Along the Ukrainian border, Putin has sent tens of thousands of Russian troops on standby. The United States believes that Russia is getting ready to invade Ukraine, an act that could grow into the largest military conflict that we have seen in the past few decades.
It is evident to the United States that Russia is preparing for battle. The Kremlin, which is the executive branch of the Russian government, has taken all sorts of extreme measures that point towards a potential invasion. Many of which include moving military equipment, medical units, and even blood to the Russian, Ukrainian border. Along with that, President Joe Biden stated in a press conference that Russia has accumulated 150,000 troops near Ukraine. Russia and the United States have been in constant communication with one another, yet neither party has come to any agreement.
Earlier this month, Russian officials explained they were going to moderately pull back troops, a sign that Russian President Vladimir Putin could potentially de-escalate the situation. Nonetheless, Russia has shown no signs of doing so. There is reason to believe that Putin has done the opposite. In fact, more troops have been added since the announcement. On February 17th, President Joe Biden told reporters that he believes an invasion may happen “within the next several days.”
Russia presented the United States with a series of demands, many of which were one sided. Putin demanded that NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, deny any request from Ukraine for an alliance. He also demanded that NATO remove troops from countries that had joined after 1997. This would completely change Europe’s security and geopolitical alignment. As expected, the United States and NATO rejected those demands.
The Russian/Ukrainian situation has caused a reason for concern. Trevor Oftedal, world history teacher at San Marcos High School, gave his opinion on the situation.
“I think we are in a very tense moment here. Russia has demands about Ukraine not being a part of NATO. The United States, and other western countries want to protect the sovereignty of Ukraine, essentially allowing Ukraine to do what Ukraine wants to do. And both sides are pretty unwilling to compromise at this point in time. I think what we’re looking at is an escalation in conflict that could lead to a larger conflict, potentially even a war which would bring two major powers against each other and consequently draw in countries from all over the world.”
Many people believe that NATO should have never expanded near Russian borders following the Cold war. But, NATO’s open-door policy grants sovereign countries the ability to choose their own security alliances. If the United States and NATO give into Putin’s demands, it would essentially give the Kremlin enough power to veto any decision made by NATO. Hence, Europe’s security.
Right now, the world is waiting on Putin’s next move. The invasion of Ukraine is not a foregone conclusion. Any plans to invade Ukraine are continuously denied by Moscow. But if war does happen, it could be disastrous to Ukraine, along with the rest of Europe and other western countries.
Update: 2/24/22: As of this date, President Valdimir Putin of Russia has officially invaded Ukraine. Russian troops and tanks had just entered Ukraine on three fronts. Dozens of Ukrainian citizens have died. Russia attacked the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv with missiles.