After Vladimir Putin said there were no plans to attack Ukraine, President Putin recently has stated that there is a special military operation in Donbas. The Russian military invaded Ukraine from various locations on February 24, 2022. They shot and bombed military targets before sending vehicles across the border. Meanwhile, Ukraine considers Russia to have started a major war. Ukraine called on the United Nations to take action so the aggression did not escalate.
The President of the United States, Joe Biden, condemned the attack. He held Russia accountable for its actions. Britain, the European Union, the United Nations, and NATO are on the side of the USA.
Why did Russia invade Ukraine?
1. Russia doesn’t Want Ukraine Joining NATO
Russian-Ukrainian relations have been strained since the late 20th century and even earlier. The reasons for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are complex. Ukraine to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
A group of countries signed the treaty after World War 2 in 1949 to consult and cooperate on defense and security issues. Meanwhile, NATO said that they are committed to resolving the issue . NATO insists it has the military power to carry out crisis management operations if diplomatic efforts fail.
Russia re-emphasized its desire to keep Ukraine away from NATO in the list of security demands sent to the US in December 2021. These demands include the termination of NATO exercises around Russia’s borders. They also want NATO to withdraw from Europe.
Putin offered NATO countries to negotiate on the matter and added that he was willing to make legal guarantees if the countries agreed. The point is that Russia wants Ukraine never to become part of NATO. The reality is that Ukraine asked the US to become part of NATO.
2. A Long History of Tensions Between Russia and Ukraine
It must have been a very complex topic in the early 20th century. The current conflict between Russia and Ukraine can’t be separated from the history of the seizure of the Crimean Peninsula in early 2014. Ukraine became part of Russia (USSR) but they’re independent when the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991. Ukraine tried to erase relations with Russia and create ties with other countries. Countries in the West (US, UK, and their allies).
In 2014, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych rejected a deal with the European Union. The goal is to create closer ties with Russia. The move caused protests across the country. Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula. They also provide support to Ukrainian rebels in Donbas, an industrial hub.
Fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces is still ongoing in the region. There have been 14,000 lives lost in the last eight years. Ukraine accuses Russia of sending weapons to help the rebels. Russia denies this and says that Russians joining the fighting with their will. They criticized the US and NATO for providing weapons to Ukraine.
Putin has warned that Ukraine’s attempts to join NATO limit Russia. Putin is concerned that some NATO members are trying to set up military training centers in Ukraine.
3. Cultural Similarity
As a country with strong historical ties to Russia, Ukraine has cultural similarities to Russia. Putin even said that Russia and Ukraine are one body. The separation between Russia and Ukraine was a mistake committed at different periods. Putin always carries a historical narrative that Ukraine and Russia come from one root: Ancient Rus.
Ukraine and other countries such as Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Russia joined the Soviet Union. Putin stressed that the existence of Ukraine was essential for the Soviet Union. The Kingdom of Kyiv is in Ukraine.
Timeline of the Russia vs Ukraine Conflict
|Timeline of the Russia vs Ukraine Conflict||
|1||December 1, 1991||Ukraine declares independence after the fall of the Soviet Union|
|2||December 5, 1994||The Budapest Memorandum is signed. Ukraine agrees to hand over nuclear weapons from cold war to Russia|
|3||November – December 2004||Orange revolution occurred in the middle of the Ukrainian elections. This election sparked controversy because candidate Yakunovych was supported by Russia. Pro-Western candidate Yushchenko was poisoned before the election. This gave rise to the orange revolution, the campaign color of Yushchenko.|
|4||April 3, 2008||Russia opposes Ukraine’s membership in NATO|
|5||November 2013 – February 2014||Yakunovych is running for president again. He won elections in 2010. Previously, he promised to establish relations with the European Union but ultimately turned Ukraine to Russia.|
|6||February 2014 – March 2014||Russia seizes the Crimean peninsula, creating international outrage|
|7||April 21, 2019||Volodymyr Zelenskyy, comedian, beats pro Russian candidate Petro Poroshenko|
|8||December 2021||Putin demanded security guarantees after Zelenskyy cracked down on pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarchs. Putin increases troop numbers near Ukrainian border|
|9||February 21, 2022||Russia recognizes the territory of Ukraine as a sovereign state|
|10||February 24, 2022||Russia launched a full-fledged attack on Ukraine. The invasion began east of the Ukrainian border, Donbas.|
Behind Russia’s Invasion of the United States: What Is Putin Thinking?
The Russian President’s decision to deploy the bulk of troops to eastern Ukraine has triggered Western punishment against Russia. A full-blown invasion could lead to war on a large scale since World War II, a bloody and devastating conflict for Russia and Ukraine. What is Vladimir Putin’s argument about the invasion of his country?
In his speech, Putin believed that Ukraine was an illegitimate state on Russian land. According to Putin, Ukraine doesn’t have a stable condition. The territory of Ukraine today is supposed to be inhabited by Russians. It’s not the territory for the anti-Russia and Moscow regime. Ukraine may remain a sovereign state if it has a pro-Russian government.
Putin certainly has no desire to attack Ukraine if he feels he has political support from the Ukrainian regime. Putin’s claim that the Ukrainian state does not deserve to be sovereign turns out to be wrong. But Putin is not lying. Putin’s speech is consistent with several previous Russian presidents. Their main statement was, “The collapse of the Soviet Union was a major geopolitical catastrophe in which tens of millions of Russian citizens and compatriots had to be outside Russian territory.
The main contention of Putin’s speech on Monday was that historically Ukraine and Russia were inherently inseparable.
“Ukraine is not just a neighbor country for us. Ukraine is an inalienable part of history, culture, and spiritual space,” he explained.
“For a long time, people living in the southwest, which is historically Russian land, have called themselves Russians.”
For Putin, the present-day Ukrainian state was formed by Bolshevik Communist Russia. Leaders like Lenin, Stalin, and Khruschev began a distinct ahistorical condition called Ukraine. The formation of Ukraine and other Soviet states at the expense of the idea of Russian history. Putin called it the virus of nationalism. When the Soviet Union collapsed, Ukraine and Georgia declared independence. The virus kills its host.
Putin cannot see Ukraine as a real country. There is no national history or tradition about this. He views Ukraine as a playing ground for oligarchs who spread anti-Russian sedition. Western powers have replaced Russian control over Ukraine. In Putin’s view, Ukraine is a puppet state of the West.
A Western-backed government like this would threaten Russia’s survival. He warned that Ukraine would acquire nuclear weapons with Western help, join NATO and eventually become a tool for America’s attacks on Russia.
Putin’s fears don’t end there. He said there was a coup movement against his government. There is a connection between Russian nationalism and Russian security interests. Putin believes that the current Ukrainian government is threatening Russia for reasons related to the past. By enforcing control of Ukraine, Putin believes it is a way of ending the threat.
Military Comparison of Russia and Ukraine
The militaries of Russia and Ukraine are so imbalanced that Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has called on his western allies to do more than impose sanctions on Russia. Here’s a comparison of the military strength of the two countries:
1. Defense and Security Budget
There is a gap the defense and security of the two countries. Ukraine spent only $0.7 billion in 2021, while Russia spent $45.8 billion on nuclear weapons. In 2008, the Russian government modernized its military. Ukrainian weapons Most still date back to Soviet times.
It’s the reason why Ukraine wants to join NATO. Ukraine intends to reorganize the structure of the armed forces and has plans to buy combat plane by 2030. Ukraine also wants to increase its naval capabilities.
2. Armed Forces Personnel
Russia has only 900,000 active armed forces and 2 million reserve personnel. The number is far above Ukraine, with 196,000 active personnel and 900,000 reserve personnel.
In-ground forces, Russia has a two-fold advantage with 280,000 troops compared to Ukraine’s 125,600. The airlift is almost five times stronger.
3. Armaments and Vehicles
There are many things to compare, like attack plane, armored vehicles, and missiles. But Russia has it all. Russia has more than 15.57 armored fighting vehicles. Russia’s fighter plane number 1391, 10 times the number of plane owned by Ukraine’s 128. Russia has submarines while Ukraine does not.
4. Combat Desire
Ukrainian forces have launched several successful counterattacks. The fighting will of the Ukrainian troops to fight is the source of the strength of the armed forces. It is an imposing thing. If Russia manages to seize the Ukrainian capital, it will be difficult for Ukraine to fight back. But if it doesn’t work, then the conflict can drag on. That’s a scenario where Ukraine’s combat will become a powerful weapon.
Ukraine does not have modern combat equipment. When there was a Russian invasion that attacked the whole country, the number and quality of the Armory became important. The Ukrainian air force is currently knocked out. There have been severe economic problems with the modernization of Ukrainian weapons since 2014, so the military lacks modern air and artillery defenses, especially artillery radar and other surveillance equipment to detect enemy movements. This ability is essential for Ukraine to maneuver.