If Russian troops invade Ukraine, what will happen?
Russian army moves near Ukraine have sparked fears in Kyiv and Washington that Russia is considering an attack on its neighbour.
Representatives from Russia, Ukraine, France, and Germany gathered in Paris with the purpose of de-escalating the Ukraine crisis. Russia has stockpiled more than 100,000 troops around the Ukrainian border, heightening tensions in a confrontation that has stretched on since 2014.
Here are some of the issues that the situation raises.
What are the two sides saying about the possibility of conflict?
Russia denies threatening anyone and asserts that it is free to deploy its troops on its own territory as it sees fit.
It has accused Ukraine and NATO of inflaming tensions and suggested that Kyiv is preparing to retake two eastern regions controlled by pro-Russian separatists since 2014.
Ukraine denies any such offensive is in the works and claims Russia has more than 92,000 troops massed near its borders in preparation for an attack.
What are the chances of a Russian invasion?
Analysts claim that President Vladimir Putin is using the credible threat of military force to demonstrate that Russia is serious about defending its “red lines” with Ukraine.
It has stated repeatedly in recent weeks that it is unwilling to accept the supply of NATO weapons to Ukraine or any NATO military presence there, let alone the prospect of Ukrainian membership in the alliance.
According to these sources, Putin is skilled at escalating and de-escalating crises, as he demonstrated in the spring when more than 100,000 Russian troops gathered near Ukraine’s border and then withdrew. By doing so, he keeps Russia’s adversaries guessing about his intentions while reminding the West that Russia is a force to be reckoned with.
According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Russia’s armed forces have 900,000 active personnel compared to 209,000 for Ukraine, a more than four-to-one advantage (IISS).
How well is Ukraine prepared to defend itself?
Ukraine is far more militarily powerful than it was in 2014, when it surrendered Crimea to Russia without a fight. It has advanced anti-tank missiles supplied by Washington and may be able to rely on US intelligence assistance. However, it would still be up against a formidable foe — the Russian advantage in battle tanks, for example, is more than three to one.
“The issue for Ukraine would be… to resist as much as they can, pray for Western assistance, and eventually fight back,” said Mathieu Boulegue, a research fellow at London’s Chatham House think tank. “If Russia invades fully, the question for Kyiv will be whether to engage in counter-insurgency warfare to make Russia’s cost of invasion enormous.”
How a Russian-Ukraine conflict could affect each other?
If an invasion is perceived to be successful and relatively cheap for Russia, it may normalise interstate conflict, resulting in a return to the might-makes-right geopolitics of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The desire to redraw maps, seize territory, and reintegrate ethnic brethren “stranded” beyond borders is widespread around the world.
As a result, if Russia invades Ukraine, the cost to the Kremlin must be so high that it discourages others from considering a similar course of action. Invading Ukraine must be viewed as a costly and tragic mistake both within and outside of Russia.
The Russia-Ukraine crisis could cause a spike in European gas prices that exceeds last year’s highs.
Russia supplies 35% of Europe’s gas, according to energy expert Dan Yergin, who spoke to CNBC on Monday. If the crisis worsens, gas prices in Europe, which reached all-time highs last year, could rise even further.
William Jackson, Capital Economics’ chief emerging markets economist, noted that, in addition to Europe’s reliance on Russia for gas, stock supplies are currently low. “If sanctions were imposed on Russia’s energy exports, or if Russia used gas exports as a tool for leverage, European natural gas prices would almost certainly skyrocket,”he said.
These are my thoughts and what I discovered through research; my intention is not to offend anyone’s feelings.