The Origins of the Russia-Ukraine Conflict

Nicholas Maspons ‘22

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has existed for years. Tensions have risen more than ever with the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. This issue is being covered by practically every media outlet and is certainly the most spoken of conflict today. Although new reports are being released about this continuing situation on a daily basis, it is important to take a step back and understand the events that led to this ongoing matter. 

Corruption was prevalent within Ukraine’s government, particularly during Petro Poroshenko’s time as president. His presidency ended in 2019 as Volodymyr Zelenskyy replaced the pro-Russian politician. 

An event that has built up tension between Russia and Ukraine and foreshadowed what was to come in the next years was the annexation of Crimea by the Russians in 2014. The peninsula was taken without a fight and has a significant Russian population, similar to how it is in the mainland. It is under Russian control but is still recognized as part of Ukraine by the majority of countries around the world. 

Ukraine was once part of the Soviet Union before its fall. However, following the collapse, Ukraine declared its independence and became a country in 1991. However, Putin wants to reclaim the land, likely in an attempt to restore the USSR. Russia had already taken steps in the past to take over Ukraine back in 2014 through the annexation of Crimea, which has led to the conflict that exists today. 

Ukraine has been unable to join NATO in the past, and it is extremely unlikely that it will be able to do so now, as joining is a lengthy process. Viktor Yanukovych, a former president of Ukraine, decided to keep the country out of NATO. Even if he wanted Ukraine to join, one country not approving of Ukraine joining the alliance would lead to Ukraine being rejected, making the process of joining difficult. Since Ukraine is not in NATO, Russia can invade without other countries being obliged to help defend Ukraine. If Ukraine were to have joined, Russia would not invade as they would be going against the military of the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and more.