Although the war in Ukraine continues to dominate all the headlines, many have forgotten that a war had already been raging in Donbas for the past eight years. The Road to War traces that geopolitical history of the Ukrainian conflict from 2014 onward, uncovering its roots in history. Mingling geopolitical and intimate narratives, this documentary brings to new light the origins of this war at Europe's gates.
With access to top officials participating in negotiations, The Road to War shows what is at stake as well as Europe's weaknesses towards Russia and the return of Cold War dynamics. Looking at the history of the conflict via archival footage along with key participants, the origins of the war are discussed, going back as far as the fall of the USSR. A deep analysis of a complicated situation is delivered through interviews with officials from all sides as geopolitics are relayed in a lively, human, and nuanced way.
The film also tells the story of the civilians in Donbas. Particularly those who live near the frontline and who are caught in the middle. For them, war is an enmeshed everyday reality. During the time of filming in December 2021, 100,000 Russian soldiers gathered by the 500-kilometer line which separates the self-proclaimed Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk from Ukraine. As these troops gathered, the world held its breath.
- François Hollande, former President of France
- Petro Poroshenko, former President of Ukraine
- Daniel Fried, former Coordinator for Sanctions Policy, U.S. Department of State
- Kurt Volker, former U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine
- Dmytro Kuleba, Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs
- Hugues Mingarelli, former EU ambassador to Ukraine
- Evelyn Farkas, former US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia
- Pavlo Klimkin, former Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs
- Alexey Meshkov, former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia
- Rüdiger von Fritsch, German ambassador to Moscow
- Sylvie Bermann, former French ambassador to Russia
FILMMAKER'S STATEMENT: "The conflict that dragged on in Donbas until February 24, 2022, the war and the resulting humanitarian drama for millions of inhabitants, shed light on our multipolar, unstable and uncertain world marked by the legacy of the Cold war, the asymmetry of conflicts, the fragility of European construction and Russia's return to power.
This Donbas was a pawn in the major international negotiations that took place between 2014 and the invasion of all of Ukraine. It was seen by its main protagonists as a possible bargaining chip on other equally burning "files" (Iran, Syria, etc.). Any settlement on the ground therefore seemed unthinkable. And for civilians, resentment and hatred have accumulated.
In this context, what else can we do but give a voice to this war-stricken population? What else can we do but give them back some dignity and do some pedalogical work for a public disconcerted by so many complexities?"