Russia-Ukraine: US responds to Russia; Ukraine sees “small step forward”

Russia-Ukraine: US responds to Russia; Ukraine sees “small step forward”
Ukrainian service members unload a shipment of military aid delivered as part of the United States of America’s security assistance to Ukraine, at the Boryspil International Airport outside Kyiv, Ukraine January 25, 2022. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

The backstory:

  • Russia invaded and annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine (a former Soviet state) back in 2014, which caused it to be kicked out of the international military alliance The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
  • Today, there are an estimated 100,000 troops and tanks at the Russia-Ukrainian border, worrying people that, eight years after the first invasion, Russia is looking to invade again.
  • Russia denies it intends to invade and says that the troops have been positioned there for self-defense. Meanwhile, they’ve sent some demands to the West, including banning Ukraine from ever entering NATO.
  • With this, NATO members are trying to ensure that they have a united front on how to respond if Russia does invade Ukraine; this includes the military pushback and economic consequences, like sanctions against the Russian economy and Putin.

The development:

  • On Wednesday, the United States delivered a written response to Russia on the crisis in Ukraine. The US won’t make the document public but clarified that while NATO members prefer diplomacy, it’s up to Russia – and the West is ready either way.
  • Within the document, the US said that it “will uphold the principle of NATO’s open door,” policy, so it won’t close the door to Ukraine’s potential future in the NATO alliance. It also hashes out some potential areas in which NATO and Russia have mutual interests and can work together.
  • “We also do lay out areas where we believe that together we could actually advance security for everyone, including for Russia.”
  • During an eight-hour meeting between Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany that was described as “not easy,” the group has now agreed to meet in two weeks to speak again on the situation. Andriy Yermak, Ukraine’s head of the presidential administration, called this a “small step forward,” adding that the participants had a “desire to work on [an] agreement.”

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