RUSSIA-UKRAINE CONFLICT

  • Recently, the US intelligence reports said the tension on the Russia-Ukraine border represents a major security crisis for the region, with the potential to snowball into a broader conflict.
  • Ukraine says that Russia has amassed around 90,000 troops at the border.

Important points:

  • Ukraine and Russia share hundreds of years of cultural, linguistic and familial links.
  • For many in Russia and in the ethnically Russian parts of Ukraine, the shared heritage of the countries is an emotional issue that has been exploited for electoral and military purposes.
  • As part of the Soviet Union, Ukraine was the second-most powerful Soviet republic after Russia, and was crucial strategically, economically and culturally.

Cause:

  • Ever since Ukraine split from the Soviet Union, both Russia and the West have vied for greater influence in the country in order to keep the balance of power in the region in their favour.
  • For the US and the European Union, Ukraine is a crucial buffer between Russia and the West.
  • As tensions with Russia rise, the US and the EU are increasingly determined to keep Ukraine away from Russian control.
  • The unique geography of the Black Sea region confers several geopolitical advantages to Russia.
  • Firstly, it is an important crossroads and strategic intersection for the entire region.
  • Access to the Black Sea is vital for all littoral and neighboring states, and greatly enhances the projection of power into several adjacent regions.
  • Secondly, the region is an important transit corridor for goods and energy.

Protests in Ukraine:

  • Euromaidan (European Square) was a wave of demonstrations and civil unrest in Ukraine, which began in November 2013 with public protests in MaidanNezalezhnosti (“Independence Square”) in Kyiv, Ukraine.
  • The protests were sparked by the Ukrainian government’s decision to suspend the signing of an association agreement with the European Union, instead choosing closer ties to Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union.
  • The Donbass region (the Donetsk and Luhansk regions) of eastern Ukraine has been facing a pro-Russian separatist movement since 2014.
  • According to the Ukrainian government, the movement is actively supported by the Russian government and Russian paramilitaries make up between 15% to 80% of the separatists fighting against the Ukraine government.

Invasion of Crimea:

  • Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in what was the first time a European country annexed territory from another country since World War-2.
  • The annexation of Crimea from Ukraine followed a Russian military intervention in Crimea that took place in the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution and was part of wider unrest across southern and eastern Ukraine.
  • The invasion and subsequent annexation of Crimea have given Russia a maritime upperhand in the region.
  • Ukraine has urged the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to speed up his country’s membership in the alliance.
  • Russia has declared such a move a “red line”, and worried about the consequences of the US-led military alliances expanding right up to its doorstep.
  • The Black Sea is bordered by Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. All these countries are NATO countries.
  • Due to this faceoff between NATO countries and Russia, the Balcksea is a region of strategic importance & a potential maritime flashpoint.

India’s Stand:

  • India did not join the Western powers’ condemnation of Russia’s intervention in Crimea and kept a low profile on the issue.
  • In November 2020, India voted against a Ukraine-sponsored resolution in the United Nations (UN)that condemned alleged human rights violations in Crimea thereby backing old ally Russia on the issue.

Way Forward

A practical solution for the situation is to revive the Minsk peace process. Therefore the West (US and Other western Countries) should push both sides to resume talks and live up to their commitments as per the Minsk agreement to restore relative peace on the border.

SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT

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