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Tags: ukraine | russia | putin | build up

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Unfolds

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Unfolds

By    |   Sunday, 23 January 2022 02:38 PM EST

Ukraine is Russia’s biggest dilemma. Russia is Ukraine’s biggest nightmare!

As the current situation unfolds, Russian strongman Vladimir Putin has the upper hand and military superiority is on his side. But using brute force in the conflict with Ukraine could trigger further Western economic sanctions and even military hostility.

To understand today’s biggest international crisis, one needs to know the history of these two nations in conflict.

The 21st century Russian Federation is a rebirth of the 19th century Tsarist Empire. In other words, it is a huge territory inhabited by hundreds of ethnic groups held together by an authoritarian government.

Having acquired a diversity of lands and peoples that would not freely want to be together, Moscow has to be on guard. It has to keep an eye on those who are inside the Federation and to make sure that no outsiders threaten its territory.

In 1991, Moscow agreed reluctantly to the dissolution of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Ukraine thereupon became independent and consented to give up its nuclear arsenal inherited from the Soviet Union in exchange for territorial guaranties. This was known as the “Minsk Protocol.”

Russia violated the Minsk Protocol and in 2014, after a brief military strike, and annexed Crimea. Pro-Russian forces also took over two important eastern Ukrainian regions (Lugansk and Donetsk), where the population is heavily Russian.

Since the annexation of Crimea, Moscow has strengthened its military presence in the peninsula and in the Black and Azov Seas. Moreover, it has built a strategic bridge that connects Crimea with the Russian mainland.

Russia then began to complain about NATO activities in Eastern Europe and to denounce the presence of the U.S. Navy in the Black Sea as provocative. In order to counter NATO, Russia also brought some of its warships from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea through the Volga-Don Canal.

In recent years, amid an increasingly aggressive Russia, Ukraine approached the United States and NATO. It asked for guarantees of assistance and, eventually, for membership in the European Union and NATO.

In Moscow’s eyes, however, Ukraine is an essential buffer zone against the West. With President Vladimir Putin lamenting the dismemberment of the USSR and embracing the traditional Russian expansionist mentality, the perspective of Ukraine’s full NATO membership would be an existential threat.

The current situation at the Russo-Ukrainian border is tense and the stakes are high. Neither country is satisfied with the status quo, but the choices are very risky. The important Donbas region of East Ukraine, controlled by pro-Russian forces, is in limbo. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is losing support among the people and must defend his country’s integrity.

For now, it seems that Moscow is mainly posturing, but the true Russian intentions are not clear. A miscalculation could trigger a catastrophe of international proportions. No one knows how the events will play out, but the danger is obvious.

Regionally, the situation between Europe and Russia is complex and the world is confronted with threatening new realignments. With the help of Russia, Belarus has encouraged thousands of Middle East migrants to assail the Polish border and the European Union.

Poland has mobilized its forces with NATO and the EU on alert. The three Baltic countries also feel threatened. And the recent Russo-Chinese economic cooperation and military rapprochement reinforce the international apprehension — and fears of a strike by Beijing against Taiwan.

For the time being, Russia wants to perpetuate the current situation and to keep Ukraine under its thumb. However, things are not static and sometimes they move unpredictably. What if Ukraine does become a NATO member? Then, it will be impossible for Russia to challenge Kyiv without triggering a devastating war.

Waiting, however, is not in Russia’s advantage. Demographically, ethnic Russians are declining and the non-Russians, mostly Muslims, are fast increasing. The continuous emigration to the West of many Russians is not helping the population balance either. This trend will almost certainly renew old conflicts, especially in the unsettled Caucasus region.

Attacking Ukraine now, overtly or covertly, would be risky for Putin and would not bring a lasting solution to the dispute. The war could destabilize Kyiv and even dismember Ukraine, but it would also destabilize the Russian Federation. The current tension will probably be diffused, but the next time around, in about 10 to 20 years, Putin will be gone, Moscow itself will be in disarray, Caucasian Muslims will be asking openly for independence and Ukraine will be ready and capable to fight Russia.

Thus waiting the current situation out is the best course of action for Ukraine.

Nicholas Dima, Ph.D., is a former professor and author of numerous books and articles including the autobiographical memoir "Journey to Freedom," a description of the effects of communist dictatorship on a nation, a family and an individual. He currently lectures.

© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Ukraine is Russia's biggest dilemma. Russia is Ukraine's biggest nightmare!As the current situation unfolds, Russian strongman Vladimir Putin has the upper hand and military superiority is on his side.
ukraine, russia, putin, build up
Sunday, 23 January 2022 02:38 PM
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