Tensions increase as world awaits Putin’s next move regarding Ukraine; Biden says invasion is imminent


Russia has been amassing troops along its Ukrainian border since November 2021, portending what the U.S. calls an “imminent” invasion.

Ukraine and Russia have been uneasy neighbors since Ukraine declared its independence from the then Soviet Union in August of 1991. After the Soviet Union dissolved in December of 1991, Russia has tried to maintain some sort of control over Ukraine as Ukraine has steadily made progress toward its desire to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), an alliance of nations from Europe and North America.

The two countries have been in conflict since 2014 when Russia invaded and annexed Crimea from Ukraine in response to Ukraine’s ousting of its pro-Russian president and making its first serious moves towards joining NATO and the European Union.

Russia does not want another NATO country on its western border and fears that Ukraine joining NATO would complete a western wall of hostile allied countries and could restrict Russia’s access to the Black Sea. 

Tensions escalated even further when in November of 2021, Russia began amassing troops on three sides of Ukraine, giving the impression of a pending invasion to take Ukraine by military force. Satellite imagery reveals that Russia has an estimated 70 percent of the forces it would need to successfully invade Ukraine.

As he often does, Russian president Vladimir Putin has been saying one thing while his actions indicate another. In this case, Putin is denying Russia has any intent on invading Ukraine. American president Joe Biden said as recently as Friday, Feb, 18, that the U.S. believes a Russian invasion of Ukraine is imminent. American analysts estimate that there will be a major loss of life if the invasion happens.

Biden and many of the other NATO country presidents have been adamant in their support of Ukraine with Biden meeting with both Putin and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy. On an hour-long call with Zelenskyy, Biden restated the U.S.’s desire for Ukraine to keep its sovereignty. However, despite NATO having deployed troops to the Ukraine/Russia border, Biden and all other NATO nation leaders have stopped short of promising to send troops to help Ukraine fight off an attempted Russian take-over. 

In a recent interview, Putin revealed his endgame for NATO. Putin stated that if Ukraine joins NATO, there will be consequences for the whole world. Russia understands that it can not essentially start a war by going to war with the NATO nations; however, Putin restated that Russia has the largest nuclear presence in the world. Putin declared that there will be no winners if Ukraine joins NATO. 

On Feb. 15, Putin announced the withdrawal of some Russian troops from the Ukraine border after completing “training drills.” However, the U.S. has stated that they have no intelligence that a Russian troops withdrawal of any significance has taken place, leading it to believe an invasion is still plausible.

What Putin is up to is anyone’s guess. Olympic Heights finance academy teacher Mr. Robert Carruthers believes that Putin is testing the U.S. government to see how it reacts to the conflict in Ukraine rather than having any ambition of annexing Ukraine for its warm water ports. 

OH sophomore Max Greenstein views Putin as more ambitious and believes that Putin wants control over the world and the Ukraine situation is the start of that control.