Russia’s expansion in Ukraine

By: Hanna Nam, News Writer

Ukrainian protesters in Ukriane

Protests in Ukraine began on Nov. 21, 2013 as President Viktor Yanukovych rejected the agreement on closer trade ties with the EU, resulting in escalating tensions and the necessary “retreat” of Russian troops in Crimea.

It all began when President Viktor Yanukovych rejected joining the EU due to a $15 billion deal with Russia. The citizens were not fond of this decision, starting violent rebellions. Along with violent revolts, the Parliament voted Viktor Yanukovych out of the presidential seat and voted Olexander Turchynov as the interim president. An arrest warrant was issued for Mr Yanukovych, in which he fled to Russia for safety. 

After Viktor Yanukovych was deposed, relations between Ukraine and Russia worsened dramatically. This resulted in Russia’s parliaments approval of Putin’s request to use military force in Ukraine to “protect Russian interests”. Since then, Pro-Russian forces have taken over Crimea and Kharkiv.

According to BBC news, Russia currently has 2,500 troops in Ukraine. However these troops must remain on base. Russia insists that pro-Russian troops in Ukraine are local self-defence forces, but there are numerous reports that they were from Russia. I believe a political problem has changed into a fearsome military conflict. 

As “Republic of Crimea” recently signed a treaty into the Russian Federation, the fearsome military conflict took another step towards invasion. 

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov states, “We [Russia] have absolutely no intention of, or interest in, crossing Ukraine’s borders”. However, Russia has taken over most of Ukraine’s military bases in Crimea. An officer was killed when a military base was stormed in Crimea on Mar. 16. As an outsider looking in the situation, I feel that this death clearly contradicts Russia’s statements of anti-war. If they continue in this direction I believe that a resulting war will occur.

Moreover, I believe that the most important factor in running a country are it’s people. Many Ukrainians rebelled against the corrupt leader Viktor Yanukovych. This reflects the people’s willingness to overthrow the government if necessary. 

It is true that Ukraine was once part of Russia. However, that does not define Ukraine as an “underling” of Russia anymore. Ukraine should stand firm as a separate country. 

Furthermore, I believe that accepting EU’s “Eastern Partnership” would have created economic growth and closer political ties with other EU countries. This would ultimately would have granted Ukraine a steady future in contrast to relying on Russia to survive. However, since the partnership was rejected, Ukraine was left with anger and emptiness. 

The world appears to have turned against Russia. US Secretary of State John Kerry states that the United State is still considering Russia’s takeover of Ukraine’s Crimea region to be “illegal and illegitimate”. UN and other Europeans countries have warned Russia to ‘back off’.

Russia will need to make necessary changes to improve the time of global isolation and prevent a possible Cold War or even World War.