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How far will Biden go to defend Ukraine against Russia?

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How far will Biden go to defend Ukraine against Russia?

Russia has not explicitly threatened to invade Ukraine, but has complained of alleged provocation from the Ukrainian side of their shared border. Mr. Putin has supported a pro-Russian separatist insurgency in the former Soviet republic since 2014, when a popular revolution overthrew Ukraine’s Putin-backed president. Soon after, Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine.

In a sign of rising tension, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark A. Mille, spoke on the phone with his Russian counterpart, General Valery Gerasimov, on Tuesday. The Pentagon said in a statement that the call was “to ensure risk reduction and operational de-conflict”.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that the United States is providing information and data to Kiev about Russian military build-up. Western officials have confirmed that NATO allies are sharing intelligence with Ukraine, hoping that a better understanding of the growing threat will help Kiev better prepare and better deter Moscow.

Even in a worst-case scenario, most analysts say Kiev should not expect the US military to come to the rescue.

“The Russians know very well, because they have been attacking Ukraine for seven years, that we are not going to send in the 82nd Airborne,” said Samuel Charp, a former State Department official now with the RAND Corporation. “And I think they’re likely to have a price for everything less than that, in the sense that they’re willing to pay.”

“That’s what makes it difficult,” he said. “There’s no easy way out of this.”

US officials said they do not believe Mr Putin has decided to take military action against Ukraine yet. While the threat is being taken seriously, officials said, the United States and its allies have time to prepare Kiev and try to convince Moscow that such a move would be a terrible mistake.

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Whatever Mr. Putin’s thinking, the creation of his military is likely to test the willingness of the United States, NATO and Europe to act.

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