US and Russian officials are scheduled to meet today in Geneva regarding the increase in security tensions over Ukraine.
Today’s meeting follows US President Joe Biden’s December 30 phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin where both leaders exchanged warnings over Ukraine. With nearly 100,000 Russian troops flanking Ukraine’s northern and eastern borders, Biden warned that multi-faceted sanctions would follow a Russian invasion. Putin continued to press for a halt in NATO expansion, warning of a total breakdown in bilateral relations if tensions rise.
Expect Russian pressure on Ukraine to remain high until it receives security guarantees from the US on halting NATO expansion. The US may promise not to supply offensive weapons to Ukraine. However, given the current anti-Russia sentiment in the US government, Biden is unlikely to reduce military defense aid to Ukraine, nor will he guarantee Ukraine’s non-accession to NATO. As such, Russia will perceive the growing Western influence in the region as a security threat, making a pre-emptive invasion of Ukraine more likely in the short- to medium-term.
In the event that Russia does invade Ukraine, expect the US to impose unprecedented economic sanctions on Russia’s global financial networks and on Western semiconductors that Russia uses for its military’s modernization.
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.