There are many rumors going around the world that Russia Invading Ukraine and some people even claim that they have evidence to prove it. But it’s difficult to tell what’s really going on, as each side has its own version of the story. In this article, we’ll break down all of the rumors and tell you what really happened between Russia and Ukraine in 2014, why the conflict started, and where things stand right now.
The Key Players
What Are Russia’s Goals in Ukraine? and What Is an Invasion, Anyway? – The New York Times (blog) Mar 27, 2014. To grasp whether Russia is invading Ukraine and what might happen next, it helps to understand who’s doing what and why. Here are all of your key players to watch as events unfold: pro-Russia militias; pro-Ukrainian militias; Russian troops positioned along its border with Ukraine; armed separatists. Who has seized control of a number of government buildings in eastern Ukrainian cities such as Donetsk and Slovyansk; Ukrainian forces, including army units that have taken up positions on roads leading into Slovyansk to prevent separatist fighters from entering? Did I miss anything?
What Russia Wants
In March 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin privately asked an aide to count how many times in history Russia had gotten involved in a military conflict from which it didn’t emerge victoriously. When told that Russia’s record was zero, he slapped his forehead with his palm in apparent disbelief. So Putin may feel compelled to take over Eastern Ukraine because if he doesn’t, he could lose credibility with both international leaders and domestic citizens. Putin may also be trying to establish a land bridge connecting Russia with Crimea—which is home to a significant portion of ethnic Russians (40 percent)—and thus make it harder for other countries to isolate Russia economically. But these are still speculations based on incomplete information, so there are certainly other possible explanations.
What Happened in Crimea
In early 2014, pro-Russian separatist protests broke out in Crimea after a change of government. It started when Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted and fled to Russia following accusations of massive corruption, leaving Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk as interim leader. However, on February 27, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Crimea and declared it part of Russia. The U.S., EU, and other countries have imposed sanctions on Russia for its annexation of Crimea; Western leaders say it is illegal under international law but Putin has shrugged off these sanctions with his own retaliatory measures against Western nations. To make matters worse for Kiev, separatists in eastern Ukraine have been battling against Ukrainian forces since April 2014; despite a ceasefire agreement signed by both sides, fighting continues today with no end in sight.
By the Numbers
In addition to regular troops, Russia has sent weapons, ammunition and other supplies to help rebels fight Ukrainian government forces. While Russia denies it has sent any military aid, activists who have been inside Ukraine’s rebel-held areas say they have seen ample evidence of a Russian presence. This includes sightings of tanks with Russian numbers painted on them and convoys of heavy weapons moved in from Russia. Satellite images show that since early August, Russia has deployed about 20,000 combat-ready troops on its border with Ukraine, says Alexander Golts, a Moscow-based defense analyst. Several thousand more troops were put on alert after NATO began military exercises in Poland last month.
Is Russia really invading Ukraine? What is going on with all of these troops, and why does it seem like every single day there are news reports that thousands more Russian troops are pouring into eastern Ukraine? And what is Putin’s endgame in all of this if he really is getting ready to attack other parts of Ukraine as well? Could we actually be on the verge of World War 3? If so, how would that happen and how could we end up fighting Russia in a full-blown war? It doesn’t seem possible, but at least for now, things continue to get even crazier in Eastern Europe. So let’s start at square one and try to figure out exactly what is going on over there.
While there are many conflicting stories and opinions out there, as well as reports that Ukrainian soldiers have crossed into Russian territory, one thing we know for sure is that Russia has amassed a large number of troops on its borders with Ukraine in recent weeks. We don’t know what Putin plans to do with them — whether he intends to invade Ukraine or not — but it seems likely that Russia won’t back down on its support of Crimea’s Russian separatist movement any time soon. We’ll be covering all of these developments on Mashable and updating you as we learn more. Stay tuned!