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Russia and Ukraine: What You Need to Know

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 by Devon Mitchell

The conflict over Ukraine has lurched further into crisis as NATO begins moving more military equipment into Eastern Europe and Russia continues to build up its forces at the Ukrainian border. As tension rises, Ukrainian allies begin to prepare for Russian force.

The conflict between Ukraine and Russia begins back when Ukraine won independence from the USSR and began forging connections with the West. Protesters in Ukraine removed then-President Viktor Yanukovych after rejecting a deal with the European Union to build ties with Russia. In response, Russia supported a separatist rebellion in the east. Throughout decades of unrest between the two nations, Ukraine and its allies have blamed Russia for a bloody rebellion resulting in more than 14,000 deaths, and Russia has criticized NATO for providing Ukraine weapons. Ultimately, Russia does not want Ukraine to join NATO, while NATO and Ukraine want the opposite.

As the conflict stands now, Russian forces are at the border, and Ukraine and NATO worry about a ground attack. Due to Russia’s threats, NATO countries have begun building their forces, including the United States putting 8,500 troops on alert in case of deployment. On Monday afternoon, President Biden talked to European leaders about the situation. Biden told reporters there was, “total unanimity with all European leaders,” meaning they all desired for there to be a diplomatic resolution but would take proper measures to deal with Russia’s aggression, including military force.

As of now we know that forces are building at the border and leaders from both sides have expressed the desire to use diplomacy instead of war. However, the United States and the United Kingdom have asked diplomats to leave Ukraine and are discouraging citizens from remaining in Ukraine. It’s hard to say what exactly will happen in the coming weeks, but tensions will continue to build as both sides cannot be satisfied with their demands.