Ukraine-Russia crisis: Is war coming to eastern Europe?

In the News podcast: Report from Ukraine as fears mount that Russian attack is imminent

Weapons, including Javelin anti-tank missiles, and other military hardware are delivered to Ukraine by the United States military. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty

Weapons, including Javelin anti-tank missiles, and other military hardware are delivered to Ukraine by the United States military. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty

 

Over recent days, Nato has started ramping up its defences in member states across eastern Europe amid mounting fears that a Russian attack on Ukraine is now imminent. Meanwhile, the Kremlin has warned this move will only fuel tensions and increase the risk of dangerous miscalculation.

Moscow claims it is not planning to attack Ukraine despite amassing more than 100,000 troops on the border with its pro-western neighbour. However, the Kremlin has also said it may take unspecified military steps if the West rejects its sweeping security demands.

But how serious is Vladimir Putin when it comes to a military invasion into Ukraine? Is this an attempt to burnish his legacy and reassert Russian power of Ukraine as “one people, a single whole”? Or, could the Russian president be simply bluffing?

And if Russian forces do attack, how far will the violence spread?

Daniel McLaughlin, who reports for The Irish Times from central and eastern Europe, told In the News presenter Sorcha Pollak that he believes it is unlikely any conflict which does erupt on the border between Ukraine and Russia will spread to other parts of Europe “because Russia does not want to start a war with Nato”.

However, conflict could certainly erupt very soon in the self-proclaimed, separatist-controlled republics of eastern Ukraine, said McLaughlin. “It could be a long, drawn-out campaign against Ukraine,” he said.

But despite international reports that Russia is poised and ready to attack, Ukrainians are very calm, he added. “They say they’re ready for whatever comes and they are definitely ready to resist him in any way they can.”

Today we ask, is war coming to Ukraine?

In the News is presented by reporters Sorcha Pollak and Conor Pope.

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