Emily Plasse

One of the defining characteristics of World War I was the usage of trench warfare, which sparked the beginning of modern warfare as we know it. Now, the border between Ukraine and Russia has become more and more reminiscent of World War I. Troops from both countries have stationed troops along the border, in trenches no more than 50 yards from the opposing sides. The imminent threat of conflict between these two countries has caught the attention of political leaders around the world. 

President Biden’s recent meeting with Russian President Putin was in regards to the news that Russia has sent thousands more troops to Ukraine’s border, leading to the fear of an invasion. While Putin claimed to not have plans to invade Ukraine at the time, Russia has since made demands of the United States and NATO- the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, an alliance between 31 countries. These demands include not allowing Ukraine to join NATO, which would guarantee the support of the other countries in the alliance in the case of an invasion. While the number of troops is not exact, according to NBC News, “Putin has deployed more than 90,000 troops along Russia’s border with Ukraine […]”. (Bodner, et. al., 2021). This, alongside weeks worth of supplies, could certainly be enough to begin a substantial attack. 

As it was mentioned above, the United States hopes to prevent any further conflict from occurring but has yet to decide what approach to take if said conflict does happen. The tactic used thus far was been de-escalation, as explained by NBC News. “Biden and America’s NATO allies have sought to de-escalate tensions with Russia, which has been ratcheting up pressure on Ukraine since a popular revolution ousted pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014.” (Joselow, 2021). For context, these border disputes have been occurring since 2014, with both sides establishing military positions and moving some troops. However, before this new development, little violence had occurred beyond the occasional provocation of the Ukrainians by Russians. Russia has already taken substantial territories from Ukraine, including the Crimean Peninsula in 2014. This has only worsened the tension between the countries. 

Other global organizations, beyond NATO, have also expressed concern about the ongoing situation. G-7, or Group of Seven, has warned Russia that it is prepared to take aggressive actions if necessary in the case that Russia moves to invade Ukraine. The U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, warned that the Biden administration is “prepared to take the kinds of steps we’ve refrained from taking in the past that would have massive consequences for Russia. G-7 countries are equally resolute in their determination to stand against Russian aggression.” (Colchester, 2021). The United Kingdom has also demonstrated the same stance as the United States. The U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said, “We have been clear that any incursion by Russia into Ukraine would have massive consequences for which there would be a severe cost.” However, the G-7 conference has yet to clarify was these massive consequences would be, despite the sentiment being repeatedly used. Given the general reluctance to actively participate in any conflict, it seems as though these consequences will remain unclear for the time being. Russia’s response to this may very well determine how far other countries will go to subdue them.

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