Tensions Mounting at the Ukraine Border
Tensions have and are beginning to mount at the eastern border of Ukraine as Russia has mobilized approximately 100,000 troops near its border Ukraine. The reason for this military buildup is largely political and military security according to recent news reports. Negotiations will be taking place in the coming days in which both sides, NATO and Russia, will show their hands regarding demands, concessions, and potential retaliation.
Talks this week will likely include Russian officials pressing their demands for “security guarantees,” including prohibiting the deployment of any missiles in Europe that could strike Russia and the placement of weaponry or troops in former Soviet states that joined NATO after the fall of the Berlin Wall (Sanger and Schmitt). From the Russian perspective, these demands aren’t necessarily random and unwarranted. Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, there has been a considerable amount of protection put into place to maintain European and NATO countries’ democratic and western values.
The Biden administration and its NATO allies have not laid down to Russia’s security demands. If Putin does indeed mobilize troops into Ukraine, the United States and its allies have assembled a punishing set of financial, technology and military sanctions against Russia that they say would go into effect within hours of an invasion (Sanger and Schmitt). It should be noted that the Biden has “ruled out direct U.S. military involvement in Ukraine, and the administration wants to limit military aid to defensive weapons” (Mauldin and Puko). Financial sanctions that could be put enforced should Russia press forward with military action include cutting off global transactions with Russian’s largest institutions (Sanger and Schmitt). In addition, economic sanctions include cutting exports to Russia made with United States resources. With that said, the United States and its NATO allies aren’t sure whether or not Russia’s security demands will be met and how prepared Russia is should large-scale sanctions be imposed.
If upcoming negotiations do not ease tensions between the two sides, U.S. citizens could see the effects of financial and economic sanctions. On top of already high inflation expectations, cutting ties with Russia may mean spillover effects such as higher prices for energy for U.S. consumers. Some officials are skeptical and argue that “oil-and-gas markets are tight and any U.S. effort to hurt Russian exports could cause a sustained price shock” (Mauldin and Puko).