The ratcheting up of tensions between Ukraine’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies and Russia ahead of the first anniversary of Moscow’s “special military operation” in Ukraine has deepened geopolitical rivalries with no visibility of an end to this invasion. In January, NATO responded, after some internal differences, to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s move to mobilise for a spring offensive by sending to Ukraine advanced tanks, US-made Abrams and German-manufactured Leopard 2, armoured fighting vehicles, and long-range missiles. This is in addition to a range of materiel with which the US and Europe have been equipping Ukraine ever since the Russian annexation of the Crimea.
But the week before February 24 added several unknowns. US President Joe Biden’s conspicuous “secret” visit to Kyiv provoked an angry response from
Mr Putin. In his State of the Nation address the next day, he r
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