Is Putin Planning a New Push into Ukraine?

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This Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy podcast reviews the unfolding military escalation on the Russian-Ukrainian border, as Russian forces strengthen their posture and pose a potential stress test of the Biden administration, U.S. European allies, and the NATO alliance. To discuss this potential crisis in Ukraine and Eastern Europe, Newlines Institute Senior Analyst and head of the Authoritarianism Program Nicholas Heras is joined by three top analysts on Russian foreign policy and Eastern European geopolitics: Caroline Rose, Eugene Chausovsky, and Jeff Hawn. Caroline Rose is a senior analyst at the Newlines Institute for Policy and Strategy and is a foreign policy specialist on the Middle East and Europe. She is the head of Newlines’ Strategic Vacuums Program. Eugene Chausovsky is a non-resident Fellow with the Newlines Institute, focusing on the political, economic, and security issues pertaining to Russia, Eurasia, and the Middle East. Jeff Hawn is an independent geopolitical risk consultant based in London. He has published extensively on U.S.-Russian relations and the evolution of Russian domestic and foreign policy. In this discussion, they cover the local, regional, and geopolitical dynamics of this crisis in Eastern Europe, and to forecast the potential consequences of a new Russian campaign in Ukraine. Since the Russian intervention in Crimea in the Black Sea region and the emergence of the Donbass conflict in 2014, Russia and Ukraine have locked horns over Russian-backed separatist forces that have seized large areas of Ukraine’s eastern and Russia-bordering Donbass region. Despite efforts to achieve mediation and a permanent cease-fire, the conflict has continued to simmer, with repeated clashes between Ukrainian soldiers and Russia-backed separatist forces in the border region, without spilling into open fighting between the two countries. Recent Russian moves to deploy an estimated 4,000 personnel and a series of combat brigades, artillery, armor, and logistical units-from different parts of Russia to within close proximity of the Russian border with the Donbass has raised alarm bells in Kyiv, Brussels, and Washington. There is now concern that Russia may launch an offensive into Ukraine and increase aggressive behavior towards former Soviet satellite states in an attempt to carve out greater influence in its Eastern European periphery. While Ukraine is not a NATO member and the U.S. advisory presence in Ukraine is small, a renewed Russian-backed military campaign in the Donbass region would impact the more than 72,000 U.S. military personnel who are deployed in Europe and threaten NATO’s interest in protecting European territorial integrity.

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