Tensions are high on Ukraine's border with Russia. Here's what you need to know.
Exploring fast facts on the recent conflicts between Ukraine and Russia
Recent reports, including an unclassified US intelligence document, have indicated that the Russian government may be planning a multi-front offensive against Ukraine early this year.
Russia has been moving troops to Ukraine’s border over the past months.
Russia has made similar military build-ups in the past, including as recently as April of 2021.
Russia has a history of taking military actions against Ukraine, including annexing Crimea, a region of Ukraine, in 2014.
Despite a ceasefire between the two countries, both sides regularly engage in cross-border shootouts.
Ukraine and Russia have intense cultural ties dating back to the Soviet Union. Many in Russia see Ukraine as a central part of Russia’s identity. In their view, letting Ukraine fall into Western influence would signal Russian weakness and would be a blow to its history and prestige.
Ukraine is on Russia’s western border and is about 28 times smaller than Russia.
Some believe that Russia’s actions are simply posturing intended to deter the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) from bringing Ukraine further into their sphere of influence.
In an attempt to deter a potential invasion, the United States and allies are assembling financial, technology, and military sanctions against Russia that they say would take effect immediately after an invasion.
The United States has used sanctions to respond to Russian actions vis a vis Ukraine in the past, including in response to its annexation of Crimea.
United States President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin recently held talks via video conference in response to the reports.
Russia and the United States started a set of formal diplomatic talks in Geneva to defuse the situation on January 10th.
Sergei Ryabkov, a Russian foreign deputy minister, downplayed reports of an invasion, saying, “there is no reason to fear some kind of escalatory scenario.”
President Biden has said that if Putin “goes into Ukraine… [there will] be a heavy price to pay for it.”
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said that “very dangerous rhetoric is coming out of Russia” and that “it is a signal that there could be escalation.” He added that Ukraine’s army is “powerful” and “entirely prepared.”