Map of Eastern Europe: Where is Russia, the Diomede islands, and Ukraine?
As tensions remain high between Ukraine and Russia, many have questions about the geography of the region and where Putin has his troops located
Conflicting narratives from Washington DC and Moscow leave the question over a Russian invasion of Ukraine open. As global attention has been called to the region over the past few weeks and many have questions on the geography of the area.
Ukraine formed part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR), declaring its independence in 1991 after the fall of the USSR. Russian President Vladimir Putin has long argued that seeing Ukraine become a NATO member would be a red line they wish to see respected.
However, in recent years as Ukraine has shown a greater interest in joining NATO, especially after the 2014 invasion of Crimea by Russia. The Crimean Peninsula, seen shaded in red below, taken over by Russia.
What countries does Ukraine border?
Ukraine borders Belarus (North), Hungary (West), Moldova (South West), Poland (North West), Russia (East) Romania, South and Slovakia (West). Of these countries Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia are all members of NATO.
New reports shared by various countries have shown an increase in the number of Russian troops moved into the area topped 150,000. Russia has sent troops into Belarus which lies north of Ukraine, and from which some military experts believe Russia could begin the invasion.
Where are the Diomede islands?
The Diomede Islands are not found in the region, rather, they sit in the middle of the Bering Strait. There are only two islands, one of which is owned by Russia and the other the United States. Only a short channel separates the two countries, which typically are a world apart.
What did President Biden say in his speech about the conflict?
In a short statement, President Biden addressed the nation on Tuesday 15 February repeating the message the the US stands ready with its allies in the case of a Russian attack. On Tuesday, President Putin denied such intentions but the message from the White House seemed to assume that the possibility was still very much on the table.
President Biden also warned the country that there could be impacts on US consumers if Russia decides to invade Ukraine and the supply of Russian oil is impacted.
"I will not pretend this will be painless," said Biden. During the speech he took a moment to warn consumers that US energy prices could be impacted but that his administration was "taking active steps to alleviate the pressure on our own energy markets and offset rising prices."
"We’re prepared to deploy all the tools and authority at our disposal to provide relief at the gas pump," said the President, raising rumors over what these measure may consist of. Members of the press asked Jen Psaki on 15 February if the administration was considering a tax holiday for gas, to which she responded that she had "nothing to predict" but that "all options remain on the table."