Joe Biden’s video conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin has not led to any change in the Russian military buildup along its border with Ukraine, according to Oleksiy Danilov of that country’s Security and Defense Council.
Danilov told reporters that there are now 92,000 Russian troops near the Ukrainian border, although there are no imminent signs of an invasion. He said there had been no signs of change in the actions of the Russian military since the meeting on December 7 between Biden and Putin. Biden reportedly threatened the Russian leader with severe economic sanctions in response to an invasion of Ukraine.
Danilov said he believes that Russia would need a minimum of 500,000 or 600,000 troops at the border with his country if they intended to keep control of the area in the event of an actual invasion. He said that Russia could likely deploy many more troops quickly but would need to have them present at the border for more than 24 hours to begin an invasion.
Russia describes its activity at the Ukraine border as simply being “military exercises.” The world is anxiously watching the situation as reports show Russian personnel and equipment in active training in Crimea.
A released U.S. intelligence report from earlier this month indicates that an invasion across multiple fronts could begin as early as next year and be mounted with 175,000 troops.
Russia annexed the Crimea peninsular region from Ukraine in 2014 but now accused Ukraine and the U.S. of destabilizing the region. Putin has demanded a guarantee that Ukraine will not be admitted to NATO as an entire member nation. He has also demanded that NATO nations stop all military activity near Russia’s borders.
Meanwhile, Ukraine is suffering from internal strife as pro-Russian groups in the eastern part of the country are supported by Moscow in defiance of the nation’s pro-western government and would likely join NATO if given the opportunity.
Biden and Putin reportedly agreed to additional talks after their video conference to discuss the Ukrainian situation and other issues, although no further discussions have been scheduled.