Russia-Ukraine Conflict

On Thursday, February 24th, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Russian troops crossed into Ukraine through multiple points including at the Belarusian border, Crimean border, and at Kherson Oblast, Ukraine. At a briefing following the attack, President Zelenskiy announced he severed diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation (President of Ukraine). In late March, Russian forces began moving to eastern Ukraine and withdrawing from major cities including Kyiv and Chernihiv (Reuters). President Putin has refocused his efforts to prioritize the Donbas Region of Ukraine (New York Times). With Russia’s shift to eastern Ukraine, officials and international organizations have found more evidence of war crimes committed by Russian forces (OSCEHuman Rights WatchUS State Department). The United States, along with Allies and partners, continue to issue sanctions against Russia and Belarus (Reuters).

In November 2021, satellite images showed a buildup of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine, sparking fear of a possible invasion. It was later confirmed that Russia mobilized around 100,000 soldiers in the border area (The ASEAN Post). In diplomatic discussions, Russian leaders expressed concerns with Ukraine’s desire to join NATO and the possibility for NATO to set up military training centers in the country (Al Jazeera). Russian leaders presented security proposals including demands that “Ukraine not be admitted into NATO, and that the alliance end its security cooperation with Ukraine.” Many of these proposals were seen as nonstarters from Western officials (NYT).

International Response


United States – US President Joe Biden has said he would consider imposing economic sanctions personally targeting Vladimir Putin if the Russian president orders a new attack on Ukraine (Al Jazeera). The U.S. Department of Defense in Washington said about 8,500 American troops were put on heightened alert and were awaiting orders to deploy to the region, should Russia invade Ukraine (Reuters). A new alert from the US Embassy in Kyiv urges U.S. citizens in Ukraine to consider departing now. “The security situation in Ukraine continues to be unpredictable due to the increased threat of Russian military action and can deteriorate with little notice” (Christopher Miller).

The United States delivered a written response to the Kremlin’s security demands on Ukraine and NATO amid soaring tensions that Moscow is planning to invade its neighbor, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. The U.S. hasn’t made its response public, but already has warned that Russia’s top demands are unacceptable (AP). The White House announced that President Joe Biden and new German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will discuss Russian aggression toward Ukraine during a Feb. 7 meeting in Washington (AP). Joe Biden said he plans to designate Qatar as a major non-NATO ally, granting a special status to a key ally in the Middle East (Jerusalem Post).

The Pentagon announced the deployment of around 3,000 troops to Poland, Germany, and Romania to bolster NATO presence.

The United States has offered to provide more transparency about missile deployments in Eastern Europe in response to Russian security demands, but it rejected Moscow’s insistence that NATO guarantee it would never expand to countries near Russia, including Ukraine, Sweden and Finland (NYT).

U.S. President Joe Biden has threatened to block the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline if Russia invades Ukraine.

The White House has approved a plan presented by the Pentagon for the nearly 2,000 US troops in Poland to help Americans who may try to evacuate Ukraine if Russia invades (CNN).

The Pentagon approved sending an additional 7,000 troops to Germany following a Russian invasion of Ukraine (Politico).

The president, Joe Biden, announced a “first tranche” of sanctions against Russia on Tuesday, February 22nd and updated the list on Thursday (The Guardian).

The United States and United Kingdom are expected to impose sanctions on President Putin (CNNBBC). 

Biden administration officials traveled to Venezuela on Saturday, March 5th, for talks on potentially allowing the country to sell its oil on the international market, helping to replace Russian fuel. Biden may travel to Saudi Arabia as the US works to convince the kingdom to increase its production. And a looming nuclear deal could bring significant volumes of Iranian oil back to the market (CNN).


Russia – According to the Associated Press, Russia warned it would take “retaliatory measures” if their security demands are rejected. Moscow has demanded guarantees that NATO will never admit the country and other ex-Soviet nations as members and that the alliance will roll back troop deployments in other former Soviet bloc nations. Some of these, like the membership pledge, are nonstarters for NATO, creating a seemingly intractable stalemate that many fear can only end in a war. Russia has warned it would quickly take “retaliatory measures” if the U.S. and its allies reject its demands.

According to Axios, US officials discovered information indicating that Russia is planning to stage a “fabricated attack,” including use of a “propaganda video” to justify an invasion of Ukraine.

According to The Guardian, “Russia and Belarus will begin 10 days of joint military drills on Thursday, setting in train one of the most overtly threatening elements of the Kremlin’s buildup of forces around Ukraine’s borders.”

According to NYT, new satellite images revealed additional deployment of Russian troops and military equipment “in multiple locations around Ukraine, including Crimea, western Russia and Belarus.”

According to BBC, Ukrainian officials accused Russia of blocking its access to the Sea of Azov along with most of the Black Sea.

United Kingdom – The UK is withdrawing some of its staff from its Ukraine embassy amid growing fears of an invasion by Russia. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has confirmed some staff in Kyiv and their families will begin withdrawing in response to the “growing threat” from Russia (Independent). The UK has also begun supplying Ukraine with anti-tank weapons (Al Jazeera).

Britain urged Russian President Vladimir Putin on  Monday, January 31st to “step back from the brink” over Ukraine, warning that any incursion would trigger sanctions against companies and people with close links to the Kremlin (Reuters).

The UK advises against all travel to Donetsk oblast, Luhansk oblast and Crimea. The UK advises against all but essential travel to the rest of Ukraine (UK Government).

UK is sending 350 troops to Poland as fears mount that Russia will invade Ukraine (Mirror).

The UK now advises against all travel to Ukraine. British nationals in Ukraine should leave now while commercial means are still available.

On Thursday, February 24th, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the UK will place sanctions on Russia (BBC).

The United States and United Kingdom are expected to impose sanctions on President Putin (CNNBBC). 

China – China has joined Russia in opposing further Nato expansion as the two countries move closer together in the face of Western pressure (BBC).

Canada – The Canadian government says it’s withdrawing the family members of diplomatic staff stationed in Ukraine amid heightened fears of a Russian invasion (CBC). Canada has reportedly deployed a small contingent of special forces to Kyiv amid concerns of a possible invasion by Russia and loaned $120 million to Ukraine (Al Jazeera, Toronto Sun). Trudeau authorized the extension of Operation Unifier in Ukraine for three more years, as well as “immediate support.”
The CAF will deploy 60 personnel within days to join the approximately 200 women and men already on the ground (Rachel Gilmore).

Canadians should avoid all travel to Ukraine due to the growing risk of an armed conflict with Russia, the federal government warns.

Ottawa updated its travel advisory to Ukraine after previously advising Canadians to avoid only non-essential travel, and to evaluate if their presence was essential in the eastern European nation. The federal government is now warning against any travel to Ukraine and urged all Canadians currently in the country to leave Monday, February 7th as concerns about war with Russia escalate (CTV News,Global News, Canadian Government). 

Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly urges all Canadians to leave Ukraine immediately.

Canada announces additional sanctions against Russia on Thursday, February 24th (Reuters).

France – France’s foreign ministry on Monday advised French nationals to avoid non-essential travel to Ukraine as tensions soared over the Russian military buildup, prompting NATO allies to put forces on standby and send ships and fighter jets to bolster Europe’s eastern defenses (France24). France also says it’s ready to send troops to Romania (NBC). 

Baltic Nations – The Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania will send U.S.-made anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine in a move that Washington says it is fully endorsing amid Kyiv’s escalating tensions with Russia (CBS).

In view of a serious threat to security posed by Russia near the Ukrainian border and a credible threat of escalation of the situation, the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs urges Latvian nationals to depart from Ukraine in the near term. 

Spain – Spain sent warships to join NATO naval forces in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea as tension in the region rises over the Russian military build-up on the Ukrainian border, Defense Minister Margarita Robles said on Thursday (Reuters). 

Denmark – Denmark is sending F-16 fighter jets to nearby Lithuania (NBC).

Germany – Germany will supply 5,000 military helmets to Ukraine to help defend against a possible Russian invasion, it said on Wednesday (Reuters). The White House announced that President Joe Biden and new German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will discuss Russian aggression toward Ukraine during a Feb. 7 meeting in Washington (AP).

The German broadcasting regulator has banned the transmission of the German-language channel of Russian state broadcaster RT, amid rising tensions between Moscow and the West (Al Jazeera,Tweet from Samuel Ramani).

German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said extra forces will be deployed to Lithuania amid regional tensions with Russia. The deployment there could be Germany’s second largest after Mali (DW).

A German Foreign Ministry statement published on Saturday implored nationals in Ukraine to leave unless they have pressing grounds for staying (DW).

Germany announced sanctions against Russia on Thursday, February 24th (AP).

Czech Republic – The Czech Republic will donate 4,000 artillery shells to Ukraine (AFP).

Israel – Israel warned Ukrainian Jews to be ready for evacuation to Israel on Tuesday as the threat of Russian invasion looms over Ukraine (The Jerusalem Post).

Israel issued a travel warning for Ukraine and announced the evacuation of embassy workers and of the families of Israeli diplomats stationed there amid fears of a Russian invasion on Friday, February 11th (The Times of Israel).

Israel began preparations to move its embassy from Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, to Lviv on Tuesday, even as Moscow said it would pull back some troops from the border (The Jerusalem Post).

Australia – Australia is negotiating new measures to help the Ukraine government defend itself against a wave of cyber attacks. Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne has asked top security officials to discuss the cyber assistance with their Ukrainian counterparts, in a significant move to intensify Australian support for Ukraine with a message to Russia to “de-escalate” tensions (The Sydney Morning Herald).

Australia announced sanctions against Russia on Thursday, February 24th (AP).

Ireland – The Russian navy is to go ahead with live fire exercises off the coast of Ireland despite heightened tensions with the West over Ukraine, the Irish fishing industry said on Thursday, January 27th. Irish Fish Processors and Exporters Association (IFPEA) representatives held talks with Russian ambassador to Dublin Yury Filatov and a “fair deal” was reached for the drills and fishing to continue. Ireland is neutral and not a NATO member (The Moscow Times).

Qatar – President Biden is meeting with the Emir of the State of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, to discuss exporting gas to Europe amid rising fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine (US DOD, The Hill)

Italy – The defense ministry on Monday denied media reports that Russian ships were violating Italian waters by sailing through the Sicilian Channel.
It said the formation was sailing through international waters and NATO had been following the path of the naval group since it set out in mid-January from the ports of Severomorsk (North Fleet) and Baltijsk (Baltic Fleet).
NATO is continuing to monitor the flotilla, defence chiefs of staff said (ANSA).

Poland – Speaking in Kyiv, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki promised defensive weaponry including drones and anti-aircraft missiles but also humanitarian aid. Poland has said it is preparing for a potential big influx of Ukrainian refugees if Russia attacks (BBC).

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