Russia and Ukraine

Some people see the Russia and Ukraine conflict as part of a resurgent geopolitical rivalry between the West and Russia. Ukraine is a former Soviet republic with close links to Russia in terms of culture, economy, and politics. Russia acquired Crimea, a part of Ukraine, in 2014. It is wary of the country becoming increasingly aligned with Western institutions, particularly NATO and the EU.

History of Ukraine and Russian Conflict

In terms of people, economy, and geography, Ukraine is one of the most important successors to the USSR after independence. Both Ukraine and Russia may trace their roots back to the early Orthodox Christian kingdom of Kievan Rus in the Middle Ages. Although the Soviet Union first occupied western Ukraine during World War II. The majority of Ukraine’s land was eventually incorporated by the USSR’s predecessor, the Russian Empire. In December 1991, Ukraine’s leaders joined those of neighboring Russia and Belarus in dissolving the Soviet Union.

After Dignity Revolution, Ukraine has seen significant changes in its society and political milieu. They faced Russian invasion and loss of Crimea region. A separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine backed by Russia, and strengthening of Russian control in the nearby Sea of Azov and Black Sea. Ukraine’s developed military only for territorial defense. They improved their economic growth, implemented reforms, preserved a democratic path, and gained formal independence for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Russia and Ukraine Conflict

In 2019 presidential elections, Volodymyr Zelensky-previously actor and producer- and his Servant of the People party came into power. During Zelensky’s presidency, Ukraine implemented significant economic and governance changes. Albeit with significant resistance and delays, and faced the social and economic impacts of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak.

President Zelenskyy to Power

After assuming power, President Zelenskyy has also worked to re-energize the conflict resolution process in Russia-controlled eastern Ukraine. Also, bringing the situation in Ukraine’s annexed Crimea territory to the attention of the UN and international Powers. Russia, on the other hand, is no closer to enacting a long-term cease-fire or withdrawing its military forces from Ukraine.

From the very outset, Ukraine has also faced Russia’s continued annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea area and sections of eastern Ukraine under President Zelenskyy’s leadership. Russia has bolstered its military presence in Crimea while suppressing civilian protest. More than 30,000 armed Russian troops marched to Crimea. Russia’s armed forces in Crimea include ground, artillery, coastal defense, air defense, and fighter units. Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, located in Sevastopol, has significantly increased its strength and capability.

The annexation of Crimea has gained multiple and divided receptions form all over the world.   Many have criticized Russia’s occupation as a breach of international law and Russia’s own international obligations. Several consider it the violation of international law and in particular of Budapest Memorandum, which both Russia and US signed. Here, they made commitment to respect the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of the existing borders of Ukraine. It also refrains Russia from any military maneuver in Ukraine. The General Assembly, recently, voted, and pass the resolution of nonrecognition, against the annexation of the Ukrainian region of Crimea.

What Form of Government is There in Ukraine?

Many analysts have described Ukraine’s political system as “hybrid,” including both democratic and nondemocratic features. In the nearly 30 years since its independence. According to Freedom House, a nongovernmental organization based in the United States, Ukraine today has a “global freedom” score of 60 out of 100 (“partly free”). It makes one of the highest among the post-Soviet countries that gained independence after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Ukraine has a presidential-parliamentary system. Here, the president shares power with a prime minister chosen by Ukraine’s legislature, the Verkhovna Rada. Commentators often perceive the president as more powerful than the prime minister, when the president’s party controls the legislature. As it does presently (whom the president typically selects in such circumstances). In snap parliamentary elections in July 2019, Zelensky’s new and politically untested party, Servant of the People, won 60 percent of 424 seats. Including 43 percent of the party-list vote and nearly two-thirds of majoritarian seats. It made it the first party in independent Ukraine to win an outright majority of seats in the legislature.

July 2019 Parliamentary Elections Ukraine

What is USA Policy towards Ukraine?

The restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty and the resolution of its war with Russia are critical to de-escalating mounting tensions across the European and Euro-Atlantic area. The US has a crucial interest in both. However, the war in eastern Ukraine is starting to resemble the “frozen conflicts” in Moldova, Georgia, and Armenia/Azerbaijan. Where violent combat was reduced by de facto cease-fires following the Soviet Union’s fall, but no viable long-term conflict-resolution mechanism was developed.

To avoid further harm to European security, escalating human and economic costs, and a danger to Ukraine’s sovereignty, Washington should seek agreement from all parties to participate more directly in an OSCE mediated process. Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, democratic trajectory, and governance reforms have long been backed by the United States. Since 2014, a large number of members of Congress have opposed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Advocated for sanctions against it, and supported increasing economic and security help to Ukraine.

In 2019, the House of Representatives passed articles of impeachment related to suspected presidential activity in Ukraine. In 2020, the Senate acquitted President Trump of the allegations. Within Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders, the US supports its sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the implementation of domestic reforms. Ukraine has been a major recipient of US aid since its independence in 1991. Notably, since Russia’s invasion and takeover of Ukrainian territory in 2014. In Europe and Eurasia, foreign and military assistance is provided.

What started the conflict between Russia and Ukraine?

Many observers agree that, of all the post-Soviet states, Russia’s acceptance of Ukraine’s independence has been the most difficult. Many Russians considered much of Ukraine to be an authentic Russian area, and Ukrainians to be close ethnicity. Russian President Vladimir Putin issued an article in July 2021 that expanded on prior assertions concerning Ukraine’s links to Russia, claiming that Russians and Ukrainians are “one people.”

Prior to 2014, the Russia-Ukraine relationship was troubled by disagreements over Ukraine’s ties to NATO and the EU, the status of Russia’s Crimean-based Black Sea Fleet, and the transit of Russian natural gas via Ukraine to Europe.

Ex-president Yanukovych, by the end of 2013, seemed to make a major move toward the Russia, deferring an association agreement that would have established tighter political and economic links with the EU in favor of hefty financial aid from Moscow. This decision sparked the Euromaidan protests, which later culminated to Yanukovych’s deposition.

In February 2014, Russia attacked Ukraine, immediately after Yanukovych fled to Russia. According to Russian government officials, the Revolution of Dignity is a Western-backed “coup” that might imperil the security of Ukraine’s ethnic Russian minority in Crimea, remove Russia’s Black Sea Fleet from the region, and perhaps bring Ukraine into NATO.

After holding what most observers regard to be an unlawful referendum, the Russian government secretly deployed military to Crimea and declared Crimea to be part of the Russian Federation.

Militants Deployed in Ukraine’s Territory

Militants seized power in a number of cities and villages. Declared two separatist entities, and progressively increased their influence over the two territories. The Ukrainian government and volunteer forces battled back, regaining state authority over a section of each region but suffering heavy defeats, including in fights purportedly involving regular Russian soldiers. According to one study published in 2019, almost half of the pre-conflict population of the Donetsk and Luhansk areas was under Russian proxies’ authority.

The formation of separatist groups in eastern Ukraine may have served many reasons for Russia. The Russian government claimed it was attempting to “defend” the region’s relatively pro-Russian populace. Many experts believe Moscow aimed to confuse Ukraine’s domestic and international policies in order to boost Russian leverage in future negotiations about Ukraine’s future course.

Up till now, the conflict has devoured about ten thousand lives and a number of Ukrainian internally displace people.  Although, the conflict intensity decreased with the pressure from UN and USA, but sporadic fights were continued. A cease-fire in July 2020 resulted in fewer cease-fire breaches and casualties for several months. In March 2021, Russia gathered forces along its border with Ukraine and in seized Crimea, sparking a fresh wave of warfare. Russian troop deployments were large and long-term, which worried Ukrainian and Western governments.

Russia and Ukraine

Who controls Crimea today?

Russia has escalated its military presence in Crimea and crushed local resistance since 2014. More than 30,000 armed Russian troops have been sent to Crimea. Russia’s armed forces in Crimea include ground, artillery, coastal defense, air defense, and fighter units. Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, located in Sevastopol, has significantly increased its strength and capability.

Russia and Ukraine Crimea Region

Much of the international world disputes Russia’s stated annexation of Crimea. Many see it as a breach of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. In which Russia, the United States, and the United Kingdom reaffirmed their commitment “to respect Ukraine’s independence and sovereignty, as well as the country’s existing borders,” as well as the “obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force” against Ukraine. The United Nations General Assembly has voted many times since 2014, most recently in 2020, to maintain Ukraine’s territorial integrity, condemn Crimea’s “temporary occupation,” and reiterate nonrecognition of its annexation.

Conflict Resolution Process Between Russia and Ukraine

Russia and Ukraine are formally involved in a conflict resolution process centered on a package of measures known as the Minsk agreements in eastern Ukraine. Although, Russia refuses to participate in a comparable dispute settlement procedure in Crimea, which it claims to have annexed. In 2014 and 2015, members of the Trilateral Contact Group—Russia, Ukraine, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)—signed the Minsk accords with Russian proxy authorities in eastern Ukraine. The accords are backed by the Normandy Four (or Normandy Format), a larger multinational grouping consisting of France, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine.

Russia and Ukraine Line of Control

The Way Forward

The conflict is unlikely to be resolved for two reasons. First, the various sides’ understandings of the sources of the conflict and the acceptable solutions remain far apart. Even though many in the West recognize that Russia is extremely unlikely to reverse its annexation of Crimea. They are not willing to accept that, recognizing it officially and legitimizing it will be much more difficult. That is even more true for the government of Ukraine. If the territory is not to be returned to Ukraine, a way to legitimize Russia’s annexation will be required for a complete resolution. It does not appear that many in the West or in Ukraine are close to finding that acceptable, in part because doing so could set a dangerous precedent. Second, even if there was a willingness to do so, the damage done to numerous relationships is hard to fix.

Conclusion

To summarize, the link between regime type and foreign policy is not as apparent as many people believe. This is an important point since the goal of the West to spread democracy and Russia’s determination to block it has been a key source of tension. Both approaches have weak assumptions about the relationship between regime type and foreign policy. Breaking the presupposition of a relationship between regime type and foreign policy, ironically, may assist to reduce tensions in the United States and elsewhere. The whole world is in unrest. Russia and Ukraine to the Eastern Europe and Northern Asia and a Cold War in the Middle East. The world is heading towards catastrophe. Concrete measures are required to handle the situation. Otherwise, everything will ends up in Chaos!

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