Many Americans do not understand what is at stake in the current Russian Vs Ukraine conflict. Russia is trying to make a bold statement to the West and is waiting for the west to move. If Russia continues to resist, it will be dragging the west down like a thief. In addition, Russia is afraid to have a NATO base near his bother, Ukraine. Ukraine shares a land border with Russia. If they join NATO, Russia will be at risk of falling out of favor and they will be forced to defend their border.
Russia and Ukraine have deep historical and cultural ties. While both have strong ties to Russia, Ukraine is shedding its imperial past and forging increasingly close ties to the West. In early 2014, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych rejected an EU association deal with the EU, prompting massive protests and a coup. Meanwhile, Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula and has supported separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine.
While Russia and Ukraine have been fighting for over a year, they’re still far from a full scale war. Russia has over one million military personnel and they could overwhelm the 2.5 million Ukrainian armed forces. Western sanctions would hit Russia’s economy and Putin’s image at home. In July, Ukraine’s Kremlin-friendly president Viktor Yanukovych was forced from power in a series of mass protests. As the war in Ukraine continues, Ukraine hopes to launch counter-offensives in the south of the country.