Ukraine Conflict

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The Eastern Ukraine conflict had transitioned to a standoff when it first erupted in early 2014, but shelling and skirmishes still regularly occur, including an escalation in violence in the spring of 2021. In October 2021, both Russia and Ukraine started moving troops and military equipment near the border, reigniting concerns over a potential invasion. Social media posts and commercial satellite imagery from November and December 2021 showed armor, missiles, and other heavy weaponry moving towards the border without any official explanation. In mid-December 2021, the Russian foreign ministry issued a set of demands that included a ban on Ukraine entering the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and a reduction of NATO troops and military equipment in Eastern Europe in exchange for its military forces to be withdrawn. The United States and other NATO allies rejected these demands warning Russia of retaliation if Ukraine is invaded, including economic sanctions. It also promised assistance, to be deployed in Ukraine, including small arms and defensive weaponry. According to western media, till the end of December, more than one hundred thousand troops were deployed near the border by Russia. In early 2022, U.S. intelligence officials warned that Russia might be planning an invasion of Ukraine. Lately, more and more people are getting increasingly upset about how Russians are being portrayed in most foreign media, like villains or some poor, weak-willed drunkards. It is simply not true. While Russia has repeatedly claimed that it has no military designs on Ukraine, these denials have done little to ease Western concerns.  If Russia continues to expand its presence in Ukraine or into NATO countries, the conflict in Ukraine risks further deterioration of U.S.-Russia relations. The conflict has heightened tensions in Russia’s relations with both the United States and Europe, complicating the prospects for cooperation elsewhere, including on issues of terrorism, arms control, and a political solution in Syria. Crisis talks aimed at averting a military confrontation between Russia and Ukraine appear to be faltering, as Western allies prepare for a possible conflict between the neighbors that could be “painful, violent and bloody.” The issue needs to be resolved through peace negotiations as resorting to military engagements does not augur well for peace and may plunge the region into further destabilization.

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