It is very difficult for Vladimir Putin to get over the bifurcation of the USSR, and feels NATO is after Russia. So, he is risking Russia’s economy to create additional barriers for NATO and to strengthen the Black Sea Navy’s position (by annexing Crimea), and also to menace Ukraine (by massive military exercises near Ukraine’s borders), hoping Ukraine elects a pro-Russian president.
Aside from the Black Sea Navy, this is unlikely to work because there are no viable pro-Russian presidential candidates left in Ukraine, and the population reacted to the Russian seizure of Crimea with repulsion. Mainland Ukraine is now firmly pro-EU and is set to receive massive currency injections from the IMF, EU, US, Japan and Canada.
In the meantime, Russian TV and papers controlled by the government are waging a brazen propaganda war against Ukraine, with straight lies and massive exaggerations. Recently, some guy was arrested near Moscow with a few guns, so he was first described as Ukrainian. Then some newspapers explained that he was actually a Russian citizen, but the government news forgot to make that correction. Mass media in Moscow are trying to create an impression that Ukraine is now ruled by gangs and that Russian-speaking people in Ukraine need Russia to protect them.
Russia claims Crimea is an “original Russian land”, which is hardly convincing (despite significant Russian history in Crimea) because Turkey (the Ottoman Empire) had Crimea for longer than Russia, and the Greeks were in Crimea way before Russia (and even Rus) existed. For now, Crimea is isolated, and the pro-Russian locals are hoping for miracles from the Russian government. Some people compare Crimea to Kosovo, which makes little sense — there were no mass killings in Crimea. If we start such comparisons, Russia should lose Kaliningrad to Germany and Sakhalin to Japan.
Comparisons are a slippery slope. Ukraine is strategically located between Russia and Europe. Both the US and the European Union want to have their NATO power expanded till Russia’s border. For this obvious reason, they want to make Ukraine a part of NATO as well as the EU. Now, Ukraine started splitting up into two parts namely — Pro-Western & Pro-Russian. Donetsk, Sloviansk and Luhansk were the three regions that started rebelling against the Interim Government in Kyiv. They not only wanted to be an independent Republic but also to be included with Russia. Similar to Crimea Referendum, Donetsk, Sloviansk and Luhansk— all these Eastern Industrial hubs of Ukraine wanted to be signified as the Independent Republic.
Ukraine was separated from the former USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) in 1991. Since declaring independence in 1991, Ukraine has been divided, and this crisis is an extension of that. Language is the basis of division. In short, the current crisis is about Ukrainian post-Soviet elites´ economic and nation-building mistakes that met internal resistance and were used by Russian post-Soviet elites demanding less Western presence around and more obedience from neighbours. The events painfully reverberated in Ukraine´s ill-fated history of being suppressed, included in or controlled by its more powerful neighbours.
Treating Ukraine at first as almost Russia-2, as its identical twin, Russia did not seriously take Ukraine´s desire to be independent, European and modern; and Russia did not provide a better example and looked more and more irrelevant for Ukraine searching for its new identity. While Russia and its separated parts were in crisis, Putin destroyed the young democracy that was surging in Russia. He has enriched himself and a minority of others and has established himself as a “de-facto” king, at the expense of all Russians that are now “stuck” with him. But overall, there is a warlike situation where people would be at loss.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of launching a “full-scale invasion” as explosions were heard in cities around the country. “Putin has just launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Peaceful Ukrainian cities are under strikes,” Mr Kuleba tweeted.
Putin’s announcement came just hours ahead of a special emergency session in the UN Security Council. The meeting was scheduled after Putin recognised the independence of Ukraine’s breakaway regions. Earlier, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky had made an emotional late-night appeal to Russians not to support “a major war in Europe”. Speaking Russian, Zelensky said that the people of Russia are being lied to about Ukraine and that the possibility of war also “depends on you”.
This war would be sad news for all who have occupied the territory against the will of the people. When the time comes, they will achieve their freedom. Need of the hour says, Russia should stop aggression, also the US should be out of Ukraine. Biden held a phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky soon after explosions were heard in multiple parts of the country, which is sandwiched between Russia and NATO member Poland.
Biden announced he was imposing sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany — one of energy-rich Moscow’s highest-profile energy and geopolitical projects. Germany had earlier announced it would block the pipeline from opening for deliveries. Russia already launched a military operation in Ukraine in what could be the start of the war in Europe over Russia’s demands for an end to NATO’s eastward expansion.
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