Explaining the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

By 7 April, Russian troops deployed to the northern front by the Russian Eastern Military District pulled back from the Kyiv offensive, apparently to resupply and then redeploy to the Donbas region to reinforce the renewed invasion of south-eastern Ukraine.

The Russo-Ukrainian War was a war that started in December of 2014 and ended in February of 2015. The war was fought between Russia and Ukraine. It is a war that occurred in the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution. This war was fought over the Crimean peninsula which was part of Ukraine.

A group of protesters who unfurled the Ukrainian flag and the inscription "Crimea is Ukraine, Ukraine is Europe" in English at the entrance to the National Museum in Prague to protest against the annexation of Crimea by Russian separatist forces.

Skupinka demonstrantů, která rozvinula u vstupu do Národního muzea v Praze ukrajinskou vlajku a nápis "Krym je Ukrajina, Ukrajina je Evropa" v angličtině, aby tak protestovala proti anexi Krymu ruskými separatistickými silami. Demonstrace se odehrála v předvečerních hodinách a byla organizovaná velice malou skupinkou lidí. Po nedlouhé době vlajka i nápis zmizely.
Demonstrace za Ukrajinu u Národního / Protesters protesting against the annexation of part of Ukraine by Russian separatists. Jan Štěch, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Why Does Russia Want Ukrainian Territory?

The war was fought for a number of reasons. Russia claimed that the Ukrainian government was a fascist dictatorship that was hostile to Russia and sought to take back the peninsula. Ukraine claimed that it was trying to prevent Russia from controlling the peninsula. Russia also claimed that the Ukrainian revolution was a “coup”. The war was a major success for Russia. They took the peninsula back. They also captured a large number of Ukrainian soldiers. Russia also annexed the peninsula. This allowed them to not only control the peninsula, but also the mineral wealth of the peninsula as well. How can it be justified for Russia to take the land? It is a simplistic and invalid argument to make that because Russia is larger and economically more important than Ukraine, and because the Russians invaded Ukraine they automatically own it. This is the logic of colonialism. It is never valid to make this argument, because it ignores Ukraine’s and the world’s point of view. This is a very Imperialistic attitude and it is incredibly ironic because it asserts that Russia is merely defending itself from “fascist-minded” Ukraine but controls the fate and future of a sovereign country and people.

Late at night on March 7, the Interfax-Ukraine agency reported that Russian soldiers stormed the Ukrainian A2355 military base in Sevastopol. The Russians crossed the unit's gate with a KAMAZ truck and tried to get to the headquarters; there was no exchange of fire. In the meantime, the so-called "Support group" in civilian clothes, whose members beat up a few journalists who came to report the event
Ukrainian picket in London on March 7, 2014 Regan1973, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Another point that should be made is that Russia took this land during World War 1, when the soviet union was fighting the imperialist powers of the time. It should be pointed out that although Russia is much more technologically advanced than Ukraine, Russia itself was losing the war at this point. There was nothing that Russia could realistically do about it, since it took over after the collapse of Austria-Hungary, Russia became a new empire to rule over and cover a great portion of land. Because of this, when Germany allowed for Ukraine to be independent in 1918, Russia turned its empire in a direction such that Ukraine became almost entirely absorbed by Russia and the Soviets annexed what is now East Ukraine.


Due to this imperialistic set of values, you are most likely to never hear about these events or discuss them or attempt to analyze them. Because of this, you will not hear any story in which explains the true political issues at play and which normalizes it as if what happened was okay. So as you consider the background of the war, do not look through Ukrainian eyes. Look through Russian eyes. While it is an American and international matter, Ukrainian lives were at stake, as well as Ukrainian troops, not all of whom joined the rebellion, and there were roughly 7,000 civilians who were also killed. If Russia had the right to invade Ukraine because it is in their national interest, look at your own values. Even if there were not the fact of what happened during the war and the hundreds of Russian and Ukrainian soldiers who died because of the war itself, the fact that Russia invaded Ukraine, and many of Russia’s volunteers lost their lives in the Crimea, in Eastern Ukraine, is a huge mis-justification for why this happened.

Crimea (orthographic projection)
Крымский полуостров на карте
Krimhalvön (ortografisk projektion)
Crimea (orthographic projection) The Emirr, Spesh531, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Territorial gains and the annexation of the Crimea

The first problem of what occurred and the reason why many are able to argue for the way it ended is that it started as a great territorial benefit for Russia. It was in December of 2014 that the peninsula became a part of Russia. This first resulted in a power struggle where Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev resigned due to his incapability to quickly remove Crimea from Ukraine. It was this regime in 2014 that annexed Crimea. Despite there being no declaration and not even any acknowledgement of the move, they legally took back control of the peninsula. The peninsula became a joint municipality and allowed for only one political party, called the Autonomous Republic, that was used to exert Russian

Kazantip Festival in the 2000s: sun, sea, sandy beaches, staged palm trees, Kazantip people, parties, parades, days, nights, DJs, trance, house and techno music.

«Республика Казантип – государство тепла и свободы на краю земли и воды». Солнце, море, музыка, хаус, транс, техно, диджеи, вечеринки, дни и ночи, где так легко найти тебя и трудно потерять.
© 17:50, 6 August 2007 Vyacheslav Argenberg

How Did This Whole Thing Start?

The situation in Crimea started around 2013. What they did first was stage a referendum and then claimed that they wanted to be a part of Russia. This sparked many people in the Ukraine to stage protests. These people gathered in a peaceful way, to protest what the government was doing. These protests lead to a revolution and the new government changed the constitution so they could get rid of the president and his clique of people. This meant that there would be a new president and government where the people of Ukraine had a say. The new government would not control the military and they would let people like the new president into the government. But this new government still wanted to keep Crimea and so they proceeded to attack the people of Crimea who they thought were Putin’s soldiers. So these soldiers of Putin then started to attack other countries to try to take control over more land. On December 8, 2014, Russian troops took over the Crimean peninsula, 90 miles inside the Ukrainian border. People in Crimea and also in Ukraine felt very scared about this and the Russian people who were in the area seemed to be very proud of what they did. Many who I spoke to about this think that Russia has become like the Soviet Union that used to rule this region before. Russia took control of Crimea and now Russia has set up many camps of Russian soldiers and their own military at the camps.

In the Donetsk region, a Russian "Точка-У" tactical ballistic missile struck Kramatorsk railway station: there are dead and wounded.
The rocket hit the temporary waiting room, where hundreds of people were waiting for the evacuation train. Police are documenting the consequences of the missile strike and rescuing people together with SES officers. Criminal proceedings have been instituted under Part 2 of Article 438 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (Violation of laws and customs of war).

"Точкою-У" росія вирішила забрати життя та скалічити мирних мешканців Донеччини, які очікували на евакуаційний потяг. На місці поліція документує наслідки ракетного удару та разом зі співробітниками ДСНС рятує людей.
Сьогодні росія вдарила авіацією по залізничній станції у Краматорську. Ракета влучила у тимчасовий зал очікування, саме там перебували сотні людей, які очікували на евакуаційний потяг. Це ще один доказ того, що росія жорстоко, по-варварськи знищує мирне населення України, з єдиною метою – вбити.
Зараз на місці працюють поліцейські, рятувальники, вибухотехніки та медики.
In the Donetsk region, a Russian “Точка-У” tactical ballistic missile struck Kramatorsk railway station: there are dead and wounded. Criminal proceedings have been instituted under Part 2 of Article 438 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (Violation of laws and customs of war). National Police of Ukraine, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

2014 War’s Aftermath

There has been a mass exodus of people leaving Crimea for Russia. Those that have stayed do feel that many who left them behind are coming back and joining up with Putin. Some will remain in Russia in the war zone, others will set up shop somewhere else in Russia to survive in different ways. For the Russian residents of Crimea it does feel like they are getting away from the Ukrainian people who do not like them as they feel that Putin and his people are a bunch of thugs and they can tell that even with the popularity rate of Putin in Russia.

According to a May 26 article in the Ukrainian magazine Defense Express, RF forces in recent weeks have switched tactics away from attacks by massive armored columns attempting a blitzkrieg-style breakthrough of Ukrainian lines, to slower, more methodical attacks using massed artillery to break UAF defenses.
Damages in Mariupol due to war in Donbass and pro-Russian unrest (2014-2015). Andriy Makukha (Amakuha), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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5 thoughts on “Explaining the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

  1. The people who were from the East and the South of Ukraine did not support NATO joining Ukraine. Perhaps the East and the South of Ukraine need to be protected by NATO, and is most of why NATO was set up, at all? We need NATO, the West is spending more and more money, both private, NATO, USA to help these parts of the world; more guns, more bullets. Are the people of Ukraine not even allowed to help their country themselves?

    What would we be like if someone else took our best interests into account, than us. Why do they seem to care about what we are doing in places like Crimea, Serbia, Yugoslavia, to name a few, which once did the job for them

  2. The people from the East and the South of Ukraine are opposed to NATO joining Ukraine because NATO is a multinational, militaristic organization which does not respect any nation, does not respect national sovereignty, does not respect national borders, and does not respect the peaceful development of any nation on the face of the earth.

    When Ukrainian society is told by the West that NATO joining Ukraine is a good idea, then it is clear that the West is actively deceiving the Ukrainian people.

    The same thing happens when the West claims that Ukraine is not on the verge of war

  3. So why is it that people from the West are the only ones who support NATO joining Ukraine?

    Because they have been told by the West that NATO joining Ukraine will benefit Ukraine.

    The people from the East and the South of Ukraine have not been told by the West that NATO joining Ukraine will benefit Ukraine.

    Therefore, the people from the East and the South of Ukraine are not in favor of NATO joining Ukraine.

    If NATO joins Ukraine, the people from the East and the South of Ukraine will be even more opposed to NATO joining Ukraine.

    The people from the East and the South of Ukraine

  4. This revolution was caused by the Russian occupation of Crimea. Ukraine has a long history of issues with Russia, but this revolution was completely different. Instead of Ukrainians complaining about Russia, they wanted to join NATO and be like the Western Europe nations. The only reason for joining NATO was because they wanted to be in the safety of Western Europe. The people wanted to join the world but they were put into an awkward situation where they were bullied into joining NATO and they were told that they needed to be closer to Russia to be safer. So they were lied to and made to feel like they needed Russia. It didn’t help matters that Americans were busy arguing about whether their country should be led by a black man.

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