Europe faces a new refugee crisis, and harsh economic penalties to punish Russia are expected to reverberate worldwide.
WASHINGTON — Much of the world woke up on Thursday to the specter of an all-out war in Europe after President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia ordered his troops to invade Ukraine. That left millions of people — in Ukraine and Eastern Europe, but also in the United States and elsewhere — wondering how the conflict would affect their lives.
At least 40 Ukrainian soldiers were reported killed in the hours after the invasion, with estimates of tens of thousands of deaths over the course of the conflict. But beyond the anticipated bloodshed, economic penalties to punish Russia will reverberate worldwide.
Rising energy costs and potentially slowing supply chains will take their toll on consumers. Russian cyberattacks could cripple electronic infrastructure. A new refugee crisis will require international assistance. And an era of relative calm in the West that has pervaded since the end of the Cold War might be coming to a close.
Here is what might happen next on the military, economic and diplomatic fronts.
More military forces head to NATO’s eastern borders.
NATO announced on Thursday that it was sending reinforcements to its eastern flank, joining some 6,500 U.S. troops the Pentagon has already dispatched to Eastern Europe and the Baltics.
“We are deploying additional defensive land and air forces to the eastern part of the alliance, as well as additional maritime assets,” NATO said in a statement. “We have increased the readiness of our forces to respond to all contingencies.”
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The Pentagon is also repositioning about 1,000 troops in Europe. About 800 U.S. troops are moving to the Baltics from Italy; 20 Apache helicopters are heading to the Baltics from Germany, and 12 Apaches are going to Poland from Greece. Eight F-35 strike fighters are heading to Lithuania, Estonia and Romania from Germany, the Pentagon said.
In addition, U.S. Army troops, including those from the 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions, are preparing to move closer to Poland’s border with Ukraine to help process people fleeing the country, an Army spokesman said on Thursday.
Many of the 5,500 troops from the 18th Airborne Corps who arrived in Poland this month have been working with the State Department and Polish forces to set up three processing centers near the border to help deal with tens of thousands of people, including Americans, who are expected to flee Ukraine.