Over the last couple of months, Russia has amassed a large number of troops along its border with Ukraine. Russia began moving into Belarus (a country bordering both Russia and Ukraine) in preparation for joint military exercises sometime in February.
Also on January 19, US President Joe Biden confirmed that with the ongoing tension and buildup, it is likely that Russia might invade Ukraine. While Russia continues to refuse its plan to invade, the US and NATO officials are preparing for all military contingency. However, the EU remain divided on the issue due to its member relationships with Russia.
The question is why would Putin threaten to invade the country?
Western countries, over the years, have imposed symbolic sanctions on the country due to their involvement in the US Presidential Elections and other cyberattacks. The idea is to use the threat of invasion to have those sanctions lifted. Putin has presented a list of demands it needs fulfilling in exchange for very opening fire on Ukraine. This includes a ban on Ukraine from entering NATO, an agreement that NATO will remove troops and weapons across much of Eastern Europe and the lift on sanctions.
The other reason for the attack is that Putin doesn’t see Ukraine as a sovereign nation but as an extension of its domain. And in the past, they have committed to their threats. In 2014, Crimea (part of Ukraine) was captured by the Russians. The country is also divided; the eastern part favours close ties with Russia while the western part supports integration with Western Europe.
Why is the US getting involved?
The threat against Ukraine and the movement into Belarus brings in the doubt that Russia might plan to invade other neighbouring countries. So by providing military support for Ukraine and imposing political and economic sanctions, the US is making it clear to Moscow that there will be consequences for its encroachment on an independent country.