The Ukrainian Conflict, From Crimea To Now

Recent tensions have been heating up between Ukraine, their North Atlantic Treaty Organization(NATO) allies, and the Russian Government.  For years, Russia has been placing heavy pressure on Ukraine, especially with the forced ‘annexation’ of Ukrainian Crimea in 2014 by the Russian Federation. Russian forces took over all of the Crimean peninsula due to the (clearly Russian-Backed) heavy separatist movements that had begun to revolt in the peninsula, and all of them were pro-Russian annexation. After unmarked convoys of Russian troops moved into Crimea, the Russian Legislature in Moscow officially adopted a resolution to “Take Military Action” in Crimea and announced their annexation of the peninsula and all cities inside of it. Ukrainian military assets were allowed to leave the Peninsula peacefully but were harassed and attacked by pro-Russian Separatists on their way out.

Russian Armored Convoy moves through Crimea towards the Ukrainian Border (Associated Press)

After the Russian annexation of Crimea, another two Separatist groups calling themselves the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) rose in the Donbas region in Far-Eastern Ukraine, calling for local independence and autonomy from the central Ukrainian government in Kiev. The Ukrainian military responded with force, sending large amounts of troops to attempt and quell the uprising, which resulted in a Civil Insurrection from the DPR and the LPR (from now on I will be referring to both insurrections as their acronyms for the sake of brevity). 

Since the start of the conflict between the Ukrainian Government and both groups, there have reportedly been 29 ceasefires between all groups, all 29 of which have been violated and resulted in continued conflict. The Russian military, including Special Operations groups such as SPETSNAZ and GROM were allegedly involved with the insurrections, providing support and ground troops to fight against the Ukrainian government. All allegations and evidence of which has been denied by the Russian government as false lies to demonize the Kremlin’ in some interviews.

Ukrainian soldier from the 92nd Battalion moving to defensive positions in a ruined mine (Erik Messori/CAPTA/Al Jazeera)

Considered the most important battle of the War in Donbas, the Battle of Donetsk International Airport, an airport of supply and location vitality to the Ukrainian Government and DPR, resulted in the airport being almost completely raised, and a joint DPR and LPR force occupying the ruins of the airport after the series of battles to try and seize the airport. In the end, the Ukrainian government failed to take full control of the airport, and as a result the conflict shifted in favor of the Separatists.

After the battle, the conflict began to turn into a stalemate, with neither side being able to achieve victory over the other. The conflict is still quite active today, and the Russian government has taken a more public role in it. However, the Russian government has recently begun mustering large armies across the Ukrainian border, including in Belarus, with unmarked armored vehicles moving throughout the Ukrainian border and putting up positions on the border itself. The Russian Government claims many of these convoys are not Russian-Affiliated, however some journalists were able to discover numbers on the sides of some trucks that said trucks were carrying KIA (Killed in Action) Russian troops across the Ukrainian border and back into Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaking on the developments in Ukraine (Christina Pazzanese/Harvard Gazette/Associated Press)

The United States Government under President Joe Biden was quite reserved with their deployment of troops to support Ukraine, as Ukraine is both an European Union (EU) Member state and NATO Member, and any member of NATO that is attacked will, by NATO law, be defended by all member countries that are of adequate military force to help defend. British, French and German assets have all relocated to Ukraine recently in reaction to Russian armies mustering on Ukraine’s Belorussian, Russian, and Crimean borders, including in the contested reaches of Far-Eastern Ukraine with the Russians. Developments are moving quickly in Ukraine, and the situation has become volatile. It remains to be seen if the EU and NATO will actively defend Ukraine from Russia or not.

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