The world’s worries are well-founded. Russia finally carried out a massive military attack on Ukraine, Thursday (24/2/2022). Last week, signs of a military offensive were echoed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. He asked Ukrainians to raise the state flag from buildings and sing the national anthem in unison on Wednesday (16/2/2022) last week.
Today, Russian President Vladimir Putin deployed troops to attack a number of cities in Ukraine. The sound of sirens in several cities including the capital Kiev was heard wailing. Loud explosions from Russian military weapons scorched a number of Ukrainian military installations. Temporary data 8 Ukrainian citizens died. It is estimated that the number of victims continues to grow and thousands of people have been displaced.
So what is the root of the problem between Russia and Ukraine?, What caused Russia to attack Ukraine?
As is well known, the area now called Ukraine, Russia and Belarus was part of Kievan Rus. Kievan Rus was a medieval superpower centered on the banks of the Dnieper, almost 1,200 years ago. But Russia and Ukraine have different languages, histories and politics.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly claimed that Russia and Ukraine are “one“, part of a “Russian civilization” that also includes neighboring Belarus. Meanwhile, Ukraine rejected Putin’s claim. Ukraine experienced two revolutions in 2005 and 2014. Both rejected Russian supremacy.
Ukraine is instead looking for a way to join the European Union and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Putin is furious about the possibility of a NATO base on its borders if Ukraine joins the alliance. Because NATO is a military alliance founded by the Western bloc’s rivalry with the Soviet Union and its allies after World War II.
NATO members are filled with American allies such as Britain. 2014 Russian-Ukrainian conflict, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has actually been going on since 2014. At that time, Ukraine overthrew the pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych.
Yanukovych’s ouster caused a conflict in the Ukrainian government which was divided into two groups, namely supporters of the European Union and supporters of Russia. Putin has also used the power vacuum to annex Crimea and support insurgencies from separatists or Russian supporters in the southeastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk.
Russia’s interference in the Ukraine issue is based on political and economic interests.
Russia wants to use Crimea’s strategic geopolitical location to strengthen its influence in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has turned into the hottest war in Europe. And approximately killed more than 13,000 people and displaced millions.
During the 2014 Russia-Ukraine conflict, the Ukrainian military was under-equipped and demoralized, while the rebels had Russian “consultants” and weaponry. But in the current Russia-Ukraine conflict, Ukraine is much stronger militarily and the thousands of volunteers who helped oust the separatists are ready to do it again.
Ukraine buys or receives advanced weaponry from the West and Turkey, including Javelin missiles which have proved lethal to separatist tanks. As well as the Bayraktar drone which played a key role in last year’s war between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Meanwhile, Ukraine has been pushing for domestic development and production of weapons some of which are as effective as Western weapons.
Economic dimensions of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine
Apart from ideological and political reasons, there is an economic dimension to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Putin has desperately forced Ukraine to become a member of the free trade bloc, the Russian-dominated Eurasian Economic Union (EAEC). Several former Soviet Republics and is widely seen as the first step towards reincarnating the Soviet Union.
With a population of 43 million and strong agricultural and industrial output, Ukraine was supposed to be the most important part of the EAEC after Russia, but Ukraine refused to join. According to Paul Krugman’s model of economic theory, to create a self-sufficient market, one needs a population of about 250 million. Thus, Ukraine and Uzbekistan (with a population of 34 million) need to be included in the “reincarnation of the Soviet Union“.
That’s why there is a permanent geo-political war around these countries including triggering the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Ukraine’s economy sank after cutting ties with Russia, once its biggest economic partner. But seven years after the conflict, the recession ended, as world prices for grain and steel as Ukraine’s main exports began to skyrocket, thereby restoring the U.S. economy.
That is an explanation of what is wrong with Russia and Ukraine and the causes of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.