What to know about the conflict between Russia and Ukraine
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Tension between Russia and Ukraine continues to mount as Russian troops gather on the border of the neighboring country. In contrast, world leaders continue to try and find common ground for the two countries via diplomatic efforts.
According to a recent NBC report, roughly 130,000 Russian troops are now gathered on the border. Inside the country, Ukrainian officials are saying the country is not backing down from its intentions of becoming a NATO member, a key point of contention for Russia.
Madison experts say any conflict could affect U.S. cities like Madison.
“Russia supplies 30 percent of Europe’s gas and oil, and there are other things Russia supplies to the world in terms of metals, titanium for jet engines, ammonium nitrate for fertilizer,” said University of Wisconsin-Madison political science professor Yoshiko Herrera.
Herrera says military conflict between NATO and Russia is always a bad thing, but any economic conflict could be detrimental as well. Trade war or lengthy embargo on Russian goods would put more strain on a U.S. economy dealing with supply chain issues.
“The cost of energy is an input into almost every business, and into households, and so increasing energy costs is going to be a negative on economic growth and bouncing back from covid as well,” said Herrera.
UW-Madison history professor David McDonald says several things led to this being the perfect time for Russia to stir the conflict that has simmered for decades.
“Ukraine now, in certain strategic minds, appeared as the only buffer between Russia and advancing NATO,” said McDonald.
He says the potential depletion of such a buffer between Russia and perceived Western aggression is what some historians believe inspired Joseph Stalin to Sovietize satellite countries following World War II.
“One could argue that this has long been an agenda item for the Putin administration,” said McDonald. “They have already helped foster and support separatist movements in the provinces on Donetsk and Luhansk.”
Both those anti-government separatists movements occurred in Ukraine back in 2014, and the region is now called the Donbas region.
All this heavily involves the U.S. as not only a matter of national diplomacy but as an appropriate response in defense of American allies. McDonald explains that while Ukraine has yet to become a member of NATO, surrounding countries are U.S. allies. McDonald says the U.S. could be pulled into escalating conflict based on NATO countries becoming involved with an increasingly dangerous situation.
Monday, the United States announced it is pulling the staff out of the embassy in Ukraine and moving the staff to a city near the Polish border.
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