Ukraine is in the grips of a terrifying sense of deja vu brought on by an increasingly aggressive Russia.
Following the successful ouster of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, the fledgling Ukranian government has attempted to steer its troubled nation in a direction towards joining the European Union. The move has been fought every step of the way by Russian President Vladmir Putin, who views parts of Ukraine as too valuable a strategic location to surrender to the West.
Even so, Russia’s decision to invade Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula over the weekend can be viewed as unjust in that it’s not Russian territory and has not been for decades.
Ukraine has been its own independent nation since 1991, when the parliament declared the country an independent democratic state and elections were first held. This includes the pro-Russia, but ultimately Ukrainian, territory of Crimea.
Scary standoffs @ bases in #Ukraine controlled by Kyiv-loyal troops.Precisely why Russia should allow UN mediators 2 help deescalate #Crimea
— Andrew S. Weiss (@andrewsweiss) March 2, 2014
Ukrainian Defence Minister has told that 11 Russian helicopters and seven Il-76 transport aircraft landed in #Crimea last night. #ukraine
— Tommi S.P Myllys (@TSPMFI) March 2, 2014
What happens if the majority in #Crimea vote in favour of breaking away from #Ukraine surely that should be respected?
— Belfast Republican (@Vivalacastroche) March 2, 2014
Now, nearly twenty three years after the bloody separation that lead to its independence, Ukraine is on the threshold of war with neighboring Russia. Putin received permission from the Russian parliament to send troops to Crimea in a move he claims is meant to protect the ethnic Russians of the region.
It had earlier been speculated that Yanukovych had been hiding in the region in a bid to escape arrest. It has now been confirmed that he is in Russia, hoping to use his connections in Moscow to make a return to power.
The pro-Western citizens of Ukraine are expected to once again march of the capital city Kiev in a display of condemnation against Russia sending soldiers into the country and an affirmation of the desire of the new government to break ties with Moscow and embrace the rest of Europe.
The response to the military aggression of Russia in Ukraine has by the international community has been overwhelmingly negative. President Obama was said to have engaged in a rather heated exchange with with Putin over the phone. The stance of the White House is that Putin’s sending thousands of troops into Crimea was a blatant violation of “Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
Despite Ukraine making preparations for war with Russia, leaders are hoping for the best. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk remained optimistic that war would ultimately be avoided based on the fact that it would jeopardize forever the relationship between the two countries.
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