Russia has not explicitly threatened the invasion of Ukraine, but has complained about the alleged provocation from the Ukrainian side of the shared border. Mr Putin has supported the pro-Russian separatist rebellion in the eastern part of the former Soviet Republic since 2014, when a popular revolution expelled Ukraine’s supporter of Putin. Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula shortly thereafter.
As a sign of heightened tension, General Mark A. Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke with Russian General Valery Gerasimov on the phone on Tuesday. The Pentagon said in a statement that the call was intended to “ensure risk mitigation and operational conflict resolution.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the United States is providing Kiev with information and data on the buildup of Russian troops. Western officials confirm that NATO allies are strengthening information sharing with Ukraine and better understanding the heightened threat will help Kiev better prepare and deter Moscow. I’m expecting that.
Even in the worst-case scenario, most analysts say Kiev should not expect the US military to come to the rescue.
“Russians are well aware that they will not send the 82nd Airborne Division because they have been invading Ukraine for seven years,” said Samuel Charap, a former State Department employee at RAND Corporation. “And I think they’re likely to set all other prices in the sense that they’re willing to pay.”
“That makes this difficult,” he added. “There is no easy way to get out of this.”
U.S. officials said he believed Mr Putin had not yet decided whether to take military action against Ukraine. While the threat was taken seriously, officials said the United States and its allies had time to prepare Kiev and try to convince Moscow that such a move was a terrible mistake.
Whatever Putin thinks, his military buildup could test the willingness to act in the United States, NATO, and Europe.