Russia has attacked Ukraine and the matter seems to be escalating into a war as President Vladimir Putin refuses to back down after his demands for NATO to stop its eastward expansion and deny Ukraine membership to the alliance were rejected by US President Joe Biden.
There have been tensions between Russia and Ukraine, a former Soviet Republic, for a long time, but the situation has been getting out of hand since early 2021 as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy requested US President Joe Biden to allow Ukraine to become a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Russia started responding by sending troops near its Ukraine border for “training exercises” in spring of last year and increased it during autumn. Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden warned Russia to pull back its troops or face severe sanctions.
President Vladimir Putin had demanded that NATO stop expanding eastward and deny the application by Ukraine to join the alliance. He also said that NATO needs to roll back troop deployment in countries that joined the alliance after 1997.
However, the US and NATO rejected those demands as NATO’s open-door policy states that sovereign countries can choose their own security alliances and giving in to Putin’s demands would end up handing Russia veto power over NATO’s decision making, which would compromise the continent’s security.
The United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom (UK) have imposed several sanctions over Russia in an attempt to stop the attacks but President Vladimir Putin has refused to back down and the country has amassed between 150,000 to 200,000 troops along the borders of Ukraine, while launching a full-scale assault on Ukraine on 24th February.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy ordered a general mobilization and martial law in response. The country has been repelling Russian attacks on the capital Kyiv and other major cities, but Russia has intensified attacks on populated urban areas.
Russia has demanded that the West gives a legally binding guarantee that NATO will not be holding any troops in eastern Europe and Ukraine, which President Putin has called a puppet to the West.