Written by Vedika Pathania, a second-year journalism student
There is a conflict situation taking place between Russia and Ukraine and it could, say some experts, lead to a big war.
We explain it here.
Russia has assembled more than 130,000 troops around Ukraine’s borders. It looks like Russia is about to invade Ukraine. Apart from troops there are also attack helicopters and aircraft and fighter-bomb jets.
India has asked its citizens to leave Ukraine.
First, where’s Ukraine?
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It borders Russia on one side and Europe on the other. Its capital is Kyiv.
Here’s where it is on the globe…
Why does Russia want to attack Ukraine?
Here’s the thing to know..
Russia and Ukraine were both part of the 15 republics (regions) that made up the USSR – which was a country that had many little republics (administrative regions) – and it broke up into smaller countries in 1991.
At this time, Ukraine declared independence and became an independent country.
What’s important to know is that after Ukraine became independent, its western region largely wanted to be more united with Western Europe, while its astern side wanted to have closer ties with Russia.
And Russia always wanted to keep control of Ukraine.
While the history between Russia and Ukraine is a long one, here’s a point that is relevant to what’s happening right now.
In February 2014 there were violent protesters in Ukraine and its Russia-friendly president, Viktor Yanukovych, was thrown out. Around this time something else also happened – Russia attacked and took over the Republic of Crimea, which was a part of Ukraine
OK, so what does Russia want now?
Russia does not like Ukraine’s move towards European institutions – in this case, these are the NATO and the EU. Russia wants a guarantee that Ukraine will not join NATO, that is the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation – a military alliance between 30 states from North America and Europe.
This is the main reason Russia is planning to invade Ukraine.
Why is that a problem for Russia?
If Ukraine becomes part of NATO then it will be a member of a very powerful military alliance. This means that any attack by Russia would lead to conflict with all 30 NATO member nations.
Ukraine is the fourth-largest recipient of military funding from the United States and their cooperation has deepened recently.
Hence, Putin – Russia’s president – finds Ukraine’s alliances and ties with the European Union and NATO a threat to Russia’s security.
What’s the world doing?
Western countries have put their weight behind Ukraine, although some have been more forceful than others. Weapons have been provided by the United States and the United Kingdom, while Germany promises to deploy a field medical centre next month but will not contribute military equipment.
U.S. President Joe Biden has promised a ‘swift’ response if Russia does invade Ukraine
There has also been a lot of discussion about imposing penalties on Moscow. If Putin sends his troops into Ukraine, the US and its European allies have publicly committed to hurt Russia financially like never before.
The situation is tense
As this article is published, thousands of Russian troops seem ready to invade and attack Ukraine.
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