Russia Is Irritated by the Deepening of the US Strategic Partnership with Ukraine - CSIS


Russia’s current buildup near its border with Ukraine is not related to military exercises, and is therefore a cause for concern in Washington and European capitals. This is stated in the article of the American Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) “Moscow’s Continuing Ukrainian Buildup”.

Moscow's actions near the border are motivated by at least two factors. First, Russian leaders are irritated by the deepening US-Western strategic partnership with Ukraine. Second, they likely assess that there is little political will in Europe or the United States to aid Ukraine in a war, especially in the context of other foreign and domestic crises.

Since 2014, Russia has been using the conflict in Ukraine to its advantage, dialing up or down the intensity of the war depending on political calculations. Additionally, Moscow has routinely massed military units near the Ukrainian border to maintain psychological tension in the region, exerting political pressure on Ukraine, and sending a message to the United States and the European Union to stop interfering in the region from “its” sphere of influence.

CSIS scholars believe that the United States and its European allies and partners must take Moscow's actions seriously, and that Washington's goal should be to deter Russian operations in Ukraine by punishment, not denial. The West must publicly and privately inform the Kremlin that an attack on Ukraine will trigger destructive sanctions and deepen Russia's political isolation. Besides, the West will support the insurgent movement against Russian troops. As Mohammad Yousaf, a Pakistani intelligence officer, said of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan: “Death by a thousand cuts—this is the time-honoured tactic of the guerrilla army against a large conventional force. In Afghanistan it was the only way to bring the Soviet bear to its knees”. Russia could see history repeat itself and suffer a similar fate if its conventional forces invaded Ukraine.