Jakarta – The causes of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine are back in the spotlight. Lately, the two countries are indeed in the stage of a high-level crisis so that it is predicted that an invasion could be carried out at any time.
A number of countries including the United States intervened to threaten Russia if it was true that an invasion would be carried out. Even the US and a number of countries sent aid in the form of military equipment to Ukraine if it was true that an invasion plan would be carried out.
Then what is the cause of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine? Janee Meadows summarizes the following information.
Causes of the Conflict between Russia and Ukraine : A Brief History
According to Al Jazeera, some 1,200 years ago, Ukrainians, Russians and Belarusians were born on the banks of the Dnieper River in Kievan Rus, Kievan Rus, a medieval superpower that covered much of Eastern Europe. Even so, Russia and Ukraine are very different in language, history and politics.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly claimed that Russia and Ukraine are one part of Russian civilization, which also includes Belarus. But the claim was denied by Ukraine. Then Ukraine carried out two revolutions, in 2005 and 2014, which rejected Russian supremacy. Ukraine also continues to look for ways to join the European Union and NATO.
Russia also strongly rejected the move and asked Ukraine to “never join NATO or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which at the outset was aimed at countering the threat of Russia’s post-war expansion in Europe.”
Putin was furious at the prospect of a NATO base next to his border and said Ukraine’s joining the US-led transatlantic alliance would mark a red line between the two.
During the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, there were massive protests to topple Ukraine’s pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych. At that time, Viktor rejected an association agreement with the European Union in favor of closer relations with Moscow. During Viktor’s ouster, Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and prompted the outbreak of a separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine. At the time, Ukraine and the West accused Russia of sending troops and weapons to support the rebels. Russia denies this and accuses Russians joining the separatists of being volunteers.
In 2015, with French and German mediators, Russia and Ukraine struck a peace treaty to end large-scale fighting. However, these efforts failed to reach a political solution.
The European Union and the US have imposed a range of measures in response to Russia’s actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, including economic sanctions targeting certain individuals, entities and sectors of the Russian economy.
The Kremlin accuses Ukraine of stoking tensions in the country’s east and violating the Minsk ceasefire agreement.
Why Russia Attacked Ukraine: Timeline of Recent Events
Reported by Al Jazeera, the following is the timeline of the Ukraine-Russia conflict so far:
November 2021 : Satellite imagery shows Russia’s new troop buildup on the border with Ukraine. Ukraine said Russia had mobilized 100,000 troops along with tanks and other military hardware.
December 7, 2021 : US President Joe Biden warns Russia of economic sanctions from the West if it attacks Ukraine.
December 17, 2021 : Russia submits detailed security demands to the West, including that NATO cease all military activity in eastern Europe and Ukraine. Russia also asked NATO never to accept Ukraine or other ex-Soviet countries as members.
January 3, 2022 : Biden assures Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that the US will “respond decisively” if Russia invades Ukraine.
January 10, 2022 : US and Russian officials meet in Geneva for diplomatic talks but fail. Russia reiterates security demands that the US says are unacceptable.
January 24, 2022 : NATO puts troops on alert and strengthens its military presence in Eastern Europe with more ships and fighter jets. Several Western countries began evacuating embassy staff from Kyiv. The US puts 8,500 troops on standby.
January 26, 2022 : Washington provides written response to Russia’s security demands, reiterating commitment to NATO’s “open door” policy while offering “principled and pragmatic evaluation” of Moscow’s concerns.
January 27, 2022 : Biden warns of a possible Russian invasion in February.
January 28, 2022 : Russian President Vladimir Putin says Russia’s key security demands have not been addressed but Moscow is ready to continue talking. Ukrainian President Zelenkskyy warned the West to avoid creating a “panic” that would have a negative impact on his country’s economy.
January 31, 2022 : The US and Russia debate the Ukraine crisis at a special closed session of the UN Security Council.
– US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the council that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would threaten global security.
– Russia’s envoy to the UN Vasily Nebenzya has accused Washington and its allies of waging a war threat, with Russia continuing to deny allegations of an invasion plot.
“Discussions about the threat of war are very provocative. You almost called for this. You wanted it to happen,” Nebenzya said.
February 1, 2022 : Putin denies planning an invasion and accuses the US of ignoring his country’s security demands. “It’s clear that Russia’s fundamental concerns are finally being ignored,” he said.
February 6, 2022 : US media quoted US officials as saying that Russia had built 70 percent of the military build needed to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
February 8, 2022 : French President Emmanuel Macron meets Putin and tells reporters that Russia will not escalate the Ukraine crisis. However, the Kremlin denied that Macron and Putin reached an agreement to de-escalate the crisis. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that “under the current situation, Moscow and Paris cannot reach any agreement”.
February 10, 2022 : British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov hold talks without success. Truss, who warned of harsh Western sanctions if Ukraine was attacked, challenged Lavrov on his assertion that Russia’s buildup of troops and weapons poses no threat to anyone.
February 11, 2022 : Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, says US intelligence suggests a Russian invasion could begin within days, before the Beijing Olympics conclude on February 20.
– The Pentagon ordered an additional 3,000 US troops to be sent to Poland to reassure allies. Meanwhile, a number of countries are calling for their citizens to leave Ukraine, with some warnings that a military evacuation will not be guaranteed in the event of war.
February 12, 2022 : Biden and Putin hold talks via video conference. The US president said a Russian invasion of Ukraine would cause “widespread human suffering” and that the West was committed to diplomacy to end the crisis but was “equally prepared for other scenarios”.
– Putin complained in the call that the US and NATO had not responded satisfactorily to Russia’s demands that Ukraine be barred from joining the military alliance and NATO to withdraw troops from Eastern Europe.
– Yuri Ushakov, Putin’s top foreign policy aide, said that while tensions had been rising for months, in recent days “the situation has been brought to the point of absurdity”. He said Biden mentioned the possible sanctions that could be imposed on Russia, but: “This issue was not the focus during a lengthy conversation with the Russian leader.”