For the second time this year, Western intelligence agencies have detected threatening Russian military moves along the country’s border with Ukraine. According to the Ukrainian government, Moscow has amassed more than 115,000 troops, many in close proximity to the Donbas region, which is partly controlled by Russian-led forces and has been the center of an unresolved conflict for nearly eight years. Officials in the U.S. and Europe worry that Russia’s actions may be a prelude to invasion.
The troop movements aren’t the only source of tension with Russia that has been keeping Western leaders awake at night. Earlier this fall, the Kremlin slow-rolled additional natural gas deliveries to Europe when prices spiked there, and just this week, Moscow tested an antisatellite weapon in outer space. Then there is the migrant crisis in Belarus, where the president, Alexander Lukashenko, tried to funnel Middle Easterners and others to his border with Poland as a payback for EU sanctions. Mr. Lukashenko almost certainly came up with this scheme on his own, but Vladimir Putin hasn’t hesitated to capitalize on it for further leverage.
For Putin, the Great Prize Has Always Been Ukraine – The Wall Street Journal