A Brief Background on Russia Ukraine Conflicts and Current Developments

Russian+troops+along+the+Ukrainian+border.+Ukraine%E2%80%99s+defense+minister+claims+that+Russia+still+does+not+have+enough+troops+for+a+full+takeover+of+the+country.+

Photo Taken From The Guardian

Russian troops along the Ukrainian border. Ukraine’s defense minister claims that Russia still does not have enough troops for a full takeover of the country.

The relationship between the US, Ukraine and Russia is a long and highly complex one, and in recent years, tensions have risen globally.  

The relationship between Russia and Ukraine, the bordering Eastern European country, dates back hundreds of years. Before their eventual independence in 1991, Ukraine was first a part of the Russian Empire, and then the subsequent USSR. 

In 1954, when Russia and Ukraine were still combined, Russia gave Ukraine the small territory of Crimea with little published reasoning as to why. 

“The cession of Crimea was a ‘noble act on the part of the Russian people’ to commemorate the 300th anniversary of thereunification of Ukraine with Russia,’” Russia said. 

13 years after its independence, tensions between Ukraine and Russia rose again when Russia made the decision to invade and annex Crimea. 

Current map of Russia and Ukraine. The ownership of Crimea remains unsure after Russia’s illegal annexation in 2014. (Photo Taken From The Conversation)

In the illegal annexation, Russia backed pro-Russian separatists and sent in their own troops (though they deny any involvement in the violence.) Currently, Russia holds its claim over Crimea based on the fact that the population of the peninsula is comprised of a majority population of ethnic Russians. 

While the US initially held off on providing any lethal aid, the Trump administration sold Ukraine around $47 million of antitank missiles. 

The United Nations has continuously denied Russia’s annexation and worked to ensure Ukraine’s complete independence. 

In the past weeks, the United States issued a proposal to the Russian government aiming to de-escalate tensions between Russia and Ukraine. 

An anonymous US official said that Russia had responded, but that the details of that response would remain secret for the sake of friendly negotiations. 

“We remain fully committed to dialogue to address these issues and will continue to consult closely with our allies and partners, including Ukraine,” the official said. 

Despite the US official’s information about a response from the Russian government, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov denies these claims.

“Russia has not given an answer to what seems to be the main problem nowadays,” Peskov said. “The answer is still being prepared.”

French President Emanuel Macron arrives in Russia for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Macron hopes to de-escalate the situation between Russia and Ukraine. (Photo Taken From The New York Times)

Despite US efforts to de-escalate the situation, the prospects are grim. 

“An invasion of Ukraine could happen at any time,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said. 

With Russia gathering more than 100,000 troops at the Ukrainian border and issuing a long list of demands, other countries are getting involved with the hopes of slowing or stopping the invasion.

French President Emanuel Macron, in a bid to defuse the situation, is meeting with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin for diplomatic discussions. 

“The security and sovereignty of Ukraine or any other European state cannot be compromised, just as it is legitimate for Russia to raise the question of its own security,” Macron said.

Despite Macron’s efforts, Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov is not optimistic about the meeting. 

“The situation is too complex to expect decisive breakthroughs in the course of one meeting,” Peskov said.

The world is watching closely as tensions between Russia and Ukraine stay high, but whether Russia will actually take the final step of invasion remains up in the air.