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Why Russia Is Threatening To Invade Ukraine

As Russian troops line up on the Ukrainian border, Putin is warning the UK against any eastward NATO expansion that the Kremlin would view as encroaching on its “territory” in Ukraine. An estimated 175,000 Russian troops have been mobilized along the border, and the standoff is intensifying by the day. 

For Putin, this move is about winning concessions from NATO. The art of maintaining the pressure on the unresolved conflict is key to winning concessions. The point is not necessary to invade Ukraine again and annex more territory; however, if concessions are not achieved, it would be relatively easy for Russia to do so. 

Russia’s most likely point of incursion would be the strategic port city of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov. This port city is controlled by Ukraine’s wealthiest oligarch, steel magnate Rinat Akhmetov, who has become the recent focus of accusations of plotting a coup with the Russians. Akhmetov has sided, in his empire’s history, with anyone who will benefit his business. That could mean pro-Russian, pro-Ukrainian or pro-Western forces. This is not an ideological move. At this point, however, Akhmetov’s steel plants and shipping needs in and out of Mariupol are being hindered by Russian control over who gets through and who doesn’t–a lot of red tape and arbitrary seizures and inspections. The Russians have the upper hand, and whoever has the upper hand is best for business. For that reason,…

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