US military on high alert amid fears of Russian invasion of Ukraine
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Tensions between the US and Russia have intensified as concerns grow that Russia is mounting a multi-pronged invasion of Ukraine as soon as early next year. Ukraine has claimed that over 90,000 Russian troops have been amassed on the border between the two countries and that Russia has increased propaganda efforts to destabilise it ahead of an assault.
Later this week the US President and his Russian counterpart are expected to talk with one another via a video call – similar to the one Mr Biden held with China’s President Xi Jinping last month.
The key topic of discussion will be an alleged Russian invasion of Ukraine, of which fears are growing could soon become a reality.
Mr Biden told reporters over the weekend that he will not “accept anybody’s red lines” and warned that he will make it “very, very difficult” for Russia to launch an invasion.
He said: “What I am doing is putting together what I believe to be the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for Mr Putin to go ahead and do what people are worried he’s going to do.”
No specific mention of what actions the US would take were mentioned by Mr Biden, although officials from both the US and Ukraine stated last week that significant economic sanctions are on the table.
Recently, Ukraine attested that around 94,000 Russian soldiers had been stationed on the border Russia shares with Ukraine.
In fact, last Friday, the Washington Post reported that US intelligence officials are concerned that Russia is preparing for a massive military offensive against Ukraine – possibly as soon as the new year – which would involve 175,000 troops.
The same intelligence sources also claim that increased pro-Russian propaganda efforts are being launched across Ukraine to instigate content denigration of itself and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
Last month, Ukraine’s Head of Defence Intelligence Agency, Kyrylo Budanov, said he believes Russia will enact a comprehensive invasion of Ukraine by early 2022.
Speaking to Military Times he said if Russia were to attack Ukraine, it would be far more devastating than anything that the Russia-Ukraine conflict has thrown up so far.
Earlier this year, a concentrated build-up of Russian soldiers, on the Ukrainian border, raised fears that the conflict could be about to escalate in the region.
However, Russia stated the troops were part of military exercises in response to security threats posed by the deployment of NATO forces near to Russia.
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Russia and Ukraine have effectively been at war since 2014. This follows the annexation of the then southern Ukrainian region of Crimea, by Russia, in March of that year.
Soon afterwards, armed rebels in the mostly Russian-speaking regions of eastern Ukraine – Donetsk and Luhansk – rose up and began seizing territory.
Russia has been accused, by Ukraine and the West, of supporting these rebel groups with soldiers and weapons.
To date the conflict is thought to have killed more than 14,000 people.
Last month Mr Biden held a similar virtual call with the Chinese President, Xi Jinping where one of the key issues they spoke about was the potential for conflict in Taiwan.
On that occasion, the US President was warned of meddling in China’s affairs.
China views Taiwan as a breakaway province that will eventually be reunified with the mainland.
Although the US recognises and has formal ties with China it has also pledged to help Taiwan defend itself in the event of an attack.
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