The question on everyone’s lips is “will Russia win?” The conflict in Ukraine has been a hot topic since the outbreak of the Crimean peninsula crisis in 2014. The Russian military invaded eastern Ukraine, annexed Crimea, and backed pro-Russia separatists in the eastern Donbas region. More than 14,000 people have been killed in this conflict. The 2014 war grew out of mass protests in Ukraine that began over the EU’s withdrawal from trade agreements. In a bid to influence Putin, US diplomats began visiting demonstrations in the east of the country and agitated him. But President Barack Obama did not act immediately and did not mobilize his diplomatic response in Europe.
The pro-Russian unrest started in February 2014 when Euromaidan protests forced Yanukovych to resign. As pro-Russian demonstrations continued to rage across the country, Russian soldiers without insignia took over strategic positions in Crimea and the Crimean Parliament. In addition to annexed Crimea, Russia also triggered war between the Ukrainian military and separatists in the Donbas region.
The recent tension over Ukraine has been simmering for months. On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a speech in which he denied the statehood of Ukraine, and recognized the independence of two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine. This is the first time Russia has publicly endorsed a separatist rebellion in Eastern Europe. In April, it sent peacekeeping forces into eastern Ukraine. But experts say this was likely only the beginning of a larger conflict. The United States and its European allies have warned that the situation in Ukraine is unlikely to end peacefully, and sanctions have been imposed on Russia.