ASSESSMENTS

How the Ukraine War Could Trigger a Broader Russia-NATO Confrontation

MIN READMar 4, 2022 | 20:16 GMT

U.S. soldiers are seen in southeastern Poland, near the border with Ukraine, on March 3, 2022.

U.S. soldiers are seen in southeastern Poland, near the border with Ukraine, on March 3, 2022.

(WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Russia’s military goals in the current conflict appear limited to Ukraine, but the possibility for battlefield miscalculation or a deliberate escalation in tit-for-tat moves with NATO and EU states presents an unlikely but underlying risk of triggering a wider conflict. Russia seems primarily focused on curtailing Ukraine’s military capacity, enlarging the buffer territory around separatist republics in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region, and forcing Ukraine to give up hopes of joining NATO and the European Union through regime change and/or significant and lasting Russian influence. These goals, while expansive, are contained to Ukraine for now. However, the longer the war drags on and the more Western states provide military support, the greater the risk of an accident or calculated move widening the conflict to other nearby states, particularly as Moscow seeks to portray the West as the aggressor....

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