Europe, Power & Security, Russia U.S., Ukraine Scrutinize Russian Troop Buildup as Moscow Dismisses Invasion Fears

November 22, 2021
By Ostap Yarysh and Myroslava Gongadze | Voice of America

Perry World House Distinguished Visiting Fellow Alexander Vershbow is quoted in this article about Russian troops massing on the Ukrainian border, and what this means for the stability of Europe.

Russia’s troop buildup along the Ukrainian border is drawing alarm from U.S. officials who are warning of a potential new invasion. Ukrainian officials estimate 90,000 Russian troops are now positioned along the border and in Russian-controlled parts of eastern Ukraine. ...

Meanwhile, Alexander Vershbow, who served as a NATO deputy secretary-general and U.S. ambassador to Russia, argues that no one can be sure that Putin will act rationally when it comes to Ukraine.

“Putin may feel that he has to take greater risks to prevent Ukraine from succeeding in its efforts to join the West. And so because this is about Mr. Putin, his legacy, and his self-image as the gatherer of Russian lands, he may take action that doesn't seem entirely logical from our point of view,” Vershbow said in an interview with VOA.

Vershbow said that in addition to seizing new Ukrainian territories, the Kremlin could prepare other scenarios like annexing the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics in occupied eastern Ukraine.

“For example, Putin could declare the Ukrainians as having brought the Minsk negotiations to a dead end and announce that Russia has no choice but to protect the poor Russian citizens in the occupied territories,” says Vershbow.

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