Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine has jolted Taiwan into confronting the specter of a sudden attack from the island’s own larger and more powerful neighbor: China.

The invasion has given new weight to the authoritarian vision of China’s leader, Xi Jinping, who has long laid claim to self-governed Taiwan for the "rejuvenation” of China — much as President Vladimir Putin of Russia did with Ukraine. To many in Taiwan, Ukraine has been a lesson in the tactics and weaponry that could slow a more powerful invading force. It has also been a stark warning that the island may be inadequately prepared for a full-scale attack.

Taiwan’s defenses are, by many accounts, ill-equipped and understaffed. Its president, Tsai Ing-wen, has vowed to defend the island, but she has struggled to impose a new strategic vision on the uniformed leadership.