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- 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 Russian-Ukrainian border, worrying people that Russia is looking to invade again, eight years after the first invasion.
- Russia denies it intends to invade and says that the troops have been positioned there for self-defense. Meanwhile, Russia has 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 military pushback and economic consequences, like sanctions against the Russian economy and Putin.
- Earlier this week, the United States deployed 3,000 extra troops to Poland and Romania, which comes after NATO said that Russia had deployed more troops to Ukraine’s neighbor Belarus in recent days. It is estimated there are around 30,000 troops there for joint military drills. Russia denounced the troop deployment and said that the US was escalating tensions.
- Russia denies it is planning to invade but has said it could take unspecified military action unless its security demands are met.
- Some have said that the tensions between Ukraine and Russia and the response of NATO members has just pushed Russia and China closer together. And, on Friday, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping will hold their first in-person meeting in more than two years.
- Their meeting is in Beijing amid the Winter Olympics.
- Meanwhile, the US warned of a Russian plot to release a fake video purporting to show a Ukrainian attack on Russia or Russian-speaking people to justify an invasion.