Since 1991, when Ukraine declared independence from the Soviet Union, tensions have been high between Ukraine and Russia. Even so, Russia had a 24 year period where they had not invaded another country from 1991-2014. In 2014 Russia shocked the United States and Europe when they invaded south Ukraine. Sanctions from the US and it’s allies were put in place but weren’t severe enough to make any change.
Today, Russia has troops tactically positioned to invade Ukraine. According to Ukrainian defense officials Russia has roughly 125,000 troops near the border to Ukraine. Russian president Vladimir Putin claimed that they are not planning an attack but it wouldn’t be the first time they surprised us. Some officials believe that Putin is just testing the unity of NATO and the EU.
Why should the US worry about something happening so far away? According to president Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Ukraine is an important barrier between Russia and the Re-establishment of their empire. If Russia would take Ukraine it would give them the ability to threaten other European countries much easier. The Economist Magazine said Russia is a bigger threat now than they have been since world war 2. Former American and Ukrainian diplomats, along with members of both political parties have warned president Biden to stand his ground and not cave to the Russian pressure. They think that sanctions should be implemented now, instead of after a military invasion. President Biden responded with “Things we did not do in 2014 we are prepared to do now”, referring to placing to sanctions.
As for helping Ukraine defend themselves from a Russian attack, it wont be easy for the US. Especially since President Biden claims that sending US troops to Ukraine “is not on the table.” Russia has military dominance over Ukraine with their 61 billions dollar military budget compared to Ukraine’s 5 billion. Ukraine would need massive financial and tactical support to even try and defend against a Russian invasion. The US has already sent a 60 million dollar assistance package to Ukraine and the US is coordinating efforts with NATO and the EU for more support. I’ll end with a comment by the US Institute of Peace, “We have strong alliances, rebounding economic strength and an unmatched military. We can successfully confront this serious challenge to international security if we show resolve, determination and patience. We have done it before.”