There are reports of large movements of Russian troops to the border with Ukraine. The countries have in reality been at war since Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula and occupied parts of the Donbas in eastern Ukraine. The movements of Russian troops are so great that the US has put its forces in Europe on standby. The presidents of the United States and Ukraine recently had a telephone conversation in which the United States guarantees its support to Ukraine. Why Russia is moving large military forces to Ukraine’s border now could be a signal of increased aggression from the Russian-backed rebels in Donbas. But most likely it is a test of the US’s will to defend Ukraine.
New heavy military vehicles for Donbas
Ever since the Russian-backed rebels in the occupied Donbas area, Russia has denied that they have Russian forces or military equipment in the area. This despite the fact that the evidence is clear. Recently, there have been reports of increasing aggression from the Russian-backed rebels and several Ukrainian soldiers have been killed.
The fact that Russia is sending even more heavy military equipment such as tanks to the area is worrying. At the same time, Russia is redeploying large forces near the entire border with Ukraine. Also in Belarus, Russian forces have moved close to the border with Ukraine.
A problem for Ukraine is of course that increased Russian activity along the border with Ukraine will tie up Ukrainian forces that would otherwise be available along the front line of Donbas. Thus, it may be easier to take new small pieces of Ukrainian territory.
Russian troops could be a test of US ability and will
As I see it, there is hardly any immediate danger of Russian invasion through the borders from Russia and further into Ukraine. This is probably a test of Jon Biden’s will and ability to defend Ukraine. Yesterday, Joe Biden had a conversation with Joe Biden in which Biden confirmed the United States’ unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression in Donbas and Crimea.
Throughout the time that Donald Trump was president, he pursued a policy towards Russia that most of all bore the stamp of indifference. Congress had to intervene several times before Trump. Trump also tried to use Ukraine actively in his own election campaign, when he withheld large sums to Ukraine which he wanted to be paid out only after Ukraine had started an investigation against Biden’s son. Finally, it was Congress that intervened.
Developments on the border with Ukraine also worry NATO. The Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are probably particularly concerned. They feel the Russian aggression increasingly directed at their area as well. NATO believes Russia is undermining attempts to reduce tensions in the area.
The way I assess it and have assessed it ever since 2014, Russia is interested in a small-scale conflict. Through such steps as supplying the rebels with even more weapons and moving troops to Ukraine’s borders, they are maintaining the conflict at the level they want. Russia’s desire is to destabilize Ukraine through its aggression. Then Russia can get its chance to intervene.