Here is a little guide on the moment’s hot international news: the possible invasion of Ukraine by Russia, a « will they/won’t they » type of situation that has been lasting forever because of the strategic position of Ukraine, and this before it was even Ukraine.
To speak about more « recent » events: in between the Russian Empire’s fall in 1917 and its integration of the USSR in 1922, Ukraine enjoyed five years of independence before the fall of the USSR in 1991. But Ukraine is also connected to Crimea, a peninsula in between the two nations gathering people from both origins, and of course its own. Transferred to Ukraine in 1954 by the Soviet Union and having since gained a kind of independent status, it has been annexed by Russia in 2014 after the same year’s Ukrainian Revolution that ousted its President, who was becoming close to Russia. Basically, the idea was to prevent any escalation against Russia in Ukraine by seizing an independent province still attached to Ukraine. I know, it’s a headache source of amazement for me too. This annexion is considered illegal by the United Nations, that didn’t really acted on the matter since then.
So why would things start happening now, after all those years? Well, the matter wasn’t really settled. Then, the provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk in the East of Ukraine started to destabilize. As it is majorly Russian-speaking populated, the Russian government started giving them Russian passports and treating them as their own. At the same time, Ukraine started a series of reforms to get closer to the European Union and the rest of the Western world. You add to that the election of Joe Biden at the US presidency, and, well, Putin thought there were limits to how things should go in the world.
He therefore went a little more military on the matter, sending soldiers to the border with Ukraine and then to the East of Ukraine, in the region where he recognized the breakaway regions of Luhansk and Donetsk as independent states. That was yesterday. Today, many European countries imposed economic and diplomatic sanctions of Russia, that still threatens a war, especially since its lawmakers allowed the use of military force outside of the country. All that because Ukraine might be accepted as a NATO member. Jeez Louise, you will tell me! But the threat is real and a lot of European balance hangs in the balance.
The United States have also announced more sanctions, but it is not very likely that any Western power might risk anything by acting militarily. With Putin, there is also a lot of power show off involved, so it’s very tricky diplomatically. It is also hard to predict what might happen on the ground. But in the meantime, as usual, it is entire cities and villages full of people who just want to live in peace that will pay the price, by fear in the best case scenario, by death and loss in the worst once.