How much of a threat is Russia posing to Ukraine and can the U.S. help dissolve tensions?

As Russia continues to keep troops on the border, Ukraine’s leaders are trying to reassure the people that invasion is not imminent ( The past few weeks Russia has amassed around 100,000 troops near Ukraine to run training drills. The U.S. and NATO have made several diplomatic attempts to ease tensions, but none have been successful so far. Political analyst Volodymyr Fesenko warned, “Ukrainian authorities are trying to prevent destabilization and panic inside the country, hence the calming statements saying there is no threat of an imminent Russian invasion. The Kremlin’s plans include undermining the situation inside Ukraine, fomenting hysteria and fear among Ukrainians, and the authorities in Kyiv find it increasingly difficult to contain this snowball.”

In response, the U.S. has now put 8,500 service members on high alert for the potential for deployment to Europe in case of an invasion. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also promised troops in support of NATO allies in the region. Families of U.S., British, and Canadian diplomats based in Kyiv have also been ordered to leave the country. The U.S. also sent $200 million dollars in security assistance including munitions. Several other NATO countries have also pledged support including Denmark, Lithuania, and Spain.

Furthermore, the U.S. has announced that it will impose strict sanctions on Russia if they act. While the State Dept. has not been specific about the extent of the sanctions, they are already working with allies to limit the amount of technology sent to Russia, especially items that could aid the military. They are also working to find alternatives for imports from Russia. These sanctions could have long term impacts on the Russian economy, but many experts are concerned that they will not influence Putin’s current decisions in regards to Ukraine.

Can NATO de-escalate the situation, or is an invasion inevitable? How much should the U.S. get involved moving forward? Should the U.S. continue to intervene in regional disputes, or has continued globalization made all conflicts a relevant concern for U.S. foreign policy?

Image Credit: Alexei Alexandrov/AP

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