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What's Happening in Ukraine ?

A military Build-up, Pressure from NATO & the US, India's Foreign Policy and Ukraine surrounded from all sides.


On Thursday, US President Biden warned the global population of a Russian invasion into Ukraine as soon as February. Although the Crimea war has been in existence since 2014, the Minsk Agreements in 2015 enacted a ceasefire protocol , which was strengthened in 2020. However, the movement of 100,000 russian troops, multiple landing ships capable of carrying tanks, vehicles and troops and Russian officials near the Ukrainian border has led to the resurfacement of tensions, multilaterally.


Increased military activity near the Ukrainian border has led to resumed talks of the ‘Normandy Group’ - a 4 way discussion between Russian, Ukrainian, French & German diplomats being used to bring peace and end the Russia-Ukraine war. On Wednesday, discussions between the groups lead to an on-paper ceasefire. The United States has opted initially for a diplomatic route, responding to the Russian security demands in exchange for stopping the sharp increase in military activity, drills and troops near the Ukrainian border. Russia demanded that NATO scale back troops and weapons from Eastern Europe, and disallow permanently Ukraine from joining the Western Bloc. In a written reply, the Biden Administration reinforced its ‘open policy’ - later agreed to by NATO, thus rendering such an agreement unlikely. Additionally, western Europe has made it clear on their intentions to target the Russian economy in case of an invasion into Ukraine. The United States also threatened enforcing the closure of the Nord Stream 2, a controversial gas pipeline running from Russia to Germany, set to power 26 million German homes affordably. This pipeline already has driven wedges between multiple parties. It denies transit fees to Ukraine and Poland who would make billions off the transportation of such quantities of gas. Both nations are open opposers of the Nord 2 stream, putting the United States in a tricky foreign policy situation.


Along with the thousands of troops stationed in Western Europe, Biden on Friday said ‘“I’ll be moving troops to eastern Europe and the Nato countries in the near term. Not too many.” Already, 8500 troops near the area in question have been put on high alert. Washington also warned of military conflict incase of the invasion, outlining NATO and the United States’ military extent.


While Russia is in denial citing military exercises beginning on February the 10th, NATO is wary of the show of force and how it poses a direct threat. Thousands of troops along with tanks, artillery, rocket systems and war-grade military equipment are entering a strong Russian ally Belarus, and positioned along its common border with Ukraine. This exposes Ukraine’s defense, concentrated primarily in the East since the 2014 conflict, to more than 1,000 kilometers of Belarusian borders in the North. An invasion would leave Ukraine in a precarious situation, as its capital Kyiv is just 200 kilomteres from Belarusian border crossings. Novi Yarylovychi border crossing, where Ukraine earlier deployed thousands in face of the Belarus migrant situation, now holds barely any troops despite being just 140 miles from Kyiv, the capital.


9 Belarusian stations are being used for S-400 Anti-aircraft systems, top grade equipment and some of Russia’s most advanced forces. Thousands of troops can be seen near border crossings compared to handfuls of Ukrainian troops, the majority of which are all positioned on Russian borders in the east. While Russia has passed this off as joint-military exercises, it leaves Ukraine in a state of worry. Foreign aid is also concentrated in the east as well as its best equipment. The exposure from the north could well be the deciding dynamic in a scaled conflict.


Russia itself has deployed 130,000 troops near the Ukrainian border and into parts of occupied Ukraine where it holds forces in breakaway towns. Crimea & Moldova (through Transnistria) also hold troops, surrounding Ukraine across all directions. Such exposure leaves Ukraine helpless, and its forces thin.



India’s Situation


India maintains long standing diplomatic relationships with Russia since the early cold-war era. Just last year during India’s catastrophic Covid-19 wave, Russia was one of the first countries to provide aid to India. It is also an important trade and military partner which assists in India’s vision of multipolar power beyond Washington and Beijing. All these factors have meant low Indian contribution towards global pressure on Russia in the past, and the present. Even in 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea, India abstained from a multilateral UN resolution. However, since 2014, the dynamics have changed. India has firmly strengthened its relations with the United States while Russia, with Pakistan and China.


A Russian invasion leads to multiple situations, all unfavorable towards India. Firstly, Economic sanctions would lead to Russia seeking greater aid from the People’s Republic of China. Not only does this undermine multipolarity, but works against Indian interests but for its rival, China’s interests. Secondly, such an invasion would most certainly lead to military conflict between the west, including the United States and Russia. A distracted Washington could leave India’s neighbor China to push strategically on both the South China Sea and the Indo-Chinese border. Both act as negative catalysts in Indian interests & Indian relations with the West. A full-scale war could leave further Indian restaurant impossible, forcing active Indian involvement. Not only would this leave Russia weaker, the US distracted and increase Chinese influence, it could lead to the non-polar diplomatic balance India maintains to shatter. Alternatively, applying force on Moscow to scale back as requested of India by the US, could bolster western relations while simultaneously waivering sanctions India possesses for the import of a missile-defense system from Russia. However, again, it inevitably leads to India’s balanced foreign policy tilting towards one end.

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