What’s going on with the Russia and Ukraine situation now?

What’s going on with the Russia and Ukraine situation now?
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden is seen through a glass doorway as he speaks by phone with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., December 9, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

The backstory:

  • For those who haven’t been following the story: There are about 100,000 Russian troops at the Ukrainian-Russian border that have many people worried Russia is about to invade Ukraine again.
  • Western intelligence has said an invasion could happen early this year, and this week, United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken said it could happen on very short notice.
  • But, Russia says the troops have been sent there for self-defense purposes. All the while, Russia has sent the West some demands, one of which is for Ukraine never to be allowed to enter The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO – which is an international political and military alliance.
  • This is against NATO’s open-door policy. “We have made it clear that any further eastward expansion of Nato is unacceptable," Putin said at a televised press conference last month.
  • Some are saying that the troops are there so that the West will take Russia’s demands seriously.

The development:

  • At a news conference on Wednesday, Biden said, “What you’re going to see is that Russia will be held accountable if it invades and it depends on what it does. It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion, and then we end up having to fight about what to do and not do etc."
  • But then the White House quickly clarified Biden’s comments, saying that any Russian military movement across the border will be considered a renewed invasion and will be “met with swift, severe, and united response from the United States and our Allies,” including economic sanctions.
  • Russia then said that consequences wouldn’t help the situation and would instead destabilize them further.
  • On Thursday, Blinken is meeting with several foreign ministers from Germany, France and the United Kingdom to talk about strategy if Russia does invade.

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