the defense and security realm or not. Over the past two years since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine it has been visible how the economic interests of 3SI members, previously championed by the 3SI program itself, are becoming increasingly intertwined with the military industrial needs and demands.

The economic interests of member states, and the development of necessary infrastructure to forward those interests present targets in the face of hostile actors, moreover, economic investment in the defense industry can serve to bolster confidence in investments not only pertaining to the defense industry but towards a nation’s economy in its entirety. Moreover, investment in defense can serve nations and protect national security objectives. As well as, helping 3SI member states secure investments for creating and expanding organic defense industries stimulates the economy and creates more jobs in a manner can coexist with the current geopolitical climate.


[i] ISW Press release, April 26th 2024,

[ii] Putins Cordon Sanitere in Ukraine, Philip Wasielewski and William Courtney, April 10th 2024,

[iii] Russian forces make significant gains in Eastern Ukraine, Luke Harding and Dan Sabbagh, April 23rd 2024,

[iv] Ukraine battles to hold vital stronghold of Chasiv Yar, Fabrice Deprez, May 1st 2024,

[v] Russian missles pound powers plants in central and western Ukraine, Olena Harmash and Tom Balmforth, April 28th 2024,

[vi] Korea-Poland mega rms deal jeopardized by financial hurdles, Lee Hyo-jin, April 22nd 2024,

[vii] Poland signs $2.5bn deal with US for air defence system, Agata Pyka, March 1st 2024,

[viii] New Polish Government Bolsters Relations with Ukraine, Janusz Bugajski, February 5th 2024,

[ix] Hungary buys Swedish fighter jets, prepares to approve NATO bid, Krisztina Than and Johan Ahlander, February 23rd 2024,,nearly%20two%20years%20of%20delays.

[x] Ukraine launched standard-guage rail construction, Railway Pro, April 18th 2024,

[xi] Markuss Jonsson, April 27th

[xii] Russian GPS jamming threatens air disaster, warns Baltic ministers, Richard Milne, April 28th 2024,

[xiii] Czech arms company reassures CFIUS over purchase of US ammunition business, Charles McConell, April 9th 2024,

[xiv] Czech arms producer CSG reports record 1.7b [EUR] sales for last year, Krystof Chamonikolas, 1April 10th 2024,

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