Q What is the context ?
A Thousands of Russian troops have been deployed to stations along Ukraine’s border, sparking fears among Western leaders and Ukraine itself that Moscow is planning an invasion
Q What is the background of the Russia-Ukraine Conflict ?
A USSR disintegration
- Ukraine was a part of the Russian empire for centuries before becoming a Soviet republic.
- It won independence as the USSR broke up in 1991.
- Since then, it has moved to shed its Russian imperial legacy and is in increasingly close ties with the West.
- After the Crimean annexation, both nations have signed ceasefire agreements at Minsk in 2014 and 2015.
Q When the conflict began ?
A Separatist insurgency in Ukraine’s East (by Russian speaking population)
- In 2014, then Russian-leaning Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych rejected an association agreement with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Moscow.
- This sparked mass protests that led to his ouster in 2014.
- Russia responded by annexing Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and throwing its weight behind a separatist insurgency that broke out in Ukraine’s east.
Q When did the armed conflict began?
- More than 14,000 people have died in the fighting that devastated Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland known as Donbas.
- Ukraine and the West accused Russia of sending its troops and weapons to back the rebels.
- Moscow denied that, charging that Russians who joined the separatists were volunteers.
- Earlier this year, a spike in cease-fire violations in the east and a Russian troop concentration near Ukraine fueled war fears.
Q Why is Russia resented over Ukraine?
- Cultural ties defying the conflict: The Russian president has repeatedly described Russians and Ukrainians as “one people” and claims that Ukraine has unfairly received historic Russian lands during Soviet times.
- Influence of the ‘West’: The Kremlin has accused Ukraine of failing to honor the 2015 peace deal and criticized the West for failing to encourage Ukrainian compliance.
- Asylum to rebels: The agreement was a diplomatic coup for Moscow, requiring Ukraine to grant broad autonomy to the rebel regions and offer a sweeping amnesty to the rebels.
- Affinity with the US and NATO: Ukraine’s aspirations to join NATO represent a red line for Moscow.
Q What is American concern over Russian build-up ?
- Buffer state with Russia: Ukraine is a crucial buffer between Russia and the West.
- Heavy troop deployment: Russia hasn’t provided any details about its troop numbers and locations, saying that their deployment on its own territory shouldn’t concern anyone.
- Invasion: Russia is planning to deploy an estimated 175,000 troops and almost half of them are already stationed along various points near Ukraine’s border in preparation for a possible invasion.
- Protection of its ally: Ukraine has been a close ally of the US. Hence, NATO has placed its military infrastructure closer to Russia.
Q What are the Recent developments?
- As it moves a large number of troops towards the border, Russia seeks assurances from the US that Ukraine will not be inducted into NATO.
- However, US President Joe Biden has made it clear that he is not prepared to give any such assurance.
- This has left the countries in a stand-off, with tens of thousands of Russian troops ready to invade Ukraine at short notice, and the West not budging on Russia’s demands.
- Experts believe that Russia is keeping the tensions high at the Ukraine border in order to get sanctions relief and other concessions from the West.