It’s been 77 years since we witnessed a horrendous war, which gave us nothing but an uncountable number of deaths of innocent civilians, large-scale destructions, and the formation of new and independent countries. It also led to the creation of two major blocs-NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) and WARSAW, made with the very aim to rule the global political world order and help their allied countries. NATO consists of the United States with several other European countries and Warsaw which in turn became the Soviet Union and Russia holding the throne since the start after its disintegration
A constant power tussle for the simple reason of establishing their dominance and power in the global political arena between these blocs led to the creation of a cold war-like situation and gradually came the fall of the Soviet Union which is 1999 which has been recorded as a historic moment in modern-day politics, as this one event had the power to change the entire world order but at the same time end the never-ending cold war between the two countries but most importantly declaring The United States the unsaid winner of the cold war. The fall of the Berlin Wall which led to the disintegration of the Soviet Union distributed the entire Soviet Union into several countries, each with different aspirations of being a democratically led country or still being under the dominance of Russia. This disintegration and border creation led to an unwanted situation where the most powerful country out of all of the post-Soviet nations- Russia, led it dominating and acquiring more and more land from nearby countries. The very same situation is present in front of the entire world again, but now with the grave possibility of a war, between the two neighbouring countries, Ukraine and Russia.
Ukraine which has always aspired to be a democratically run post-Soviet nation shares more than 270 miles of its border with Russia. The most important part to notice here is that Ukraine aspires to be a democratic country, hence believes in the very idea of democracy and people getting their due fundamental rights, which is an idea opposite to the country it shares such a long borderline with. The reason behind this newly emerging war is hidden in the emergence of separatist and rebel groups in the eastern region of Ukraine which majorly shares its borderline with Russia. This region is further divided into two parts- Luhansk and Donetsk. The emergence of separatist groups in these two regions is due to the political uprising of 2014.
2014- A YEAR OF DEMOCRATIC UPRISING
In the year 2014, there was a popular uprising known as the ‘Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine for overthrowing the dictatorial and pro-Russian president, Victor Yanukovych. The aspiration of being a democratically run country and being able to practice one basic right in the society they live in led to this labelled worthy countrywide uprising. The massive amount of corruption done by the Yanukovych-led government, where they looted around $100 billion from the country, hence made the Ukrainian economy hanging by a thread and on the verge of falling to bits and pieces. Another reason for the uprising was the presidents aim to merge with Russia or rather be a puppet of the Russian government. During his rule, he took every step possible which was in favour of Russia. protests which were mainly focused in the capital city of Kyiv slowly spread to other regions of Ukraine which also included the eastern region which constitutes the pro-Russian population of Ukraine. With the ongoing uprising and increasing tensions between Ukraine and Russia, the Minsk Agreement was signed which was to be expired on 21st February 2022 and was created to bring peace in the Donetsk region by a ceasefire between the two nations.
WHY IS RUSSIA INVADING UKRAINE?
Russian troops have been invading areas near Ukrainian borders since late 2021, a very recent example of this is the invasion of Crimea. Even though, Russia started deploying a large number of troops but repeatedly denied the fact that it was going to attack any time soon. A major reason why Russia is moving big steps towards Ukraine is that Ukraine being a democratic country, aspires to be a member of the NATO-led alliance and gradually be a part of the European subcontinent. Ukraine joining NATO can turn out to be a black spot on Russia’s plan of capturing lands nearby as joining NATO would not only give Ukraine economic and political stability along with a say in global politics but at the same time, an opportunity to take back Crimea with the help of NATO-led armed forces and help from other NATO allies as well. Lastly, Russia has now recognized the independence and sovereignty of the Donetsk Peoples Republic and the Luhansk Peoples Republic both as independent countries which are supported by Russia and have been provided military support, financial aid as well as covid-19 supplies including vaccines.
In December 2021, the Russian government put out certain demands for both The United States and NATO, to cease any form of military activity in the eastern part of Europe and Central Asia, to prohibit any type of NATO expansion towards Russia, and most importantly prevent Ukraine from joining NATO. As a part of the planned invasion, the attack was started right after the Minsk Agreement expired and on 24th February, Russia launched a full-scale military invasion into Ukraine and is now slowly progressing towards the capital city of Kyiv. The Russian army has captured Ukraine from all 3 directions and has been constantly heading towards the central part of Ukraine.
UKRAINE VS RUSSIA – MILITARY COMPARISON
If one was to compare the strengths of both Ukraine and Russia, Russia would be in every sense talking the lead due to not only having quadruple the amount of weaponry but most importantly it having twice the army size when compared to Ukraine.
Globally, the recent actions taken by Russia are not being taken in good light and many countries have started reacting to it and are taking appropriate actions. Even though Ukraine is not yet a part of NATO, it has still deployed its troops in its member countries like Poland and several others that can be sent to Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, and Slovakia but has not yet agreed to deploy its troops in Ukraine itself. Countries like the USA, UK, and Germany have already their first round of economic sanctions which would not only affect the Russian economy but at the same time affect the oligarchic businessman of Russia since a majority of decisions are taken under the influence of this rich business since they contribute a major part to the country’s economy. The UK has put sanctions on 5 Russian banks, the USA has sanctioned the two largest banks of Russia but the most sanctions imposed were by Germany, where they have stopped oil imports from the Nordstream pipeline which holds almost 50% of Germany’s oil supply.
IMPACT ON INDIA
India is a very close ally of Russia since its independence, bringing India in a very tough position where it has to not only uphold its values of non-violence and maintaining peace but at the same consider the fact that Russia provides for a major part of imports in the military sector. In the recent Security Council meeting held by Russia itself, India where it found itself in a very tough situation took a very neutral and balanced approach and sustained from voting for or against a war.
IMPACT ON INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW
Its been highly feared that this war might turn out extremely deadly and leave behind thousands of casualties and a country completely ruined and a potential refugee crisis. Economic and social rights have already suffered a setback. The right to healthcare and an appropriate standard of living in Ukraine is being harmed by rising prices for basic commodities and goods, including medical supplies. Schools have been closed frequently over the last two weeks due to security concerns, affecting the right to education. Russia-backed separatist fighters, as well as Ukrainian forces, breached international humanitarian law by employing imprecise explosive weapons in populated civilian areas during the current conflict in eastern Ukraine. They also used residences and civilian infrastructure to station and discharge these weapons.
Any type of war can have devastating effects not only on the country and its people but also on other external factors like the country’s economy and its resources. A full-blown war over a territorial dispute can be deadly in every way imaginable and surely affects other countries as well, therefore a war should be prevented at any cost possible.
Author(s) Name: Suhani Singhal (Nirma University, Ahmedabad)