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Beyond the Battlefield: What Might Happen Next in the Ukraine Crisis

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 solders 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.

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Many of the U.S. troops who arrived in Poland this month have been working with Polish forces to set up processing centers to help people fleeing Ukraine.

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.”

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.

In Jasionka, Poland, an indoor arena has been outfitted with bunk beds and supplies for up to 500 people; U.S. officials say that capacity could be quickly expanded. In Austria, Chancellor Karl Nehammer said on Wednesday that he was prepared to accept refugees. The State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development are funding relief organizations that are currently providing food, water, shelter and emergency health care to people in the region who have fled to escape the violence.

In the days to come, the C.I.A. will assess what kind of assistance it can provide to Ukraine. If a Ukrainian resistance develops in parts of the country that Russia seeks to control, the agency could secretly supply partisan forces with intelligence and, potentially, armaments.

“We need to support the resistance to the invasion and the occupation in all ways possible,” said Mick Mulroy, a former C.I.A. paramilitary officer and senior Pentagon official in the Trump administration. “Our special operations and intelligence assets with an extensive knowledge base from 20 years of fighting insurgencies should be put to immediate use.”

‘Severe’ sanctions from the U.S and Europe.

The Treasury Department is likely to put one or more Russian state-owned banks on the agency’s list for the harshest sanctions.

President Biden on Thursday plans to announce “severe sanctions” against Russia to try to deter Moscow from carrying out further violence in Ukraine and to punish it for its actions, U.S. officials said.

The next set of economic sanctions is expected to be much harsher than what U.S. officials had described as a first tranche that was imposed on Monday and Tuesday. Mr. Biden is likely to order the Treasury Department to put one or more large Russian state-owned banks on the agency’s list for the harshest sanctions, known as the S.D.N. list. That would cut off the banks from commerce and exchanges with much of the world and affect many other Russian business operations.

Ukrainian forces put up a fierce fight to hold the capital.On both sides of the Korean Peninsula, eyes are on Washington’s response to Russia.Landmarks in New York and elsewhere use lights to show support for Ukraine.

The Biden administration said on Tuesday that it was imposing that kind of sanctions on two banks, VEB and PSB, but those are policy banks with no retail operations in Russia.

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