Russia and Ukraine relations are in crisis for the previous eight years. With Russia seizing and establishing military authority over Ukraine’s southern Crimean peninsula in 2014, taking advantage of political chaos in the neighbouring nation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged the separatist areas of Luhansk and Donetsk in a speech delivered late Monday, doubting Ukraine’s sovereignty, and accused the West of neglecting Moscow’s primary security concerns.
All You Need to Know About Russia Ukraine Crisis
At the command of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian soldiers have begun a massive military strike on Ukraine. According to Ukraine, tanks and personnel have rushed into the nation at places along its eastern, southern, and northern borders, and explosions have been heard throughout the country. But why is Ukraine being attacked, and what does Russia want to gain from its neighbour?
To understand all about Russia Ukraine Crisis, we must first comprehend the history of the two closely connected countries’ relationship, which extends back to at least the 9th century.
What has led the tensions between Ukraine and Russia to rise?
Ukraine, which proclaimed independence in 1991 after the Soviet Union fell apart, has been strengthening its links with the European Union and NATO. Russia, on the other hand, perceives these relationships as a danger to its economic and strategic security.
Why have Russian forces launched an attack?
President Vladimir Putin warned on February 24 in a pre-dawn TV speech that Russia could not feel “secure, develop, or exist” because of what he believed was a persistent danger from contemporary Ukraine.
Airports and military offices were assaulted immediately, followed by the arrival of tanks and troops from Russia, Russian-annexed Crimea, and its ally Belarus. Warplanes have already bombarded major cities, and Russian soldiers have taken control of Kherson, a crucial southern port city.
Russia refuses to use the phrases “war” or “invasion,” even though many of its leaders’ arguments were wrong or unreasonable.
He said that his purpose was to safeguard those who had been bullied or subjected to genocide, as well as to “demilitarize and de-Nazify” Ukraine. There has been no genocide in Ukraine, which is a thriving democracy governed by a Jewish president.
“How could I be a Nazi?” says the narrator. Volodymyr Zelensky compared Russia’s assault to Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland during World War II. Russia’s slander was also denounced by Ukraine’s head rabbi and the Auschwitz Memorial.
What part of Ukraine is under Russian control?
Since Ukraine’s pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, was overthrown in 2014 following months of protests against his government, President Putin has regularly accused the country of being taken over by radicals.
Russia replied by taking Crimea’s southern area and sparking a revolt in the east, supporting rebels against Ukrainian soldiers in a war that has cost 14,000 lives.
Late in 2021, Russia began massing soldiers on Ukraine’s borders, although repeatedly claiming that it intended to strike. Then, in 2015, Mr Putin cancelled a peace settlement for the east and declared rebel-controlled territories independent.
How far is Russia willing to go?
Russia is attempting to take the country’s major cities and destabilize Ukraine’s democratically elected government. “The adversary has classified me as target number one; my family is target number two,” President Zelensky added.
Russia’s stated goal is to liberate Ukraine from persecution and “clear it of Nazis.” Mr Putin has spoken of bringing to justice “those who perpetrated multiple horrific crimes against people” under this false narrative of a fascist-run Ukraine since 2014.
His long-term plans for Ukraine remain a mystery. He denies attempting to conquer Ukraine and dismisses a January UK charges that he was planning to install a pro-Kremlin puppet. According to one unsubstantiated intelligence assessment, he wants to divide the country in half.
He faces fierce opposition from hostile people, but he has demonstrated that he is willing to attack residential areas to achieve his objectives.
Although Russia’s Baltic neighbours face no immediate threat, Nato has reinforced its defences just in case.
Before the invasion, Russia’s public attention was always on the eastern territories controlled by Russian-backed rebels. However, this changed as President Putin acknowledged their independence.
He not only stated that they were no longer part of Ukraine, but he also stated that he supported their claims to considerably more Ukrainian land. The self-proclaimed people’s republics control less than a third of the Donetsk and Luhansk areas, and the insurgents want the remainder as well.
What does it mean for Ukraine to be at war?
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has the potential to displace considerably more people and create far more human misery than any other event in Europe this century. Within Ukraine and abroad, the world will see the killings of innocent citizens, the devastation of houses and infrastructure, and the huge displacement of families.
The conflict’s consequences will be felt not just in Europe, but throughout the world. For countries like Yemen, Libya, and Lebanon, where food poverty is already prevalent, the war will have an impact on food supply, notable access to wheat.
The Economy is in decline
Violence will wreak havoc on Ukraine’s already battered infrastructure. The country’s health system is in shambles, and its economy has plummeted as a result of COVID-19. Food and fuel shortages are anticipated to be severe, and public services will be disrupted.
Refugees in Serious Risk
Many more Ukrainians are being forced from their homes, both within their nation and beyond borders, as attacks on people continue. The United States envoy to the United Nations has warned that the Russian invasion might force up to 5 million people to flee their homes, adding to the world’s record 31 million refugees and asylum seekers.
Neighbouring countries are ready to assist the incoming refugees. For example, Poland has predicted that it might absorb up to one million migrants from Ukraine.
Those who stay in Ukraine face an increasingly perilous scenario. Women and girls, particularly those who travel alone, may be vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.
Is it possible that sanctions will discourage Russia?
One of the final arrows in the quiver of those wanting to dissuade the Kremlin is the danger of economic isolation. With several NATO member nations signalling, they would not send troops to defend Ukraine in the case of a Russian invasion, one of the last arrows in the quiver of those looking to deter the Kremlin is the fear of economic isolation. Sanctions have been proposed, including the exclusion of Russia from the SWIFT banking system and the prohibition of Russian oil and gas imports. Following the annexation of Crimea, the Russian economy was subjected to a series of targeted but limited sanctions aimed at important industries.
George Voloshin, an expert on Russia’s and other post-Soviet countries’ economies, warns that there are no more sanctions that can be imposed on Russia that would not have major consequences for Western countries. “It would be awful for everyone concerned if we went any further with sanctions.” We’ve used all of the tiny weaponry in your economic arsenal; now it’s time to fire a bazooka.
Moreover, Russia has been making ‘rainy day’ preparations for its economy to resist additional sanctions, such as establishing a domestic SWIFT banking counterpart. According to public opinion polls, ordinary Russians are significantly less frightened than they were in 2014 about the possibility of economic isolation. Although Russia’s economy has grown slowly since then as a result of Western sanctions, there is little evidence that this has harmed the Putin regime’s domestic stability.
What exactly is the issue with the Minsk 2 pact?
Today, conversations about the separatist Donbas area of Ukraine are centred on Minsk 2. Officials in Ukraine have previously described the paper as a political and diplomatic gesture that is not enforceable under international law; nonetheless, Russia views it to be such.
The Ukrainian authorities are hesitant to provide special status to regions that are not under their control since it would give Russia influence over Ukrainian territory. In the past, mass protests in Ukraine have erupted amid fears of submission to Russia.
Local elections will be placed as part of the reunification of the uncontrolled regions in Donbas, according to Minsk 2. Elections can only take place if the Ukrainian government regains control of its border and territory in eastern Ukraine, according to the Ukrainian government. Russia’s perspective, on the other hand, concentrates on the agreement’s order of steps.
What is Russia’s military-to-military balance with Ukraine?
Commercial satellite photographs from December revealed multiple anomalous Russian army deployments near Ukraine’s borders. One series involved a facility in Crimea that had been nearly abandoned in October but was brimming with Russian armour and troops by December.
Other photographs released since then indicate military build-ups on northern border regions, as well as – most alarmingly – deployments on the Belarusian border, which are within striking distance of Kyiv.
The Russians have deployed artillery, armoured vehicles, and air defences in addition to the estimated 127,000 troops stationed along the Ukrainian border. Increased transfers of help, military equipment, and supplies to the Donbas separatist troops have also been reported by Ukrainian intelligence.
Ukraine was left with one of Europe’s largest military forces after the Soviet Union disintegrated. However, by the time hostilities erupted in 2014, Ukraine’s military had been ravaged by decades of corruption and underinvestment.
Ukraine’s top military officers still privately gripe that their Western military experts advised them not to challenge Putin’s takeover of Crimea, a choice that many people are still furious about.
In early 2015, Ukrainian forces were besieged and defeated at the Battle of Debaltseve, as they attempted to reclaim significant separatist-held regions. This loss compelled Ukraine to enter into talks and temporarily relinquish its plans to reclaim its land by armed means.
Civilians were killed in the fierce conflict, whether it was in separatist forces’ rocket assaults on Mariupol in January 2015 or Ukrainian forces’ airstrikes on government facilities in Luhansk in mid-2014. Thousands of civilians continue to cross the line of contact and reside in the adjacent regions, putting them in grave danger.
Ukraine now possesses a modern, well-equipped armed force with over 200,000 service members, thanks to a program of radical reforms, Western military training, and a large increase in military spending since the start of the war. They might be able to hold off a second Russian invasion.
Western military assistance has also boosted the Ukrainian army. The Trump administration began supplying the Ukrainian military with hand-held Javelin anti-tank rockets in 2018. They just got Turkish Bayraktar TB-2 drones, the same unmanned aircraft that provided Azerbaijani forces with a crucial edge in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh battle with Armenia.
However, disagreements in Western capitals have arisen on the subject of foreign aid. While Washington and London promised to enhance offensive military help, Berlin has remained sceptical, even delaying the passage of German-made weaponry from the Baltic nations to Ukraine.
What attempts are being done in terms of diplomacy?
There are several diplomatic avenues available. The first is the Trilateral Contact Group, which comprises Ukraine, Russia, and the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe officials (OSCE). The group initially met in June 2014, and later that year in Minsk, Belarus, they inked an agreement.
It didn’t stop fierce warfare from continuing in Donbas the following winter, when pro-Russian and Russian forces seized a succession of critical sites, mercilessly forcing Ukrainian soldiers back.
In Minsk, the Trilateral Contact Group met again and signed the Minsk 2 accord. This agreement included a plan for a cease-fire and eventual reintegration of the seized Donetsk and Luhansk provinces through elections, a special status in Ukraine’s constitution, and amnesty for those who took part in the armed revolt.
The Normandy Format, which includes Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany, is the second major channel. This is a series of meetings related to the Minsk Accords. There is also the NATO-Russia Council and OSCE-Russia discussions.
What can Western leaders and humanitarian organizations do to help?
People who have been affected by the Russia Ukraine Crisis be safeguarded.
The IRC firmly supports the United Nations Secretary-demand General’s to protect civilians, emphasizing that the UN Charter must be upheld and that international humanitarian law, particularly the protection of schools and hospitals, must be obeyed. People must be free to move about, and relief organizations must have access to people who require assistance.
Simultaneously, the international community must prepare for the worst and guarantee that humanitarian services both inside and outside Ukraine have the resources they require to save lives and relieve suffering. By keeping borders open, providing proper reception support, and ensuring full access to asylum, European nations must welcome their neighbours leaving Ukraine.
The European Union’s Role Russia Ukraine Crisis
European countries are taking the necessary preparations to prepare for the influx of refugees. These initiatives, however, must be quickly scaled up and turned into real and tangible support. States must provide safe passage and access to their borders, as well as enough preparation for humanitarian and efficient response. They must also stand behind Ukraine’s other neighbours that are accepting migrants at their borders and offer help.
Most importantly, Europe must provide security to persons of all citizenships and nationalities arriving from Ukraine who faces significant threats as the crisis increases, not only Ukrainian nationals who enjoy visa-free entry to the European Union.
“Reports of people of African and Asian heritage being sent back at the Ukrainian border must be strongly denounced,” David Miliband said. “Discrimination and inequitable treatment of refugees is never acceptable, but it is especially so when war is escalating in urban centres and violations of international humanitarian law are increasing by the hour.”
What role does the IRC play in Russia Ukraine Crisis?
The International Rescue Committee is present in Poland and is collaborating with local partners in both Poland and Ukraine. We will give basic supplies that persons displaced from Ukraine tell us they require in the early phases of our response. Blankets, warm clothing, cookstoves, food, basic supplies, and, if available, cash are among these items.
The IRC will also give newcomers information regarding asylum and available resources via an existing hotline, provide legal counselling and psychological assistance, and connect them to other services, including as social workers, interpreters, and cultural aides, through our partners.
“We’ll strive to respond where we’re most needed and with the resources that are most required right now,” Lani Fortier adds.
What is the United States’ position in Russia Ukraine Crisis?
While the United States of America claims that Russia is not adhering to its obligations under the Minsk 2 agreement and that it is ‘actively violating’ them, it urges that Ukraine must proceed.
“I don’t believe [Minsk 2] has to be renegotiated,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently stated. “We are willing to help Russia if it is serious about Minsk.”
In terms of NATO membership, the US ambassador to Russia handed two letters from the US and NATO on January 26th, in which the US is said to have confirmed Ukraine’s sovereignty and right to join NATO in the future. The letter, according to Blinken, is a “serious diplomatic road ahead,” but it lacks “specific ideas.”
Lloyd Austin, the US Secretary of Defense, claimed that he and NATO partners were debating the potential of sending US troops to Eastern Europe and that 8,500 troops were on high alert. In the event of Russian military escalation, the US is preparing a package of penalties.
Where does United Kingdom stand in Russia Ukraine Crisis?
The Russia Ukraine crisis has arrived at a time when Boris Johnson’s popularity is falling, and he has pushed to lead the West’s reaction to the issue, including ideas for sanctions against Russia.
On January 26, Johnson said, “The British army leads the NATO battle group in Estonia, and if Russia invades Ukraine, we would look to contribute to any fresh NATO deployments to safeguard our partners in Europe.”
According to The Observer, the British Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office indicated last weekend that it has proof of a plan to establish a pro-Russian leader in Ukraine, with Ukrainian lawmaker Evgeny Muraev “a likely contender.” The proof was not made public, and foreign-policy specialists, including those in Ukraine, were sceptical of the announcement.
In 2020, the UK inked a ‘strategic cooperation’ deal with Ukraine, which includes £1.7 billion in finance for Ukrainian military export credits.
The UK, together with Russia and the United States, signed the Budapest Memorandum in 1994, in which Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons in return for security and political assurances.
What is Ukraine’s instance in this Crisis?
The Ukrainian authorities made several actions ahead of a new Normandy Format conference in Paris on January 26 that appear to create the framework for future negotiations on Donbas and inject a tone of calm.
“The dangers haven’t appeared overnight, and they haven’t grown in size. On January 19, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declared, “The only thing that has grown is the hysteria around them.”
In an interview, the same day, Oleksandr Danilov, the director of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, argued that the West’s growing interest in the war was due to their “own internal [political] processes.”
The Ukrainian government dropped a proposed bill on the 24th of January that would have formally designated Russia as an aggressor state. Meanwhile, in an interview with The Washington Post, Zelenskyy warned that if there was a large-scale invasion, Russia may assault Kharkiv, a city in eastern Ukraine with a population of over a million people.
The restart of the Normandy Format discussions, according to Andriy Yermak, head of Ukraine’s President’s Office, is a “strong signal.” Yermak described the negotiations as “a promising signal” after the Paris conference.
“The purpose is to put a stop to the fight and reclaim our lands.” And now, a de-escalation surrounding Ukraine’s borders is also an objective,” he stated. There were indications of pressure on Ukraine throughout the hearings to agree to direct dialogue with officials in the unrecognized areas.
Diplomatic Solution to Russia Ukraine Crisis
Even if the two parties have had negotiations on the border with Belarus, there appears to be little possibility for the time being.
Russia demands that Kyiv hand up its weapons and demilitarise, but this will not happen.
Aside from the fighting, any final agreement would have to address the situation in eastern Ukraine as well as armaments control with the West.
The first argument is that a diplomatic solution must be founded on US and Western understanding that “sovereignty” does not mean “the government is allowed to make its own decisions regardless of the consequences for other sovereign countries’ security.” Nato states continue to speak as if this is what “sovereignty” means, insisting that Ukraine, as a sovereign country, must have a path to eventual Nato membership, while also claiming that Nato cannot possibly threaten Russian security because it is strictly defensive – although this is not how Russia sees it.
Second, a diplomatic settlement must be predicated on the acknowledgement of the US and Western roles in “cocking the gun” (as opposed to “pressing the trigger”). In The New York Times, Thomas Friedman writes about a meeting he had with George Kennan in 1998. Kennan was the author of the famous “long telegraph” delivered to the State Department from his US diplomatic headquarters in Moscow during WWII, detailing rules for the US to follow in living with and “controlling” Russia after the war. He spent the remainder of his life as an expert on US-Russia relations. The Friedman-Kennan meeting took place after the US Senate approved Nato’s extension to Russia’s borders, and after Russia pleaded with the US and Nato to keep their prior promise. When the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, the West guaranteed Russian authorities that Nato would not extend east of Germany “one inch.”
The third point relates to Ukraine in particular. “The West must recognize that Ukraine can never be merely a foreign nation to Russia,” Henry Kissinger wrote in 2014. In what was known as Kievan-Rus, Russian history started. From there, the Russian faith expanded. For centuries, Ukraine has been a part of Russia, and their histories were entwined before that.”