Although news about the Ukraine war has disappeared from American news headlines, the war still rages on. According to USA Today, around 2,400 service men and women have died in the Ukrainian War. The Russian government still denies that they are supporting separatist troops in Ukraine despite evidence that shows the contrary.
As a result of Russia’s increased aggressiveness, several states, including Poland, have requested more support from NATO. NATO has responded by announcing that more troops will be deployed near the Russian border, particularly throughout Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Poland. According to NATO defense ministers, the increase in troops are meant to deter Russia from engaging in further conflict with its neighbors.
It will be interesting to see how Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, will respond to the increase in NATO troops. Will he use this to fuel anti-American propaganda? Will he simply send more troops to the Russian border? Or, will he do both? Probably both.
Sending more NATO troops to the Russian border may deter Russia, but it may also heighten tensions with Russia. It seems like President Putin has been trying to show the strength of Russia by intervening in Ukraine and annexing Crimea. Sending more troops to the Russian border would allow Vladimir Putin to once again demonstrate Russia’s strength by showing that Russia can stand up to the US.
Putin may also send more troops to the Russian border to gain political points. If the citizens in Russia believe the Russian propaganda about NATO and the US, then they are likely to be fearful of an increase in NATO troops at the Russian borders. Vladimir Putin could keep high approval ratings by capitalizing on this fear. For example, if he sends more troops to the Russian border then he could tell Russians that he is protecting them from the US.
Putin could also use the increase in NATO troops to spread propaganda about how the US is threatening and bullying the Russian people. Overall, the increase in NATO troops at the Russian border is an interesting strategy that should have interesting consequences.