As Russia ordered troops into eastern Ukraine, President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced sanctions on two major Russian financial institution along with sanctions on Russian sovereign debt.

"All bets are off," said Raymond Taras, a political science professor at Tulane University when asked if he thought an invasion could still be averted.

Taras is an expert on on Russia-Ukraine relations. He and Chris Fettweis, a professor of political science and an expert in foreign policy are available for comment on the latest developments in the crisis.

In order to deescalate the situation, Taras said the U.S., NATO and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky must be willing to make a concession or two. For example, he said, "NATO has to be stopped in its expansion tracks.

"NATO is poaching states that have traditionally belonged to the former Russian empire. Putin is using salami tactics to chop up Ukrainian lands. The collision course began with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 but very few observers thought it would continue and increase in intensity in 2022."

He also said that French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholtz have offered reasonable deescalation measures that Russian President Vladimir Putin might be willing to accept.

Taras has been researching and writing about the relationship between Russia and Ukraine for decades. He has authored or edited over 20 books on the collapse of the USSR, Russia’s identity in international relations, the rise of liberal and illiberal nationalisms, the internationalization of ethnic conflicts, the dangers of xenophobia, the critique of multiculturalism, the impact of fear on European foreign policy, and the makings of nationhood. He is now editing a book titled Debating Russia’s Exceptionalism in International Relations with top scholars from Europe and Russia.

Fettweis teaches classes on U.S. foreign policy, international security, weapons of mass destruction, and strategy and politics. He is the author of several books, including Psychology of a Superpower: Security and Dominance in U.S. Foreign Policy, Columbia University Press, 2018, and Making Foreign Policy Decisions: A Presidential Briefing Book, Transactions Press, 2015.

Despite putting troops on alert, Fettweis does not believe the U.S. is interested in going to war.

“I think our options here are all economic,” he said. “The administration is trying to put together a range of economic punishments to impose on Russia if their tanks move into Ukraine.  Whether or not our allies stand with us will be dependent upon just how big Putin’s assault turns out to be.”