Relations between the two nations deteriorated when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine following the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution. The Russian leaders claimed that modern, pro-Western Ukraine threatened Russia’s ability to feel “safe, develop and exist,” which they used to justify initiating the worst European conflict since World War Two.
Since then, villages and cities like Mariupol have been in ruins, 13 million people have been displaced, and thousands of people have died. However, the questions of why everything is happening and how it will all turn out remain.
- In recent years, many Ukrainian governments have moved toward closer links with the EU and NATO, then slowly retreated toward Russia.
- Russia intends to decide Ukraine’s future course through military force.
Russia Believed Ukraine Was Deeply Divided
Independent polling and demographics before the invasion managed to show that Ukrainian society was deeply divided.
- Greek Orthodox Russian speakers familiar with Russian culture made up around a quarter of the population.
- Ukrainian speakers who were Catholic and more Western-oriented made up two-thirds of the population.
The population was in sharp decline, having decreased by 16% since its high in 1991 (the remaining 9% were various small minorities). Ukraine was the second-poorest country in Europe economically.
- Most Ukrainians (67 percent as opposed to 22 percent) thought that the nation was going on the wrong path.
- The government was thought to be very unresponsive and corrupt. 40% of respondents indicated they would not defend the nation if it were attacked.
How Has Russia’s Agenda Evolved?
After a month of the invasion, Russia withdrew from Kyiv. It stated that its primary objective was the “liberation of Donbas,” a general term for the eastern Ukrainian provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk. In a conflict that started in 2014, Russian proxy forces had already taken control of more than a third of this region; now, Russia has sought to annex the entire region.
- The first phase of the invasion, which the Kremlin defined as significantly lowering Ukraine’s military capabilities, was said to have “generally accomplished” its objectives, according to the Kremlin.
- However, it was evident from Russia’s retreat that it had reduced its aspirations.
Officials in Russia are currently concentrating on taking control of the two major eastern areas and building a land corridor along the southern coast that runs east from Crimea to the Russian border. In addition, they have asserted control over Kherson in the south, and a top Russian general has stated that they seek to annex land farther to the West along the Black Sea coast, all the way to Odesa and beyond.
If Russia does manage to seize control of both eastern areas, it will probably attempt to annex them through a mock election, as it did with Crimea in 2014. The occupying forces in Kherson are already using Russia’s currency, the rouble, as of May 1. Ukraine also accuses them of arranging a vote to establish a separate entity.
Is There Any Solution?
There are a few indications that this war will be resolved through negotiation soon. However, Russia declared it was considering a Ukrainian offer of neutrality a few weeks into the conflict, and since the end of March, there have been no negotiations.
At the end of March, Kiev stated in its offer of neutrality:
- Without foreign military installations or contingents on its soil, Ukraine would turn into a non-aligned, “non-nuclear” state.
- If there were strict, legally binding guarantees, other nations would have to defend a neutral Ukraine in the case of an invasion.
- Guarantor nations would need to consult and support Ukraine within three days.
- Except for refraining from joining military-political alliances and requiring the approval of guarantor states for any foreign exercises, Ukraine would be permitted to join the European Union.
- Over the following 15 years, negotiations would take place on the future status of the Crimean peninsula that Russia had annexed.
Russia and NATO
The 30-nation defensive military alliance of the West is intended to fragment Russian society and finally destroy it, according to the leader of that country.
- On May 9, Russia charged NATO with beginning an active military buildup on Russian borderlands in a speech commemorating Victory Day.
- Russia urged that NATO go back to 1997 and halt its eastward expansion, withdraw its forces and military facilities from member states that joined the alliance after 1997, and refrain from putting “strike weapons near Russia’s borders” before the start of the conflict.
- That includes the Baltic States, Eastern Europe, and Central Europe.
Has Russia Made Plans That Go Beyond Ukraine?
- The greatest concern currently exists for Moldova because it is not a member of NATO and has already experienced Russian threats.
- But Finland and Sweden are closely considering joining an alliance that appears to be as cohesive as ever, undermining Russia’s desire to push NATO back to the late 1990s.
NATO has warned that a war may stretch for weeks, months, or even years and that its members must be ready for a protracted conflict. Due to the West’s backing for Ukraine, Russia has already cut off the gas supply to Poland and Bulgaria, two Nato members.
- Russia has tried to suppress opposition. Protests are not allowed, and over 15,000 people have been imprisoned.
- The political opposition has either been imprisoned or fled, and there has been a significant exodus of IT specialists and other professions.
After witnessing Russia’s determination to destroy European cities to further its objectives, Western politicians are no longer in denial.
What Is the Conflict Between Russia and Ukraine?
A Russian military buildup on Ukraine’s border in 2021 and 2022 exacerbated tensions and worsened bilateral ties between the two nations. As a result, Ukraine severed diplomatic ties with Russia in retaliation for its incursion.
Why Did Russia Not Want Ukraine To Join NATO?
On November 28, Ukraine warned that Russia had amassed almost 92,000 troops close to its borders and alleged that Russia planned to launch an offensive at the end of January or the beginning of February. Russia demanded “legal guarantees” that Ukraine would never join NATO and claimed that it was building up its military.
Why Did Russia Invade Crimea?
Despite denials from Ukraine and other nations, Russian leaders asserted that the objective of Russian soldiers in the Crimean Peninsula was to provide the necessary conditions for the people of Crimea to express their will freely.
Why Did Russia Declare War on Ukraine in 2022?
The operation’s main objective was to protect the people in the primarily Russian-speaking region of Donbas, who Russia erroneously claimed, “for eight years now, [had] been facing humiliation and genocide perpetrated by the Kyiv regime.”
Why Did Russia Invade Georgia?
Russian claims Georgia engaged in “genocide” and “aggression against South Ossetia” on spurious grounds. Then, on August 8, it began a full-scale land, air, and sea invasion of Georgia, including its undisputed territory, under the pretense of “peace enforcement.”
When Did Ukraine Separate From Russia?
Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine regained its independence, which marked the beginning of Ukraine’s eight-year recession as it transitioned to a market economy. But after that, the economy saw a rapid acceleration in GDP growth until the Great Recession, when it crashed.
Why Is Russia Suspended From G8?
Due to Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the G7 members postponed the G8 summit scheduled to take place in Sochi, a Russian city, in June of that year on March 24. Despite this, they refrained from permanently expelling Russia.
Is Russia Good or Bad?
Russia is a decent nation. However, it isn’t quite heaven on earth. It has some political limitations and economic problems, especially in rural areas.