Ten-day Ukrainian military drills will conclude today.
The drills—focused on Ukraine’s coordination of NATO-supplied anti-tank and anti-aircraft systems—are in direct response to Russia and Belarus’ ten-day “Allied Resolve-2022” military exercises, which included joint ground exercises and the deployment of Russian fighter jets and air defense systems. The drills occur amidst a mounting Russian troop presence on Ukraine’s eastern border, currently numbered at 150,000.
In the event of a Russian invasion, US President Joe Biden stated in a White House speech on Tuesday that “the United States will defend every inch of NATO territory.” Although President Biden has affirmed that US troops will not deploy to Ukraine if Russia invades, expect the US and NATO to provide continuous arms support to Ukraine in the short- to medium-term, focusing primarily on supporting Ukraine’s anti-aircraft system in light of Russia’s air superiority. With the US having drawn a ‘red line’ with incursions into NATO territory, expect further reinforcement of US-NATO troops in the Baltic states, Poland and Romania as tensions rise around Ukraine.
Given the increase in Russia’s military mobilization, a Russian invasion of Ukraine is likely in the short-term if the US does not guarantee Ukraine’s non-accession to NATO.
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Alex is an Analyst focusing on political events in the post-Soviet space. With a background in international law and diplomacy, his expertise lies in the geopolitical, economic and energy security dynamics of the South Caucasus.