The Kremlin denies it is planning to attack and argues that NATO support for Ukraine — including increased weapons supplies and military training — constitutes a growing threat on Russia’s western flank.
The picture is complicated — but here’s a breakdown of what we know.
The United States and NATO have described the movements and concentrations of troops in and around Ukraine as “unusual.”
In late 2021, satellite photos revealed Russian hardware — including self-propelled guns, battle tanks and infantry fighting vehicles — on the move at a training ground roughly 186 miles (300 km) from the border.
The assessment came after three rounds of diplomatic talks between Russia and the West aimed at de-escalating the crisis failed to produce a resolution.
US officials have said a Russian invasion of Ukraine could happen at any point in the next month or two.
Many of Russia’s military bases are to the west of the vast country — the direction from which history suggests any threats are most likely to come. Russia’s Defense Ministry has said it is conducting “regular” winter military drills in its southern region, parts of which border Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions bordering Russia, an area known as Donbas, have been under the control of Russian-backed separatists since 2014. Russian forces are also present in the area, referred to by Ukraine as “temporarily occupied territories,” although Russia denies it.
The front lines of the conflict have barely moved in five years, but there are frequent small-scale clashes and sniper attacks. Russia was angered when Ukrainian forces deployed a Turkish-made combat drone for the first time in October to strike a position held by the pro-Russian separatists.
Russia also has forces numbering in the tens of thousands at its massive naval base in Crimea, the Ukrainian territory it annexed in 2014. The Crimean peninsula, which lies to the south of the rest of Ukraine, is now connected by a road bridge to mainland Russia.
What’s the history of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia?
Shortly afterwards, pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions declared their independence from Kyiv, prompting months of heavy fighting. Despite Kyiv and Moscow signing a peace deal in Minsk in 2015, brokered by France and Germany, there have been repeated ceasefire violations.
The Kremlin accuses Ukraine of stirring up tensions in the country’s east and of violating the Minsk ceasefire agreement.
What’s Russia’s view?
The Kremlin has repeatedly denied that Russia plans on invading Ukraine, insisting Russia does not pose a threat to anyone and that the country moving troops across its own territory should not be cause for alarm.
Moscow sees the growing support for Ukraine from NATO — in terms of weaponry, training and personnel — as a threat to its own security. It has also accused Ukraine of…