Before the collapse of the Soviet Union at Christmas 1991, its last leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, said that although the future was uncertain, we would at least give up the habit of interfering in the internal affairs of others and using troops outside the country.
But 30 years later, Russia, the successor to the Soviet Union, is still mulling over foreign affairs. Russia is interfering in Belarusian politics in various ways. Even Putin, the mastermind behind President Alexander Lukashenko’s long tenure in power, disagrees.
Russia increased its troop deployments along the Ukrainian border last April. When Crimea was annexed to the Russian Federation in 2014, the number of Russian troops deployed in the valley exceeded that number. The troops were sent to the border to conduct military exercises in response to provocative US and NATO moves.
Later this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden sat down to discuss tensions over Ukraine. Tensions between the two countries have been high since the deployment of more than 94,000 Russian troops near the Ukrainian border.
At the time, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the United States had evidence that Russia had planned a “large-scale” attack on Ukraine. However he acknowledged that their numbers were not enough to defeat Putin’s government. Russia has denied the allegations.
A recent report by Reuters reported that a number of satellite images of the Russia-Ukraine border were taken by Maxar Technologies, a US non-governmental organization. As seen in these pictures, the number of Russian troops has increased in multiple places near the Crimean and Ukrainian borders.
U.S. intelligence officials fear that Russian President Vladimir Putin may launch an attack on Ukraine soon. The big question now is how to prevent him from being attacked.
There is no room for NATO military intervention to protect Ukraine. They will not and should not do that. Because no one wants to go to war with a nuclear-armed Russia.
In this case, Putin must refrain from invading Ukraine in any other way. Some of this may be financial. In talks with Putin on December 6, Biden warned him that a renewed attack on Ukraine would lead to economic sanctions on Russia.
It is possible to prevent Russia from invading militarily. Although Russia is easily able to attack Ukraine. Ukraine needs to be stronger. And Ukraine should provide more financial assistance and defense assistance to Western countries. Russia’s move since 2014 has confirmed that the majority of Ukrainians will not accept Russian control in their country.
At the same time, Western diplomats should find ways to reduce the conflict. But even that is difficult because many of Putin’s demands are unreasonable or have no sincerity. His claim is that NATO is a big threat to Russia. But NATO has always denied such allegations.
He made the claim because a functioning, democratic Ukraine within its borders denies its authoritarian rule and seeks to gain support by speaking out against defending Russia from imaginary foreign enemies. However, Putin is considered quite successful in his own country. Because only 4 percent of people in his country think that Russia is responsible for the tension with eastern Ukraine. But about half of the people think that America and NATO are responsible for this.
Biden’s initiative in talks with Putin is to be welcomed, and they should continue. Moreover, Ukraine is less likely to join NATO. So Russia should think more about these issues.
There is still no clear solution to this chaotic situation between Russia and Ukraine. That is why it would be a good strategy to continue discussing various issues between the two sides. And the Ukrainian government must also take part in direct talks. Putin should not think of Ukraine as a puppet of the West. Because they really aren’t. In addition, Putin should not be attracted to any minor conflict.
He may have calculated how much Russia would gain or lose by merely threatening instead of attacking Ukraine. But he is quite adept at finding small aggressions. However, Putin has always denied these issues. As long as Putin is in charge of Russia, Russia will remain dangerous for its neighbors.
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