Russia and Ukraine: The Build Up Continues


New York Times

A Ukrainien solider patrolling the front lines in Avdiivka, Ukraine, during December 2021.

Kaelin Collar, Editor-in-Chief

Amid the escalating tensions along the neighboring international borders of Russia and Ukraine as the new year began, the conflict of Russia invading has been ongoing for years. However, it continues to build up a war. Pledging the United States to defend the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) territory in an attack. As of now, all diplomatic resolution opportunities are open.

Taking a minute to back up and provide a sense of a brief timeline, in 2008, Ukraine initiated and publicly announced ties with NATO. Russia immediately expressed concerns and believed Ukraine’s agreement was unacceptable. In 2010, Viktor Yanukovych became President of Ukraine. President Yanukovych’sYanukovych’s first order of business was striking a gas pricing deal with Russia in exchange for leasing a naval base in the Black Sea Port of Ukraine. In 2013, President Yanukovych suspended discussion with the European Union and reaffirmed ties with Russia, triggering mass protests. However, in 2014, the protests became violent, initially beginning the ongoing war. Yanukovych’sYanukovych’s government was overthrown, and Russian troops began a movement in Eastern Ukraine. In 2017, Ukraine and the European Union signed an agreement for opening markets for free trades of goods and services. In 2018, Russia completed the construction of a bridge over the Kerch Strait, connecting the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, essentially obstructing waterways in Ukraine. In 2021, Russian troops were seen lined up along the border of Ukraine and demanded Ukraine to deny NATO. 

While most of the crisis is currently unknown, United States officials discovered the Kremlin, the executive branch of Russia’s government, is planning on initiating a multi-front offensive against Ukraine as soon as the end of 2022 with over 175,000 troops. Ultimately, the Kremlin will move troops towards Ukraine’s border to demand a relationship with NATO will be nonexistent. However, as of now, Russia is refraining from certain military activities in Ukrainian territory.

Fear was provoked by a renewed war on European soil with a meeting between United States President, Joe Biden, and Russia’s current President, Vladimir Putin. American officials mentioned, “Dispute plans involve extensive movement of one hundred battalion tactical groups with an estimated 175,000 personnel, along with armor, artillery, and equipment.” On February 7, 2022, President Biden deployed roughly 3,000 troops to Europe, stationing 1,000 in Germany, hoping that American military power would defer a Russian invasion of Ukraine. In a recent interview, President Biden announced he would not be sending any troops into Ukraine to protect our forces. However, “all options are on the table,” refuting a statement in December regarding no longer sending American soldiers into battles they aren’t ours after the tragedy in Afghanistan. 

President Putin is threatening a more extensive military incursion into Ukraine unless the United States leads an alliance that’ll ensure several major security concessions, including a commitment to cease expanding Eastward. Putin declared the United States and NATO are responsible for violating pledges allegedly made in the early 1990’s1990’s that an alliance wouldn’t grow, persuading alliance leaders are open to new diplomacy with Russia and are not willing to close off new members to NATO as Russia is unsure of NATO expanding Eastward.

Fundamentally, the neighboring countries continually dispute land agreements. Current disputes arose from Russia previously invading Ukraine without attacking back in 2014, issuing a treaty guaranteeing Ukraine would not join NATO. They also share borders with the European Union, connecting deep social and cultural ties to Russia. 

Ian Brzezinski, a former deputy assistant Secretary of Defense for Europe and NATO, mentioned, “Putin is someone who responds to brute force and is willing to pay a very high economic price for Ukraine.” As America got involved with the overseas affair, President Biden began preparing severe economic sanctions on Russia’sRussia’s financial sector, expanding armed shipments to fortify Ukraine’sUkraine’s military and reinforce NATO’s alliance on the Russian border. 

It’s evident America is involved, as President Putin has threatened, “an appropriate retaliatory military-technical measure” if an expansion continues. For now, the White House declares the window for a Russian invasion remains open and unknown, but Ukraine remains under Russian leadership and will likely never get away.