UNITED STATES: US President Joe Biden has announced the deployment of around 3,000 troops to help NATO. Meanwhile, the US and NATO have described the movements of troops in and around Ukraine as “unusual”.
“The United States will send nearly 3,000 extra troops to Poland and Romania to shield Eastern Europe from a potential spillover from the crisis over the massing of Russian troops near Ukraine,” US officials said on Wednesday.
Ukraine and Russia’s tension
Due to a political and trade deal with the European Union, tensions between Russia and Ukraine have escalated in late 2013. In that year, former President Viktor Yanukovych had suspended the political talks. It is alleged that the decision was taken during the protests in Kyiv that later erupted into violence.
After one year, Russia annexed Crimea. Crimea is an autonomous peninsula in the southern part of Ukraine with Russian loyalties. After taking the decision Russia claimed that it was defending its interests and of Russian-speaking citizens by doing so.
Within days, Russia completed its annexation. This decision was criticized and called “ illegitimate” by Ukraine and most of the world. After a few months, Russian separatists in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions declared their independence from Kyiv. There have been repeated ceasefire violations despite Kyiv and Moscow signing a peace deal in 2015.
According to the United Nations, there have been more than 3,000 civilian deaths due to conflicts in Ukraine since March 2014.
Since then, the EU and US have imposed a series of measures in response to Russia’s actions in Crimea. The measures include economic sanctions targeting individuals, entities, and specific sectors of the Russian economy.
NATO’s take on the crisis
Ukraine is a NATO partner since 1992. But NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg left the possibility of Ukraine becoming a NATO member on the table. Stoltenberg said that Russia does not have the right to tell Ukraine that it cannot pursue NATO membership.
Stoltenberg has warned that if Russia tries to invade Ukraine then it has to “pay a heavy price”.
“After Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014, NATO increased its defenses “with combat-ready battlegroups in the eastern part of the alliance, in the Baltic countries, in Latvia … but also the Black Sea region,” Stoltenberg said.
Talks between Russia and NATO in mid-January weren’t an easy discussion, according to Stoltenberg. He added that the difference will not be easy to bridge.
America’s take on the crisis
Addressing the Ukraine-Russia crisis, Vladimir Putin said that Russia was being forced to protect itself from the US. Meanwhile, the US government has said that it is planning to impose financial sanctions on Moscow and send arms to Ukraine to shield itself from a Russian attack. As per the reports, Russia isn’t afraid of sanctions as it is still Europe’s main energy supplier.
The US government has also rejected Russia’s demands. Russia had asked the US and its allies to bar Ukraine from joining NATO. The country had also asked that the deployments of troops in eastern European countries that joined the alliance after the end of the Cold War be rolled back.
Earlier, Spanish newspaper El Pais had released a leaked copy of a US response to Russian demands.
Talking about this, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said, “I have seen nothing to suggest these documents are not authentic”.
“What we have conveyed … are proposals for further diplomatic engagement. This will require engagement in good faith, some concerted fairly technical discussions if they are going to result in anything,” he added.