- Here’s a guide to the causes behind a conflict that threatens to become a major military clash, and what’s at stake for Russia, the U.S. and NATO.
How the Ukraine Crisis Developed, and Where It Might Be Headed: It sounds like a scene from the Cold War. An unexpected Russian leader is gathering troops and tanks on a neighboring border. The threat of a bloody east-west confrontation.
But what seems to be a dangerous event of a bygone era. He is now front and center in global affairs. After meeting with European leaders on February 11, the White House warned that Russia could launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine next week, February 16. The day passed without any action but the United States and Russia made two separate offers. Versions of reality on the ground around Ukraine. The Kremlin offered its most detailed description to date of what it described as a partial withdrawal. While the US and its NATO allies said the Russian threat was increasing.
Maps: Tracking the Russian Invasion of Ukraine (Ukraine Crisis)
Russia launched attacks on major cities and airports across Ukraine, shelling more than a dozen cities and towns and crossing the border in multiple locations.
US officials say Russia’s build-up has reached 130,000 troops. They say they have evidence of a Russian war plan. Which envisions an assault force of 175,000 soldiers. That the military of Ukraine, the U.S. Despite the equipment and training provided by them, there will be little ability to stop.
Some 8,500 US troops are on “high alert” for a possible deployment to Eastern Europe, the region most likely to reassure US allies.
A military action threatens to destabilize an already volatile region in the post-Soviet region. Which is with dire consequences for the security framework that has governed Europe since the 1990s.
Russia has made a list of far-reaching demands to reshape that structure. The positions of NATO and the United States are rejected. Russian officials have repeatedly insisted. That Moscow has no plans to invade Ukraine. But Mr. Putin has categorically not ruled it out.