After this announcement by the Russian President, the sounds of explosions were heard in other parts of the country including Kief, the capital of Ukraine.
This action from the Russian side comes after Putin’s announcement of scrapping the Minsk peace deal and sending troops to two separatist regions of Ukraine. The reason for sending troops to these states on behalf of Russia has been described as ‘making peace’.
Russia has deployed nearly 200,000 troops along the Ukrainian border in recent months, prompting speculation about an attack on Ukraine.
However, Russia continued to dismiss these speculations. Now that the situation has worsened and the news and pictures of Russia’s attack on many cities of Ukraine have started coming, in such a situation the question comes to everyone’s mind, what does Russian President Vladimir Putin want?
To understand this, we have to go back 8 years i.e. in the year 2014. Then Russia attacked Ukraine. At that time, Russian-backed rebels had captured a significant area in the eastern part of the country. From that time till today, the clashes of these rebels with the Ukrainian army are continuing.
There was also a peace agreement of Minsk to avoid the conflict between the two countries, but even after that the conflict did not end.
Putin argues that for this reason he is forced to send the army. However, the Secretary-General of the United Nations has vehemently rejected Russia’s argument of sending troops to Ukraine’s separatist states for the purpose of “peacekeeping”.
Western countries have already been expressing fears that Russia’s attack on Ukraine is certain. Now Ukraine has claimed that Russia has attacked many of its cities. These cities include the capital Kief, Dnipro and Kharkif.
Recently, the Russian President warned Ukraine that if it did not stop the war action in the eastern part, then it would be responsible for the further bloodshed.
Why is Putin angry with Ukraine?
Russia has long opposed Ukraine’s close ties with the European Union, NATO and other European bodies. Putin argues behind the recent developments that Ukraine was never a full-fledged country, he has also accused Ukraine of being a puppet of Western countries.
Putin wants to ensure that Ukraine does not join NATO. For this, he wants guarantees from Ukraine and other western countries. They demand that Ukraine stop its militarization and not be part of any faction.
Being part of the Soviet Union, Ukraine has a deep connection with Russian society and culture. There is also a good number of Russian language speakers there. But since the 2014 attacks, relations between the two countries have deteriorated significantly.
In 2014, the then President of Ukraine, considered pro-Russian, had to leave power. After this Russia attacked Ukraine.
Why is Russian recognition of separatist areas a dangerous move?
The Luhansk and Donetsk regions with a separatist stance are still ruled by Russia indirectly through its supporters. Putin’s announcement of independent recognition of these areas means that for the first time Russia is admitting that Russian troops are present in this area. This also means that Russia can now build its military base in this area.
According to the Minsk Agreement, these areas were to be given special status by Ukraine, but due to Russian action, this is hardly possible now.
The situation is also considered dangerous because the rebels are claiming not only the areas occupied by Donetsk and Luhansk, but the entire state. The Russian President has also said in his statement, “We have given them recognition. This means that we are validating all their documents.
Russia had been preparing the atmosphere for war for a long time by accusing Ukraine of “genocide” in the eastern part. It has also issued passports for about 7 lakh people in the rebel areas. It is believed that Russia’s intention behind this is to justify the action on Ukraine on the pretext of protecting its citizens.
What will Russia do next?
There does not seem to be any diplomatic solution to this matter at the moment. After the latest action, it is feared that the Russian army may try to overthrow the elected government there by attacking the eastern, northern and southern regions of Ukraine.
For action on Ukraine, Russia can deploy a large number of troops to Crimea, Belarus and near the northern border of Ukraine. But during this time Russia may also have to face resistance, because in the last few years Ukraine has prepared its army better than before. Apart from this, he will also have to face heavy opposition from the public. The Ukrainian army has called in all its reserve members in the age group of 18 to 60 years.
Top US military official Mark Miley says a large number of Russian troops could create a “dangerous” situation in urban populated areas.
However, Russia also has other options. For example, it can declare Ukraine a no-fly zone, block its ports, or deploy its nuclear weapons in neighboring Belarus.
Apart from this, Russia may cyber-attack Ukraine. In January this year, the Ukrainian government’s website was stalled, in mid-February Ukraine’s two largest banks were also targeted.
What options do Western countries have?
Western countries have strongly criticized Russia’s action, calling it illegal. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also condemned Russia’s action, calling it an attack on Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
After the latest developments from the side of the NATO alliance, it has been made clear that they have no plans to send troops to Ukraine. Yes, he has spoken of helping Ukraine through advisors, weapons, and field hospitals.
After all this, it seems that after Russia’s action, the world is now left with the only option of imposing sanctions on it:
Germany has put on hold the approval of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline for the time being.
The European Union is also thinking of imposing tough sanctions on Russia. Russia’s 351 lawmakers can also be targeted, who supported Putin in parliament while recognizing two separatist regions of Ukraine.
The US says it is cutting Russia’s links with Western financial institutions. Apart from this, preparations are also being made to take action against those in high positions in Russia.
The UK is taking action against 5 big Russian banks and 3 billionaires.
However, at present these countries have not announced major sanctions on Russia. The US is tracking Russia’s financial institutions and core industries, while the European Union is eyeing the financial market.
The UK has warned that people close to the Kremlin will not even find a place to hide. It has tried to limit the trade of Russian industries in dollars and pounds.
Economically, the action taken on Russia will cut off its banking system’s connection to international SWIFT payments, but it can also have a great impact on the US and European economies.
Here NATO has deployed 5000 soldiers in the Baltic countries and Poland, apart this, 4 thousand soldiers are also being sent to Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Slovakia.
What’s on Putin’s mind?
The ‘moment of truth has arrived for Russia amid prolonged tensions. Two of his demands are coming out regarding Neto.
The first is that there should be no further expansion of NATO. For this, Putin wants a solid and legally sound assurance.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Rybekov recently said, “It is very important for us that Ukraine should never become a member of NATO.”
Putin has also said that we will not back down, does he really think that we will comfortably watch all this?
In 1994, Russia signed an agreement agreeing to respect Ukraine’s independence and sovereignty, but last year Putin wrote a lengthy article describing Russians and Ukrainians as part of “one nation”.
Now Putin is claiming that Ukraine was formed by Communist Russia. He believes that the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 was tantamount to the breakup of historical Russia.
Putin also argues that if Ukraine becomes part of NATO, then it can try to recapture Crimea.
What did NATO say on Putin’s demand?
NATO currently has 30 member countries and their policy is to ‘keep the doors open to everyone. All these countries are not ready to back down from this policy.
Ukraine has been demanding a clear timeline and the possibility to join NATO. But the then German Chancellor Angela Merkel had categorically denied the possibility of something like this happening in the near future.
It is also not possible to leave membership of any NATO member country.
The Russian President believes that the Western countries had promised in 1990 that NATO would not expand an inch to the east, but this promise has been broken.
By the time Putin is talking about it, the Soviet Union was in existence. This was talked about in the context of East Germany before the then Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.
Gorbachev later said that there was no discussion about the expansion of NATO in this meeting.
Is a diplomatic solution to this dispute still possible?
The US had also proposed discussions on intercontinental missiles, including short and long-range missiles. However, Russia wanted all American nuclear weapons to remain away from Russia’s borders.
Russia has shown a positive attitude to the proposed transparency on missile bases. Of these, 2 are in Russia, and 2 are in Romania and Poland.