A year after Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, he is still testing the limits of America’s resolve.
After the Soviet Union collapsed, many Americans and Europeans assumed that, once free of its shackles, Russia would aspire to join the West. But that proved to be far from the case. Instead, centuries of Russian and Soviet history gave rise to a fundamentally different view of the world and of what constitutes Russia’s national interests and prerogatives.
The result is a dangerous, unsustainable dynamic that has serious consequences. It risks eroding US credibility with key allies, fueling the perception that the United States lacks a coherent strategy or clear priorities, and potentially emboldening rivals like China to challenge American global leadership.
To prevent that, Washington has stepped up pressure on Moscow through sanctions and military support for Ukraine. It has warned that it could take additional steps if Russia persists in violating Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It has also shifted its strategic posture by deploying NATO battlegroups to the Baltic states and Poland.
The Pentagon’s release of video of a Russian warplane colliding with an American drone over the Black Sea further complicates matters. Although it isn’t conclusive, the footage appears to puncture Moscow’s narrative that its jet merely clipped the propeller of the drone. The incident could escalate tensions, threatening to draw the United States into direct clashes with Russia. It would further jeopardize the stability of Ukraine, which is vital to regional security and the safety of NATO allies on Russia’s borders.