How Ukraine’s Possible NATO Accession Will Change Eastern Europe

In the midst of the ongoing war in Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has formally requested to have his country’s application for NATO membership fast-tracked, reports Politico. After months of consideration by Ukraine and its western allies, it seems that the war-torn country has finally decided where it wants to be in the future.

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Tensions Escalate Between Ukraine and Russia: The Latest Updates

In its most recent move to counter Russian military buildup near the Ukrainian borders, the United States has pledged to end support for Nord Stream 2, a German-controlled gas pipeline project connecting Russia and Germany, stressing U.S.-German unity if Russia invades Ukraine, Reuters reports. The declaration came during a joint U.S.-German press conference on Monday, February 7.  

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Growing Threat of Russian Invasion in Ukraine Raises Grave Concerns in Washington and Europe

This past week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to Europe to meet with partners and adversaries to discuss the growing threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. According to the Military Times, Russia has built up nearly 120,000 troops as well as conventional military equipment along its border with Ukraine and Belarus, signaling a potential invasion in the coming weeks.

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EU Braces for a Winter of Energy Instability

Across the European Union, natural gas prices are peaking at levels not seen in the past twenty years, causing growing concern by energy policy experts for the implications across Europe. With COVID-19 lockdowns drawing to a close across Scandinavia and Western Europe, the imminent surge in demand for natural gas as winter nears is placing many EU states in a precarious domestic and strategic position, reports The New York Times.

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Turkey-U.S. Relations Deteriorating as Turkey Seeks Russian Alliance

On September 24, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey will consider buying a second S-400 missile system from Russia, drawing international scrutiny. This announcement concerned United States defense officials, particularly following the events of 2020, in which Turkey was kicked out of NATO’s F-35 program for similar actions, reports ABC News.

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U.S. President Biden Officially Recognizes Armenian Genocide

President Joe Biden has foregone the precedent of his predecessors by becoming the first U.S. president to formally recognize the mass killings of over one million Armenians as genocide. The acknowledgement comes over a century after the Ottoman Turks perpetrated the mass killings, and in spite of possible complications for U.S.-Turkey relations.

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Russia Builds Up Troops Near Ukrainian Border

The Russia-Ukraine conflict continues to escalate, with a new buildup of Russian troops and military hardware on the shared border of the two countries. Strains began Russo-Ukrainian relations after President Vladimir Putin annexed and seized control of Crimea in 2014, increasing Russian military presence in the area. This, along with Putin’s support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, has caused a seven-year-long conflict between the Ukrainian army and Russian-backed separatists that has claimed at least 14,000 lives, according to CBS News. 

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The U.S. Announces Decision to Withdraw Troops from Afghanistan

United States President Joe Biden recently announced that he will withdraw  all American troops  from Afghanistan by September 11,  ending the United States’ 20-year war in Afghanistan, according to Al Jazeera. President Biden’s announcement means that the United States will not abide by the earlier May 1 deadline set and negotiated under the Trump administration.

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Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaci Resigns as he Faces War Crimes Charges

resident Hashim Thaci of Kosovo stepped down on November 5 in response to charges of murder, torture, and persecution related to his involvement in Kosovo’s war for independence in 1998. NPR reports that Thaci stepped down in order “to protect the integrity of the state” of Kosovo. He also reportedly urged Kosovars to maintain “political and civic unity.” Thaci is scheduled to appear in court on November 9. He was flown to The Hague, along with Kadrim Veseli, leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo, and Rexhep Selimi, a Kosovo Member of Parliament, reports the BBC.

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