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.
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.
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.
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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.
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
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.
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.