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U.S. Sends Troops to Europe as Ukraine-Russia Tensions Rise

President Biden prepares for action, but will there be any?

By:  |  February 9, 2022  |    834 Words
GettyImages-1369404203 Joe Biden

Joe Biden (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Russia has sent more than 120,000 soldiers to its shared border with Ukraine. Tensions have risen as the U.S., and European countries worry this could mean Russia will invade its neighbor. President Joe Biden recently announced he would send American soldiers to Europe to reinforce nearby countries.

The border between Russia and Ukraine has been in the news a lot recently, and there are a number of significant questions. Will Russia invade Ukraine? What will the U.S. do? How will it affect Europe and the rest of the world? Will there be a war?

Biden Sends Soldiers to Support NATO

President Biden is sending 2,000 American troops from Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Of these, 1,700 are going to Poland and 300 to Germany. From U.S. forces already in Europe, 1,000 will move from Germany to Romania, which shares a border with Ukraine. Biden has also put another 8,500 troops on alert.

Ukraine soldier GettyImages-1238213397

Ukrainian soldiers near Russian border (Photo by Wolfgang Schwan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

U.S. Defense Department spokesman John Kirby said deploying the soldiers would send a “strong signal” to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “These forces are not going to fight in Ukraine,” Kirby said. “We are making it clear that we’re going to be prepared to defend our NATO allies if it comes to that.”

President Biden reportedly added, “As long as he [Putin] is acting aggressively, we’re going to make sure we can reassure our NATO allies and Eastern Europe that we’re there … to defend our NATO allies.”

NATO is a military alliance between the U.S. and around 20 mostly countries, most of them in Europe. It was first set up after World War II. The alliance was meant to prevent another war in Europe, and members are committed to defending each other – if one member is attacked, it is treated as an attack on all the members.

This alliance is at the center of the dispute over Ukraine. Russia says it is just preparing to defend itself because several of its neighbors have become members of NATO, such as Poland and Estonia. It says NATO poses a danger by getting too close to Russia’s borders. Russian President Putin has said he wants a guarantee that Ukraine will never become a member of the NATO alliance.

On the other side, NATO is not willing to give that guarantee, as it fears this will only cause Russia to make more demands. However, that doesn’t mean Ukraine will become a member – while this has been discussed, it’s not clear that NATO even wants to let Ukraine join. NATO also says Russia is the one being aggressive here – after all, it’s the one moving troops to the area.

So, at the moment, it seems the soldiers sent by the U.S. are meant to intimidate Russia and give support to countries in Eastern Europe – but not to Ukraine directly.

Invasion Imminent or Unlikely?

Will an invasion happen? President Biden and his staff think it could happen, and soon. Biden made some statements that seemed to predict a Russian attack on Ukraine. “It would be the largest invasion since World War II,” he said. “It would change the world.” Biden has warned that an invasion could occur in February.

However, the president also said that if Russia did take over just a small part of Ukraine, the U.S. might not do anything about it. Of course, this didn’t make Ukraine happy.

Biden later changed his mind, saying, “If any — any — assembled Russian units move across the Ukrainian border, that is an invasion.”

But is this realistic?

Europe, Russia, and the U.S. spent some time negotiating, but nothing was settled. While President Biden seems to expect an invasion, Russia’s leader hasn’t said much. On February 1, President Putin accused NATO of trying to provoke it into launching an attack and complained that the alliance doesn’t take Russia’s security concerns seriously.

What Next?

GettyImages-1233489383 Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin (Photo by Mikhail Metzel\TASS via Getty Images)

If Russia does invade Ukraine, will it mean war for the U.S.? Probably not. The United States is sworn to defend members of NATO, but Ukraine isn’t in NATO.

America and Europe will instead apply financial punishments to prevent Russia from making money. The U.S. would limit how Russia can do business with other countries, blocking Russia’s international banking. It might also stop Russia from selling fuel, such as natural gas, to Europe. This could badly affect Russia’s economy as it relies on exporting fuel resources – but then again, Europe needs the gas it buys from Russia to keep people’s homes heated.

In the end, it’s still not clear whether Russia will invade Ukraine or just use this quarrel to bring attention to its complaints about the U.S. and Europe. For now, everyone is waiting to see if Putin makes a move.

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