Why has Putin “turned up the heat” at the Russia-Ukraine border?
Gwen: MORE THAN 100-THOUSAND RUSSIAN TROOPS HAVE AMASSED ALONG THE UKRAINE BORDER…PROMPTING FEARS OF AN IMMINENT INVASION. IN RESPONSE, AMERICA AND ITS NATO ALLIES HAVE PROMISED A SWIFT AND SEVERE RESPONSE IF RUSSIA ACTS.
SO WHY DOES RUSSIAN WANT TO INVADE UKRAINE? AND WHY ARE THEY WILLING TO RISK THE WRATH OF THE WORLD OVER IT?
I SPOKE WITH DR. JOHN DENI A PROFESSOR OF NATIONAL SECURITY STUDIES AT THE US ARMY WAR COLLEGE.
HE SAYS RUSSIA’S ACTIONS COME DOWN TO 3 THINGS- EXPANDING TERRITORY, KEEPING WESTERN INFLUENCE AT BAY, AND A PUBLIC DISPLAY OF DOMINANCE. TAKE A LISTEN.
Deni: “Gwen, for a long time, centuries, even Russia has equated security with territory. And so when it looks to its border regions, which tend to be large- it’s a very large country- it sees countries that it prefers to have some degree of dominance over or influence in.
In the case of Ukraine, Ukraine looks to be moving more and more to toward the west, that is closer affiliation with the European Union, and perhaps even NATO. That represents something of a security risk to Russia- or at least Russian leaders pitch it that way- to the Russian people.
And so, as Ukraine was moving more in this westerly direction, Putin has now turned up the heat and has threatened to invade. Invade the country again, as he did in 2014. This time, though, the outlook is far more dire than it was just seven years ago, seven or eight years ago. At that time, Russia annexed illegally Crimea, and it has since then, fomented a rebellion in the eastern part of Ukraine.
The fact that Ukraine’s government doesn’t lean toward Moscow, but instead toward the west is utilized instrumentally by Putin, whose own domestic popularity weightings in Russia are in decline.”