Russia has launched a massive attack on Ukraine, which is a democracy with around 44 million people. Russian troops are closing in on the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, and resulting a mass exodus of refugees. The growing number of people killed in Ukraine has raised concerns that Russia might break the peace in Europe.
Why is Russia invading Ukraine?
In a pre-dawn TV address on February 24, Vladimir Putin declared that Russia could no longer be safe due to modern Ukraine’s constant threat. He ordered Russian troops to enter Crimea at first. Russia refused to use the terms war or invasion. Instead, Putin claimed that his actions were aimed at protecting Ukraine’s citizens from the country’s genocidal tendencies.
In Ukraine, former President Viktor Yanukovych has quoted that “How could I be a Nazi?” as he is a Jewish person, after being called as the Naazi leader. He has led the country’s democracy before he was overthrown of his position after the Ukrainian revolution in 2014.
Ever since Ukraine’s pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych was removed in 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the country of being taken over by extremist groups.
In 2021, Russia started deploying large numbers of troops near Ukraine’s borders. Vladimir Putin denied that it was going to attack, but he recognized the regions that are under rebel control as independent states.
How far will Russia go?
It is now clear that Russia is intent on seizing Ukraine’s major cities and overthrowing the elected government of President Zelensky. Russia’s stated objective is to liberate Ukraine from oppression and restore its reputation as a peaceful country.
His long-term goals for Ukraine are not known. He has denied seeking to usurp the country and rejected the UK’s accusation that he was planning on establishing a pro-Kremlin puppet.
Before the invasion, Russia’s public image was focused on the separatist regions held by the Russian-backed rebels in the east. After recognizing their independence, President Putin stated that he would support their claims to more Ukrainian territory.
How dangerous is this for Europe?
As Ukraine’s war rages on, thousands of people are fleeing their homes across the country’s border. The growing number of people displaced by Russia’s assault has prompted the European Union to warn that the situation could get worse. In February 2022, a hospital in Kyiv was transformed into a bomb shelter. It was placed in the basement of a hospital after Russia’s leader threatened to launch nuclear strikes against the West.
The events that happened in Ukraine are deeply disturbing for the entire continent. For European leaders, this is considered a turning point in their history, with the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz warning that Vladimir Putin wants a Russian empire.
For the families of the soldiers and the civilians caught up in the Ukraine war, these are very anxious days. The country’s military has already called up thousands of reservists. Russia’s invasion was approved by the upper house of parliament.
What can the West do?
Although the alliance has made clear that it does not plan to send combat troops to Ukraine, it has deployed thousands of troops in the country’s Baltic states and Poland and is building up its rapid reaction force.
Instead of direct war and killing people, the West has tackled Russia in economic ways-
➧The US, UK, Canada, and Japan have blocked Russia’s banks from using the Swift network,
which enables the quick transfer of money across borders.
➧The airspace of Russian airlines has been closed.
➧Germany has halted approval for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would have brought
Russian gas to Europe.
➧The Kremlin-controlled Sputnik and Russia Today are also being banned across the EU.
➧Neither will Russian national football team can take part in FIFA world cup tournament nor
can Russian football clubs can compete in European championships anymore.
What does Putin want?
In Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel’s words, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin wants to take over Europe. Putin has referred to Ukraine as a puppet state that was created by the Soviet Union. He has also accused the West of trying to control the country. He has also demanded that the alliance reverse its eastward expansion and remove its forces from member states that joined in 1997. He has also warned that Russia might retaliate by deploying weapons near its borders.
NATO is a defensive alliance that its members are adamant about maintaining. Ukraine’s president wants a definite timeline, but Germany’s chancellor has made clear that the country will not join for a long time. In 1990, the West told President Putin that NATO would not expand its territory to the east. However, since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the alliance is claiming they have only talked about East Germany at that time, resulting in a massive misunderstanding in Geo-politics.
Is there any way out diplomatically?
Even if the two parties have held talks on the border, there’s little chance of a comprehensive agreement. Russia has insisted that Ukraine would not surrender its military equipment. Ukraine also wants to retain its independence from the West.
The US had proposed to start talks on a new treaty that would limit the number of missiles and the locations of missile bases. Russia had also demanded that the US remove its nuclear weapons from territories beyond its borders.