After Russia fired on two Ukrainian naval ships, seizing the vessels and crew members, tensions on Russia’s doorstep appear to have reached a fever pitch.
The incident took place in the Kerch Strait — a key waterway to both countries that bridges the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea.
And while Ukraine is not a NATO ally, members of the Western alliance have issued formal condemnation of Russia’s actions, which appeared to be unprovoked.
“There is no justification for Russia’s use of military force against Ukrainian ships and naval personnel. We call on Russia to release the Ukrainian sailors and ships it seized, without delay,” a NATO statement issued Tuesday afternoon reads.
A U.S.-Russia conflict remains unlikely, but there are U.S. troops currently in Eastern Europe and the Black Sea region that could respond.
In Ukraine specifically, the Tennessee National Guard’s 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment has troops on the ground helping that country run its Yavoriv Combat Training Center.