What is the reasons behind Russia-Ukraine conflict?
The Russo-Ukrainian War is an ongoing armed conflict that began in February 2014, primarily involving Russia and pro-Russian forces on one hand, and Ukraine on the other. The conflict initially centred on the status of Crimea and parts of the Donbas, which are internationally recognised as part of Ukraine.
Ukraine became an independent nation with the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. It was earlier part of the Russian empire and later became the Soviet Republic and did away with its Russian imperial legacy, thereby forming close ties with the West. Since its independence, the country is battling corruption and internal divisions. The country's western side wants integration with the West while the eastern region with Russia.
The conflict started when Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych rejected an association agreement with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Moscow. The protestors ousted him in what is known as the Revolution of Dignity. In return, Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and backed east Ukraine's separatist rebellion. Soon after this, it attacked Donbas, the country's industrial heartland. Over 14,000 people lost their lives in the armed conflict between the Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed separatists.
Ukraine and the West accused Russia of deploying troops and sending weapons to the rebellions, an allegation that Russia denied. However, Russia strongly criticized the US and NATO for aiding Ukraine with weapons and joint military drills. President Putin too expressed concerns over plans by some NATO members to establish military training centers in Ukraine as it will facilitate a military foothold in the region even without Ukraine joining NATO.
image source NATO
Russia in its security demands said that it doesn't want Ukraine to be a member state of NATO and further wants to cease all NATO drills near its borders and withdrawal of NATO troops from central and eastern Europe. It is to be noted that Ukraine’s admission to NATO would require the unanimous approval of the 30 member states. Also, Russia views Ukraine as part of its “sphere of influence”, a territory, rather than an independent state. However, the US and NATO have turned down Russia's demands. The West is backing Ukraine and promised to hit Russia financially if its troops advance to Ukraine.
Russia amassed over 100,000 troops along its border with Ukraine.
Satellite images in November 2021 showed more than 100,000 Russian troops on the border with Ukraine, along with tanks and other military hardware.