The World Bank has chosen to relocate a number of its staff working out of Ukraine following growing concern for their safety given current tensions with neighboring Russia. According to EuroNews, since the pandemic started, the World Bank has provided nearly $1.3 billion in financing to Ukraine. Financing operations for Ukraine will continue as usual, but it is potentially dangerous for World Bank employees to be physically there.
The U.S. State Department is also having most of its staff exit the country, and the embassy in Kyiv is halting all consular services and will only handle some emergency services. The U.S. government has even urged its citizens to leave Ukraine immediately, citing threat of imminent Russian invasion.
Since the Ukrainian government’s recent expression of intent to join N.A.T.O., a move that would be disadvantageous to its next-door neighbor Russia, the Russian military has begun performing a series of military exercises in Belarus and along Ukraine’s border, seemingly to demonstrate its military capabilities and its preparedness to invade. Russia has now positioned more than 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s borders but denies any invasion plans, accusing the West of hysteria. While many U.S. diplomats and officials are deeply worried about a Russia invasion, Russia suggested last Monday that it was willing to keep talking to defuse the security crisis. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that “there is always a chance” to reach an agreement with the West over Ukraine.
Given President Joe Biden’s address last Tuesday, however, the current U.S. administration takes the position that there should be no compromise on the fundamental right of Ukraine or other states to be able to choose their alliances. Although German chancellor Olaf Scholz had already stated earlier that day that the N.A.T.O. alliance would not accept Ukraine, President Biden indicated in his speech that the U.S. would still back up Ukraine if Russia were to invade.
The eyes of the world would look negatively upon Russia if it chose to invade, so it is really not in its best interest to do so. A Russian invasion of Ukraine would set a precedent about a large power’s ability and entitlement to invade its smaller neighbors. It would additionally be both detrimental and unwise for Russia to get involved in warfare with the United States, as Russia only spent 78 billion on its military, while the U.S. spent a whopping 778 billion on its own.
It is crystal clear that the best decision for every party is deterrence and the absence of violence. The entire globe will be better off if Russia does not make the concerns over possible invasion a reality.
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