Tensions remain critically high on Ukraine’s Russian border with reports that Moscow’s preparations for an invasion recently have been stepped up. The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has long sought to justify his country’s aggressive foreign policy towards its neighbour by insisting it is merely a defensive posture against NATO’s relentless eastward expansion. He has also written that he believes Russia and Ukraine are “one people – a single whole”.

But despite centuries of shared history during the rise and fall of empires and the formation and dissolution of nation states in the region, Ukraine has its own origin story which is quite distinct from that of Russia, despite the best efforts of the tsars and commissars.

The Free Movement of Persons Protocol, signed by African Union member states in 2018, was designed to lead to better integration of the continent and open up economic benefits. But this vision hasn’t materialised. Alan Hirsch explains why it’s been difficult to get member states to ratify and implement this key agreement.

Jonathan Este

Associate Editor, International Affairs Editor

How Russian is Ukraine? (Clue: not as much as Vladimir Putin insists)

Olivia Durand, University of Oxford

The two countries have a lot of shared history, but Ukraine has a distinct and independent past.

African countries are stuck on the free movement of people. How to break the logjam

Alan Hirsch, University of Cape Town

African countries are struggling to implement the African Union’s protocol on free movement four years after its ratification.

Why the volcanic eruption in Tonga was so violent, and what to expect next

Shane Cronin, University of Auckland

The eruption is akin to a weapons-grade chemical explosion, and there could be several weeks or even years of major volcanic unrest to follow.