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From Past to Present: The Russia-Ukraine Conflict Unveiled
Unraveling the Russia-Ukraine Dispute: Tensions, Annexation, and Ongoing Struggle for Sovereignty
There is a sort of running list of top stories around the world. For what seemed just shy of an eternity, it was exclusively COVID. The story that seems to have replaced it, though with a diminishing velocity lately, has been the situation (to resort to euphemism) between Russia and Ukraine.
One can’t say with absolute authority where they would place the genesis of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. While it was February 24th of last year that Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, its political underlay can be traced back much further than that.
It was as far back as 1991 when Ukraine officially declared its independence from Russia following the long-awaited collapse of the Soviet Union. This pronouncement was asserted “after nearly 70 years under Moscow's control”.
There was a hotly contested and much-protested election in 2004 known to history as the “Orange Revolution,” in which the election victory of Viktor Yanukovych (a man who was staunchly pro-Russian) became marred by allegations of rigging. Following this, the pro-Western ally, Viktor Yushchenko, was elected President of Ukraine.
In 2008, NATO promised Ukraine that it would one day “join the Western defense alliance”. Thus, in addition to Ukraine’s seat in the United Nations, the international community recognizes the sovereignty of Ukraine and the axiomatic necessity to defend that sovereignty.
The pro-Russian Yanukovych wins the election as President of Ukraine in 2010 and attempts to reestablish economic relations with Moscow, while also suspending trade discussions with the European Union (EU). This leads to protests on both fronts in Ukraine’s Capital, Kyiv.
Between 2014 and 2017, after a soiree of sanguinary conflicts and trade agreements that could scarcely be covered in an entire book, let alone an article, Yanukovych was removed as president, and in 2019, the now world-renown figure of Volodymyr Zelenskyy was elected President of Ukraine.
From this, the salient points will probably be, more or less, known. After a ramp-up, thanks to Vladimir Putin, of Russian forces at the border of Ukraine and an appeal on the part of Zelenskyy to join NATO, according to FirstPost, Russia ordered “special military operations” in Eastern Ukraine. These included missile and artillery attacks, one of which was “an apartment building in the city of Dnipro, killing 45”.
Per Reuters, it was only a few days prior that Putin went on television and said, “Ukraine is an integral part of Russian history and has a puppet regime managed by foreign powers.” This alone should lay to rest any doubts as to Putin’s motivation. He wants to annex Ukraine to a greater Russia, thereby not recognizing its sovereignty and consequently placing a mandate on the international community. A slew of sanctions against Russia would follow but that has not lessened Putin’s determination.
There have been some optimistic, or at least not wholly pessimistic, developments of late. Courtesy of some assistance from the United States and Germany, this past Sunday President Zelenskyy announced “significant results”. According to Reuters, these results were “thanks to U.S. Patriot and German IRIS-T defense systems”. Zelenskyy also heartily added that “Ukraine had shot down ‘a significant part’ of Russia's attacks over the past week, including 65 missiles of various kinds, and 178 assault drones, including 87 Shaheds.”
Additionally, it was reported by Newsweek just earlier Wednesday that “a Russian armored vehicle kitted out with wooden logs for additional protection has been targeted by a Ukrainian drone close to the front lines in southern Ukraine”.
In a viral video making rounds on the internet, a Russian BMP-3 tracked infantry fighting vehicle is seen with wooden logs affixed to its sides. The vehicle seems to be targeted by a Ukrainian suicide drone, often referred to as a "kamikaze" drone.
The video was shared by a source mentioning that the incident took place near the village of Robotyne, situated in the southern Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine, which is currently under Russian control and subject to territorial dispute.
Finally, and in many ways, most significantly, it was also reported earlier Wednesday that the U.S. Department of State is set to unveil a fresh military aid package destined for Ukraine. The aid package “will be the start of the use of US$6.2 billion that ‘appeared’ after the reassessment of the value of aid previously provided to Ukraine”.
It does seem that the international community, particularly the United States, knows what its mandates are, if not by dint of the United Nations, at least by resisting bullies where they might be.