Russian Vs Ukraine Crisis

Invasion, Crisis, Conflict

Since Russia’s annexation of Crimea and military intervention in eastern Ukraine, the country has become Europe’s bloodiest battlefield. The war has shattered peace in Ukraine and around the world, and created immense human suffering. It also increases the risk of a great-power confrontation with America as Moscow shifts forces from the Middle East to Ukraine.

The Russian leadership has miscalculated on both fronts. It misread Ukraine’s electoral politics when it openly backed pro-Russian candidate Viktor Yanukovych in 2014 and, after the Orange Revolution, President Petro Poroshenko, a pro-Western figure whose campaign was centered on bread-and-butter concerns. And it misread the motivations of many pro-Russian fighters, who may have financial or other reasons for joining the battle but also seem to be committed to the idea of an “all-Russian” nation and belief that the “fascists” in Kyiv will drag them away from this history.

In areas they occupy, Russian and Russian-affiliated forces have committed a litany of violations of international humanitarian law, such as the indiscriminate bombing and shelling that killed or injured thousands and destroyed civilian homes, hospitals, and schools. These attacks should be investigated as possible war crimes.

Moreover, Russia’s pre-invasion propaganda misread Ukraine’s cultural and linguistic landscape. Although Ukraine has a distinct and robust sense of national identity, the deposed president Yanukovych and Belarusian leader Aleksandr Lukashenko, both Russian speakers, promoted a supranational consciousness that drew on Russian mythology and embraced close economic, and even political, integration with Russia.