After some tense weeks, Russia finally launched an attack on its neighbouring country, Ukraine, on February 24, 2022. This was a multi-pronged attack where President Putin sent troops by land, water, and sea, surrounding Ukraine from three fronts. It also attacked Ukraine from Belarus in the north and Russia-annexed Crimea.
While President Putin, in his speech, said that the decision to conduct the military operation was to protect the people of Ukraine. According to Putin, Ukrainians have been subjected to abuse and genocide for eight years. But countries around the world have condemned Russia for the invasion and have started imposing sanctions against it. So, why did Russia invade Ukraine? Here is how it unfolded.
Ukraine was a part of the USSR and one of the most powerful republics. In 1991, Ukraine declared independence and became an independent country. Over the last three decades, Ukraine has struggled with government corruption and protests. Russia had kept a close eye on its neighbour. Russia was looking to expand and resurrect the broken USSR. To deter Russia’s plans, Ukraine tried aligning itself with western countries.
In 2014, the then President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, was impeached. And subsequently tries for high treason and abetting Russian aggression against Ukraine. Russia annexed the Crimea region under the pretext of protecting Russians and Russian-speakers from Ukrainian persecution. While the international community strongly condemned this action, Russia also stirred up dissension in Eastern Ukraine.
While there have been tensions between Russia and Ukraine for a long time, things took a turn in January 2021. Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the President of Ukraine, urged US President Joe Biden to allow Ukraine to be a part of NATO (The North Atlantic Treaty Organization). This is an inter-governmental alliance between American and European countries that ensures the security and freedom of its members using diplomatic and military means.
Russia was already unhappy with the NATO extending its reach into Europe. It had also warned the US to stop including European members in the alliance. With Ukraine showing interest in being a part of NATO, President Putin started sending troops near the Ukraine border in the name of training exercises. Over the year, he gradually increased the number of troops at the border.
By December 2021, international governments had started growing concerned about a war-like situation between Russia and Ukraine. While President Putin maintained that he would not attack Ukraine, US President Joe Biden warned Russia of severe sanctions if there was such an act. Subsequently, Russia sent two documents specifying its security demands. A proposed treaty with the United States and an agreement with NATO. In the agreement, Russia demanded that NATO guarantees that it will halt expanding eastwards. Also, stop offering memberships to former USSR countries, and pull back its military deployments in Eastern and Central Europe.
While Russia and Ukraine had signed a peace treaty to stop the armed conflict in east Ukraine, Russia claims to be sending peacekeepers to the region where the conflict is rife. Many other countries call it an excuse made by Russia to occupy Ukraine.
Also, Read the Economic Impact of the Russia-Ukraine Crisis for Investors
As compiled from multiple reports and media sources, this is the story:
As the fight continues, countries worldwide are condemning the attack on Ukraine and urging Russia to withdraw its troops.
Here are some sanctions imposed against Russia after it attacked Ukraine: