For the past few weeks, it is being reported
that a war may break out between
Russia and Ukraine.
Russia has mobilized more than 100,000 soldiers to Ukraine's border.
These aren't cross-border tensions between two countries.
There is a literal threat that
Russia may invade Ukraine.
Meaning that it will establish its control over Ukraine.
Ukraine may cease to exist.
The USA and the countries of the European Union have warned Russia
that if it chooses to do so,
strict actions will be taken against Russia.
And countries like China,
have shown support to Russia on this issue.
It means that all major countries,
have become aligned on one side or the other
in this war.
It is also being said
that if it does happen
if Russia declares war here,
it increases the chances of World War III breaking out.
"NATO is alarmed about Russia's military build-up."
"Russia, has for weeks, amassing troops and tanks along the Ukrainian border."
"Raising concerns, they could be preparing to attack Ukraine."
"Ukrainian troops have prepared to defend themselves
if Russian troops cross the border."
"If it invades Ukraine, there will be severe consequences."
"We have a strong iron-clad commitment
to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine."
To understand this issue better,
we need to go into Russia and Ukraine's history.
Most people begin at the year 1991.
The year when the USSR or the Soviet Union
broke up into 15 countries.
The biggest of which was Russia.
And Ukraine was also a part of the USSR.
It got independent after 1991.
You might think that this story is similar
Because before 1947, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh were one country.
And you might conclude that joining Ukraine and Russia again wouldn't be so wrong.
But this isn't a valid comparison.
Because in 1921,
Lenin's Red Army had invaded Ukraine.
After this Communist Russian Revolution,
the USSR was established in 1922.
The Union of 15 different Soviet Socialist Republic countries.
One of the countries was the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
The question arises,
What was Ukraine before this?
Ukraine was an independent country.
But it had gotten its independence a mere 3 years ago in 1918.
Independence from whom?
Independence from the Russian Empire.
And as you know, the Russian Empire was overthrown in 1917
by the Russian Revolutionaries.
So basically, Ukraine was a part of the Russian Empire
then it got independence,
and then the people that overthrew the Russian Empire
went ahead and invaded Ukraine again.
If you talk about the era before the Russian Empire,
then there were some instances
when Russia and Ukraine were parts of the same Empire.
And some instances,
when Ukraine was part of the Lithuanian or Polish Empires.
But we don't need to go so deep into the details.
The point remains that
the spirit of Ukrainian nationalism,
the distinct identity of Ukraine as a country,
isn't a feeling that developed after 1991.
It has been in the Ukrainian people for a long time.
It is interesting to know
what happened after 1991.
When the Soviet Union broke apart,
some Ukrainians breathed a sigh of relief,
they thought their country finally earned its independence
from the Soviet Union.
They bid adieu to Moscow,
and parted as friends.
And they looked towards the European Union,
intending to join them.
That they wanted to become an independent European country like others.
But on the other hand, some people harbored
harbored a lot of favor of sympathy for the Russians.
Considering themselves to be Russians.
They believed that Russians and Ukrainians are ethnically similar
both are classified as Slavic,
their religions are similar
there aren't major differences.
They are majorly Christian.
And in both countries, other religions are in minority.
For these people, the events of 1991,
was like a partition.
It was a tragedy for them.
From the latter category of people,
was Vladimir Putin.
Just last week, Putin said
that the collapse of the Soviet Union
was a major humanitarian tragedy.
In which more than 25 million 'Russians'
were suddenly cut off from Russia
and had to disperse into various independent countries.
A long article was published on Kremlin's website.
In it, Putin claims that Ukraine and Ukrainians,
are an indispensable part of Russian history and culture.
So basically, Putin considers Ukraine to be a part of Russia.
But what about the people of Ukraine?
What do they think?
The people living in Eastern Ukraine, friends,
the area that lies beside Russia's border,
the people are mostly pro-Russia there.
But if we're to talk about the overall country,
a little more than the majority of people,
are in favor of joining the European Union.
In favor of continuing as an independent country.
And this isn't only for the people of Ukraine.
Rather the politicians of Ukraine
are also divided into 2 groups.
One group is the pro-European Union.
And the other is Pro-Russia.
If I talk about the data,
according to a survey from April 2017,
53% of the Ukrainians were in the favour of joining the European Union.
And 46% of Ukrainians,
favour favor joining NATO.
NATO is an alliance between the USA and the European countries.
You can think of them as being against Russia.
According to the same survey,
27% of Ukrainians were against joining NATO.
And the others did not have a strong opinion.
So you can say that about 20-30% of people favor Russia.
1st May 2004.
It was a historic day for the European countries.
It was the day when 10 new countries joined the European Union.
Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia,
Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania,
Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
It was special because 8 out of the 10 countries
are former Communist countries.
Either they used to be a part of the Soviet Union,
or they were under its influence.
There are 3 such countries,
called the Baltic countries.
Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
On the map, you can see that the 3 countries share a border with Russia.
And the sharing of the border is quite significant.
Because not only are these countries a part of the European Union but
but a part of NATO also.
NATO stands for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
And it is a military alliance.
It means that if a war breaks out against any NATO country,
or any NATO country is attacked,
the rest of the NATO countries would come to protect it with their militaries.
Mainly the USA and the European countries are part of NATO, as I told you.
The other military alliance on the Eastern side,
was called the Warsaw Pact.
But when the Soviet Union collapsed,
the Warsaw Pact was also disbanded.
But NATO's existence continues even today.
And 30 countries are part of NATO, in total.
On this map, you can see the NATO countries.
The European countries have blocked Russia on one side,
and on the other side, Japan is also a major NATO partner,
In fact, Japan is a part of the G7 and the Quad Group as well.
Russia has a long border with Finland as well.
Although Finland isn't an active member of NATO,
bu it has been a contributor to NATO-led operations.
And on this map, look at Ukraine.
Ukraine shares a long border with Russia.
If Ukraine becomes a part of Russia too,
Russia will obviously be pressured
because it is surrounded by all sides.
This isn't a hypothetical situation.
a NATO-Ukraine Commission was set up
so that Ukraine and NATO could partner with one another.
About 10 years later,
Ukraine wanted to solemnize the friendship.
NATO Summit was underway,
and Ukraine stated that it wanted to become a part of NATO.
Along with Ukraine, Georgia had a similar wish.
And the other NATO countries were pleased with this.
They agreed to make Ukraine a part of them.
But the proper procedure had to be followed.
Ukraine and Georgia were asked to work on their Membership Action Plan,
to get the membership of NATO.
In 2017, the Ukrainian Parliament even adopted a Legislation,
which stated that getting NATO membership is a major objective for Ukraine.
For the Foreign and Security Policy of Ukraine.
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Let's return to the topic.
And now, some days ago, on 16th December 2021,
there was a meeting between the President of Ukraine and the Chief of NATO,
There, Ukraine reiterates its commitment
to eventually join NATO.
Despite Russia's objections.
As you can guess,
obviously, Russia strongly objects to it.
Putin had a video meeting with the US President Joe Biden,
on 13th December, talked to the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson,
on 14th December, had a phone call with the French President Emmanuel Macron
and the President of Finland.
And has put forward a demand to all of them,
to guarantee them that Ukraine would not be a part of NATO.
And what do you think, would NATO agree?
NATO said that Ukraine is an independent sovereign country,
Ukraine is free to make its decisions.
Whether it wants to become a part of NATO or not.
The message was very clear here.
Since NATO and Ukraine are willing,
What could Putin do?
An interesting question.
What would Putin do?
Putin's answer is equally interesting.
He'll give them a chance before moving to dire methods.
As I told you earlier,
the part of Eastern Ukraine,
is inhabited by mostly pro-Russia people,
and that part often wants to separate from Ukraine
to become a part of Russia.
So Russia is starting to support the separatists in that area.
In these 2 provinces here,
Donetsk and Luhansk,
Russia is enabling a proxy war here.
More than 14,000 people have been killed in this proxy war.
On top of it, Russia accuses Ukraine
of genocide in Eastern Ukraine.
And now we come to today's situation.
Even after supporting the separatist groups,
Russia saw that Ukraine and NATO,
are continuing with their relationship.
They aren't willing to part ways.
So Russia has started building up a military now.
More than 100,000 troops have been stationed at the border.
The tanks and missiles are ready.
Not only at the Eastern Border,
but on the North and North-Eastern borders as well.
Russia is shown itself ready to go to war.
Here, you may be wondering
how realistic is it?
Is Russia merely threatening to start a war,
or does Russia have the ability to invade another country?
Can it even be possible in this day and age?
Friends, I'd like to tell you here,
not only is this possible,
Russia has already done it.
By invading Crimea.
The thing is, Ukraine was about to join the European Union in 2013.
The European Union had asked Ukraine to fulfill certain conditions,
and then it could become a part of the European Union.
The conditions were basically to
show that Ukraine is a democratic country,
and the people have full freedom there.
One of the conditions was,
to free their opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko from jail.
The majority of the Ukrainian Parliament was in favor of this.
They were ready to fulfil fulfill the conditions of the European Union.
Soon, an Association Agreement was to be signed.
But on the other hand, Russia was applying a lot of pressure to prevent this from happening.
To pressurise Ukraine, Russia changed the Customs Regulations.
The imports from Ukraine to Russia
Putin threatened Ukraine
that if Ukraine became a member of the European Union,
then they could say goodbye to trading with them.
That they would punish Ukraine.
But if Ukraine refused to go through with it,
then they would reward Ukraine.
Russia offered a loan of $15 billion to Ukraine.
A literal bribe by Russia to Ukraine.
Additionally, Ukraine was also offered cheap gas prices.
The then President of Ukraine,
bent under Putin's pressure.
And the Agreement that he was about to sign with the European Union,
he refused to sign it
And so it was suspended.
And the common citizens of Ukraine,
were angered by all of it.
That they had to bow to Russia because of the bribe.
On 21st November 2013,
thousands of students assembled at Independence Square to protest it.
On 30th November, the Ukrainian government used violence against the protestors,
to remove them.
This sparked more anger among the protestors.
Protests grew even more.
On 16th January 2014, the Ukrainian President passed some shameful laws.
Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Assembly and the activities of NGOs were restricted.
They tried to restrict the protests.
And the laws were passed very undemocratically in their Parliament.
They voted by a show of hands only,
the Parliamentary Committee wasn't consulted,
MPs weren't allowed to examine the laws,
Does it remind you of something?
India had passed some invalid laws too.
And these led to the 2014 Revolution in Ukraine.
It is also named the Revolution of Dignity.
Millions of people took to the streets,
to protest against their government.
The protestors demanded the resignation of the President.
The President was also accused of corruption.
In February, the President responded with even more violence.
The protests turned into riots.
More than 100 protestors died,
and 18 police personnel lost their lives as well.
And finally, after all of it,
Ukrainian President Yanukovych was impeached.
The Ukrainian government was overthrown.
The elections were held again.
And the new President of Ukraine was Petro Poroshenko.
And on 27th June 2014,
he signed the Association Agreement with the European Union.
Putin's heart shattered at that.
Putin had tried very hard to bribe Ukraine,
had even convinced their President against signing the Agreement with the EU,
But Putin couldn't control the citizens of Ukraine.
The citizens started a Revolution
and overthrew their President.
And the new President signed the Agreement with the EU.
This angered Putin a lot.
Putin could see that he was losing his influence over Ukraine.
That's why, some weeks ago, in March 2014,
Russia had sent its army to Crimea,
"Russian troops moving swiftly
to take control of military bases in Crimea."
"Russian troops spreading out throughout the strategic Crimean Peninsula."
"The moment Russian troops smashed their way
into Ukraine's Crimean Airbase."
On this map, you can see where Crimea is.
It's south of Ukraine.
Crimea was actually an autonomous region of Ukraine.
An area or state of Ukraine that had been given autonomy to quite an extent.
It acted almost like an independent country.
But in 2014, Russia sent its military,
and captured the country.
The rest of the world could only watch.
Ukraine responded by saying that it is a violation of International law.
Russia carried out a referendum in Crimea.
Trying to show that
they aren't really invading,
rather that they sent their military merely to ask the people about what they want.
Whwantedether the Crimean people wanted to join Russia or Ukraine.
And the official result of this referendum
was said to be that 97% of people voted in favor of Russia.
And it had a voter turnout of 83%.
But obviously, this referendum,
wasn't recognized by any favor international agency.
And it is considered illegal.
The United Nations believes
that Crimea is officially a part of Ukraine.
In the month o May, a Ukrainian news site had posted
that the Russian president's Human Rights Council,
had posted the real results of the referendum on their website by mistake.
That was quickly removed later.
These results showed that the voter turnout
was only 40%.
And only 50% of them had voted in favor of joining Russia.
Meaning that only 20% of the Crimeans had actually voted in favor of Russia.
After the invasion,
Russia has put up a high-security fence
between the border of Crimea and Ukraine.
And has started building up a lot of infrastructures,
and presently, the whole Crimean region is under Russia's control.
The Ukrainian President has said that
Crimea is Ukraine's territory.
And it will also be Ukraine's goal to liberate it.
But Putin believes that it is Russia's territory.
The conclusion of the story is that
Ukraine is in love with NATO and the European Union,
And Russia is heartbroken.
And it cannot tolerate this.
Russia doesn't recognize its wrongdoings.
Supporting separatists in Ukraine,
building up the military,
and now threatening to invade Ukraine.
Russia justifies all of it by saying
that they're doing it because NATO is trying to surround it from all sides.
Russia tells Ukraine
that it will never let go of Ukraine,
and it will not let Ukraine remain independent.
And it is a senseless thing.
You can't force someone to be your friend.
By threatening them constantly.
If Ukraine wanted to have closer ties with Russia,
it wouldn't do so in the face of threats.
What is your opinion?
And if you found this post to be interesting and informative,
I think you're interested in geopolitics.
If so, you should watch these posts I made on geopolitics.
You can click here to watch it.
A few posts that I'd recommend are
posts on Israel-Palestine,
and on Saudi Arabia and Iran.
The geopolitics that plays out between these countries.
Let's meet in the next post.
Thank you very much!