What tensions between Russia, Ukraine could mean for local military installations, servicemembers

Posted at 4:50 AM, Feb 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-16 18:10:39-05

Russia has made two overtures to ease tensions around Ukraine.

It reported a pullback of troops near its neighbor and welcomed talks with the West, but the United States and its allies say they need evidence of the troop movements and that the threat of a Russian invasion still looms.

A spokesperson from NATO's North American headquarters told News 3 Wednesday that they are actively monitoring the situation in Europe.

For the second day Wednesday, there were signs of hope that Europe might avoid war following weeks of escalating East-West tensions.

Regina Karp is an international studies professor at Old Dominion University. She said there is a lot at play right now.

“From a Russian perspective, over the last decade or more NATO has come closer and closer to the Russian borders, and Russia doesn’t like that,” Karp said.

President Vladimir Putin says that Russia does not want war and will rely on negotiations in efforts to eliminate any chance that Ukraine could one day join NATO. At the same time, he did not commit to a full pullback.

President Joe Biden said American officials had not verified Russia’s claim about its troops.

Thousands of sailors with the Norfolk-based USS Harry S. Truman carrier strike group are overseas right now. The strike group left Hampton Roads for a scheduled deployment in December, and wrapped up a NATO-led exercise in the Mediterranean Sea earlier this month. While the strike group is still in the region, it's conceivable that our sailors could be tasked with responding if the situation escalates.

“if the situation were to change, American forces stationed here might become involved,” Karp said.

She said whenever there is a potential for a major international conflict, markets all over the world are going to react.

“Stock markets are going to react, supply chains are going to react, so it’s not just here locally it’s everywhere that the impact will be felt,” Karp said.

News 3 also talked to Senator Tim Kaine today. He reiterated that deployments to Europe right now are to reassure NATO allies, but since Ukraine is not a NATO member, there is not a defense obligation by the United States to protect that country.