Russian Vs Ukraine
Since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia’s relationship with its former ally Ukraine has been a source of conflict and frustration. Despite deep divisions among Ukrainian citizens over Ukraine’s foreign policy, Kyiv pushed to expand its ties with Western institutions, particularly the European Union and NATO.
In the aftermath of the Euromaidan protests that forced President Viktor Yanukovych out of office, Putin portrayed the ensuing turmoil as a Western-backed coup and a threat to the ethnic Russian majority in Crimea. He subsequently ordered a covert annexation of that territory and later justified the ensuing war by alleging that the U.S.-led alliance had crossed a line and was trying to destroy Russia’s superpower image.
The Kremlin’s escalating war with Ukraine has taken the world by surprise, and many experts believe that it is a strategic blunder by Vladimir Putin. It has weakened his long-standing rule, while also creating international tensions that could lead to a nuclear conflict.
Ukraine is now the largest armed conflict in Europe in almost six decades and has led to an enormous refugee crisis, with over 8 million Ukrainians fleeing to Europe. The fighting is a war of attrition that has drawn heavy losses on both sides and is likely to continue for several months. As the war progresses, however, Ukrainian soldiers are gaining momentum and showing that they are not easily defeated. They have won major victories in the south, including a recent victory in Kherson city. They are threatening to drive the Russians out of the rest of Donbas, but whether they can do that remains uncertain.