USA Today, February 2022
President Vladimir Putin ignored months of intensifying warnings by President Joe Biden and other western leaders that Moscow would face “swift and severe costs” if Russia invaded Ukraine. Now, as the Kremlin reaches into Ukraine, Putin’s policy seems likely to come with significant costs, chiefly for Ukraine itself. “He’s setting up a rationale to take more territory by force, in my view,” Biden said Tuesday of Putin. “This is the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.”
While predicting the impacts of conflict is notoriously difficult, here are some probable consequences–for U.S. and European security, for global energy flows, for a potential wave of Ukrainian refugees and in terms of sanctions expected to target Putin and his inner circle that could turn Russia into a pariah state in the eyes of the West.
Ukrainians inside and outside the military have told USA TODAY in recent weeks that Putin won’t take their country without a fight, even if it means prolonged street-to-street battles and a bloody insurgency supported by ordinary citizens. For weeks, the U.S. and other NATO countries have been sending weapons, advisers and troops to Baltic states, Poland, Romania and other nations close to the hostilities. But they’ve sworn off direct fighting in Ukraine.