By Ethan Miller ’23
Tensions that have existed between Ukraine and Russia for years seem to be coming to a head. Foreign leaders are trying to prevent that from happening.
Following protests that removed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, a pro-Moscow leader, from office in 2014, Russian forces annexed the Crimean Peninsula in southern Ukraine. In conjunction with this, pro-Russian secessionists rose up against the Ukrainian government in Donbas, seizing control over half of the region. After the dust cleared, over 14,000 were dead. Peace was negotiated, but at a large cost. Then, in December 2021, US intelligence discovered plans for the deployment of 100,000 Russian soldiers near the border between Russia and Ukraine. Since, the number of troops has risen to 175,000 as of publication. Now, what’s next? While some say that conflict is inevitable, the efforts of NATO and its strongest members give hope for a peaceful compromise.
Russia is likely using the tense situation as leverage to gain allowances for themselves, rather than full scale conflict. They want Ukraine and other Eastern Bloc countries to be barred from joining NATO, a request that the US denied in saying that every nation has the ability to choose who they align themselves with. Russia also has requested NATO pull back on troops in Eastern European countries. Essentially, Russia doesn’t want to have any threats on their border- ironic, since they’re currently a threat on another countries border.
As the US and their allies work to provide support via troops and equipment, Western nations are also diligently pursuing a diplomatic solution. Both sides are in dialogue about the issues that Russia has presented, and while the negotiations haven’t been smooth, they are still happening. Ultimately, to avoid a war, Ukraine, the US, and their allies may have to concede to Russia’s demands- an outcome that is undesirable, but if it saves thousands of lives, then it may be necessary. Overall, the Biden administration and other Western leaders must be diligent and wise in this tense situation, and produce a solution that maintains peace, and also Ukraine’s freedoms.