Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops on its border with Ukraine in recent months. The West sees this as a form of aggression and fears that Russian President Putin wants to invade Ukraine.
But for Putin, it is a defensive strategy, because Russia feels threatened by NATO, the Western military alliance that has expanded eastward in recent years, including to countries that once belonged to Russia’s sphere of influence.
So Russia has requested written guarantees from NATO that countries like Ukraine and Georgia will never join, even though they received that promise at the NATO summit in 2008. Moscow also wants NATO to withdraw infrastructure and military personnel from all new member states like Poland or the Baltic states.
The United States and NATO made it clear in their response that they wanted to talk about Russian sensitivities, such as disarmament in Europe or increased transparency, but emphasized that Russia could not decide who could or could not join the alliance.
Busy diplomatic talks are still underway between the West and Russia to prevent an escalation of the conflict. But at the same time, the United States and NATO are strengthening their military presence in Eastern Europe.
Are we going to have a military confrontation on the European continent with Ukraine at stake? Putin seems to hold the key. In the end, he decides how far Russia will go. The West warns that Russia will face severe sanctions if it continues its military escalation.
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