What is happening on the Russian-Ukrainian border and will it lead to war?

Tensions have been high between Ukraine and Russia since 2014 (Image: AFP/Reuters/AP)

Tensions are growing on the Russia-Ukraine border, with warnings that war could break out between the neighbours.

Our President Joe Biden phoned Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Tuesday night in a desperate attempt to de-escalate tensions but it was unclear what would happen next.

Mr. Biden warned Mr. Putin that if Russia invaded Ukraine there would be US sanctions – but after two hours, the pair are said to have made little progress.

How did it get to this point and will war really happen? Here’s all you need to know.

What’s happening?

Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union until its collapse in 1991 and has many social and cultural ties to Russia.

But they have sought to build links with EU neighbors and join NATO, which Russia strongly opposes.

When Ukraine removed its pro-Russian president in 2014, Russia occupied and later annexed the Crimean peninsula to the south.

Armed rebels then captured large areas of eastern Ukraine’s industrial zone, known as the Donbas.

U.S. and Ukrainian intelligence officials say tens of thousands of Russian troops have gathered near the Ukrainian border (Image: Metro/AFP/Getty)

Ukraine and the West say the separatists are backed by Russia, but Moscow denies this and insists that the Russians who fought alongside the rebels went there on their own.

The Donbas conflict is still going on to this day. In recent weeks, Ukraine has said that tens of thousands of Russian troops have been concentrated within close proximity to its border, and it is this Russian buildup that is causing concern.

The West and Ukraine are concerned that Russia is planning an invasion but Moscow claims they are only moving troops within its territory.

Ukrainian soldiers sit in a fighting position on the border separating them from pro-Russian rebels near Debaltsevo, Donetsk region (Photo: AP)

Why is the US involved?

The US supported Ukraine in 2014, when Joe Biden was vice president, and Mr Biden continued to support Ukraine, pledging his “unwavering support” to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

The assistants speak episode Crimea one of the darker moments for that timePresident Barack Obama on the international stage Mr. Biden said that the current crisis is still very large.

US intelligence has supported Ukraine’s claim of a concentration of Russian troops near the border.

Officials determined that Russia had moved 70,000 troops and was preparing for a possible invasion as early as next year.

Relations between the West and Russia are at a level not seen since the Cold War.

US President Joe Biden held a two-hour video call with President Putin on Tuesday (Image: White House/AFP)

During their meeting on Tuesday, the US President is said to have told his Russian counterpart that if Russia invaded Ukraine, the country would face painful sanctions.

Mr Biden “has told President Putin directly that if Russia continues to invade Ukraine, the US and our European allies will respond with strong economic measures”, US national security adviser Jake said. Sullivan said.

He added that Mr Biden said the US would also ‘provide additional defensive material to the Ukrainians … and we would strengthen our NATO allies on the eastern flank with additional capabilities to deal with such an escalation.’

However, Putin’s foreign affairs adviser Yuri Ushakov dismissed the threat of sanctions in his private comments to reporters after the leaders’ meeting.

He said: ‘While the US President talked about possible sanctions, our president emphasized what Russia needs.

A fighter of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic is stationed on the front lines near the Ukrainian armed forces on the outskirts of Kirovsk in the Luhansk Region (Photo: Reuters)

‘Sanctions are not something new, they’ve been around for a long time and won’t have any effect.’

Will there be a war?

War is certainly something that many Ukrainians and Westerners fear.

Some interpret Russia’s military buildup as when Putin sent a message to NATO to stop supporting Ukraine.

CIA Director William Burns warned of a possible invasion and said President Putin “is putting the Russian military, Russian security services in a place where they can act in a far-reaching way.” .

Ukrainian soldiers are currently stationed in the Donetsk region (Image: AP)

Mr. Putin said that the deployment of troops within the borders of his country should not concern anyone else.

He is said to have told Mr Biden “the Russian military is on their own territory and they don’t threaten anyone”.

Russia wants legally binding security guarantees from the West that NATO will not admit Ukraine as a member or deploy missile systems there aimed at Russia.

Ukraine says Russia has no say in its ambitions to join the NATO alliance and dismisses suggestions of security guarantees as illegitimate.

What if there is war – will the UK get involved?

Currently, there has been no decision by the US or the EU on what will happen if Russia invades Ukraine.

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Sanctions have been mentioned and can be applied against the Russian government and economy.

Mr Biden said he was ‘not concerned’ with US troops being harmed, while the UK government said it was looking at ‘defensive assistance’ to Ukraine.

Secretary of State Vicky Ford has said: ‘Any Russian military attack on Ukraine would be a strategic mistake.

‘The Russian government should expect significant strategic consequences. The cost of an intrusion will be very high. ‘

She added: ‘Let’s be very clear, we are on Ukraine’s side and we are looking at extending purely defensive support to Ukraine to help Ukraine defend itself.’

If war breaks out on the Ukrainian border, relations between Russia and the West will further deteriorate AP (Image: AP)

There have also been calls to abandon the Nord Stream 2 project, a gas pipeline between Russia and Germany, bypassing an existing pipeline that runs through Ukraine and Belarus.

Critics say the project could be used by Russia as a political weapon, as it would further Europe’s reliance on Russian natural gas.

If there is a war, what will be the consequences for other countries?

If war breaks out, relations between Russia and the West will deteriorate further.

Energy prices could also rise as Russia now supplies significant gas volumes to other countries.

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Huynh Nguyen

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