Russia and Ukraine tensions rise

Tensions between Ukraine and Russia are growing as more troops are sent to the border

Russia and Ukraine currently in a conflict. Graphic | Cassy Tweed

Tensions are rising between Ukraine and Russia, as both countries are preparing for war.  Russia has moved troops to the border, which was shortly followed by the Ukraine defense team. The tensions arose as Ukraine was planning on joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Ukraine is preparing for a Russian Invasion, although Moscow denies an attack. On Thursday Jan. 20, President Joe Biden warned Russia that any movement across the border would be seen as a Russian Invasion. “If Putin makes this choice, Russia will pay a heavy price,” said Biden. 

Russia has moved over 100,000 troops to the border of Ukraine. “The United States is ordering the relatives of American embassy staffers in Ukraine to leave the country,” which is a sign that the U.S. thinks Russia will most likely invade, according to Politico. Russia has also stationed troops in Belarus. 

Dr. Thomas Ambrosio is a Professor of Political Science at North Dakota State University. “War clouds appear to be on the horizon,” he said. Russia sees “the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO as a truly existential threat to their National security,” he said.

On Dec. 17, Russia sent a proposed treaty to the United States and NATO; although this treaty was not agreed upon by NATO. The treaty called for NATO to stop expansion into other countries. It also asked that NATO pull their assets from other NATO countries, essentially stopping the aid to NATO allied countries.

“It is an impossible demand,” stated Ambrosio. The treaty was “completely unacceptable to the United States, they were meant to be rejected by us,” said Ambrosio. The refused treaty could give Russia an excuse to invade Ukraine. 

The State Department required U.S. embassy family members to move out of Ukraine. They are also warning Americans to avoid traveling to both Ukraine and Russia, while the tensions are quickly rising. Some U.S. embassy government workers are also departing the country. As of now the U.S. and the U.K. embassies remain open.

“The State Department also cautioned American citizens to consider leaving Ukraine, with U.S. officials warning that an attack could happen ‘at any time’,” according to the Washington Post.

Biden is currently not sending troops to Ukraine, although some are suggesting that troops be sent to the Baltic States, which would be a huge step for both the conflict and the Biden administration. The Baltic States, which include Estonic, Latvia and Lithuania are already members of NATO. Currently there are approximately 4,000 NATO troops in the Baltic States, according to the New York Times. There are also about 5,000 both NATO and United States troops in Poland, another NATO country. 

The United States has sent aid to Ukraine in the past year. “Overall, the U.S. has provided $650 million in defense equipment and services to Ukraine in the past year,” according to NPR. Some of the equipment has included ammunition and lethal aid, according to a tweet that the U.S. Embassy Kyiv posted on Jan. 21.

The U.K. began “supplying Ukraine with anti-tank weapons to help it defend itself,” according to Reuters. The Baltic states have also sent anti-tank weapons to Ukraine.

“The U.S. and its allies have long tussled with Moscow over Ukraine because of its strategic position between Russia and Europe,” according to NBC News. Ukraine’s location is central between the two superpowers of NATO countries and Russia.

“The future is going to be decided by the U.S. conflict with Russia,” said Ambrosio. The tensions between Russia and Ukraine “is a sign that the world is changing.”

Leave a Reply