The History of Ukraine-Russia Geopolitical Conflict

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01 Mar 2022
6 min read

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ThinkWithNiche writes about the sudden geopolitical conflict and the event of war that has broken out between Russia and Ukraine on the European soil that has been making headlines for a while now.

The origins of the Russia-Ukraine conflict can be traced back to ancient times. President Putin authored an article in July 2021 in which he emphasized the close historical and socio-cultural ties that exist between Russia and Ukraine. He recently stated that Ukraine has never been an independent country and has always been a part of Russia. #TWN

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Russia-Ukraine war

The escalating war between Russia and Ukraine could not have been predicted in the form it has taken. When Russia recognized the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk two days ago, it was clear that Moscow would confront Ukraine head-on, but no one expected it to launch an all-out war. Separatists control only around a third of the two regions' area, while Ukrainian forces control the other two-thirds. As a result, the question of whether Russia would try to take territory controlled by Ukrainian forces became irrelevant. As a result, one may anticipate Russian President Vladimir Putin to take such measures.

Origins of the War

The origins of the war can be traced back through history. President Putin authored an article in July 2021 in which he emphasized the close historical and civilizational ties that exist between Russia and Ukraine. He recently stated that Ukraine has never been an independent country and has always been a part of Russia; this was a denial of Ukraine's status as a sovereign state. Russia's minimum demand was for Ukraine to remain inside its sphere of influence and not join NATO. Russia has long-held grudges against the United States and Western Europe. Russia was opposed to NATO's expansion, which began during the Cold War, to encompass former Communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe, particularly into former Soviet territory. Despite Russian concerns, NATO expanded in 1997 and 2004 to include former Communist countries.

Where Matters Got Worse

Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, Russia unambiguously backed the US war on terror in Afghanistan. The US, on the other hand, unilaterally withdrew from the ABM Treaty the next year, without contacting Russia. The United States invaded Iraq in 2003, despite Russian opposition. As a result, President Putin has had severe grievances against the US and NATO on several subjects. President Putin slammed the United States' unilateralism and humanitarian intervention policies at the Munich Security Conference in February 2007. The 2008 Russia-Georgia war widened the chasm between Russia and NATO even more. Another point of contention for Russia was the United States' support for regime change, also known as "color revolutions." Following the 2004 Orange Revolution in Ukraine, pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych was ousted by anti-Russian Yushchenko, who desired closer ties with the EU. Putin referred to the fall of the Soviet Union as the "biggest calamity of the twentieth century" in 2005. He has been attempting to lure the former Soviet republics into the Russian-backed Eurasian Economic Community since then. Ukraine bears exceptional significance as the world's second-most populous country, sandwiched between Russia and Europe, and the birthplace of Russian civilization. In 2010, pro-Russian Yanukovych reclaimed the presidency, and in 2013, he halted talks with the EU on an association pact, sparking huge protests. He left Ukraine in February 2014. Putin was so enraged that he invaded and conquered Crimea, a Ukrainian area where Sevastopol, the Russian Black Sea Fleet's headquarters, is located. It's still unclear what Putin hopes to achieve by invading Syria with military force. The claimed goal is to ensure the safety of Donetsk and Luhansk's Russian-speaking population, which was previously under the control of Russian-backed separatists. Putin has stated that he wants Ukraine to be demilitarised.

But, based on the way Russian forces attacked several Ukrainian cities by air, sea, and missiles, it appears that Putin wants to weaken and neutralize Ukraine to the point where it can no longer constitute a security danger to Russia. He also wants to compel the United States and NATO to consider Russian objections and concerns. The US/NATO retreat from Afghanistan, as well as the realization that Europe/NATO would not go to war with Russia over Ukraine, which is still not a NATO member, may have increased Putin's determination. Russia has amassed a 600-billion-dollar foreign exchange reserve, which will allow the country to endure for many years. The acquisition of Crimea by Russia after the imposition of sanctions in 2014 was a challenge for Moscow, but it was not a major one. If a conflict broke out, would US or British forces be involved in military action? Almost definitely not, because no one wants to provide Russia with a reason to wage war on the west. Even throughout the Cold War, the opposing nuclear powers avoided fighting each other directly, preferring instead to use proxies like pro-communist Vietnamese. In the event of a war, the westerners are anticipated to be evacuated to Poland, though they may return once the front line has stabilized.

China, an economic superpower, is also on Russia's side. More than 40% of Europe's gas and oil is imported from Russia, which benefits Moscow as well. As a result, several European countries, including Germany, are wary of imposing harsh measures. For the time being, Europe appears to be united in its opposition to what they perceive to be unjustified Russian aggression, but for how long? Because of the turmoil, India has been under a lot of pressure. The war could cause international crude oil prices to rise, putting a strain on the country's economy. New Delhi has not criticized Russian actions because of its close connections with Moscow. It seeks a peaceful conclusion to the issue that takes into account the legitimate security interests of all parties involved.

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