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  • Paula Mueller

Russia and Ukraine

For the past few weeks, the media has been flooded with news from the Ukrainian/Russian border. But what is actually going on there?

It all started in 2014 with the Ukrainian revolution. Since the early 2000s the Ukrainian government wanted a closer relationship with the EU but in 2012 the former president was supposed to sign a trade agreement with the EU which would have impacted Ukraine’s relationship with its biggest trade partner: Russia. The president, Viktor Yanukovych, kept on postponing which was interpreted as unwillingness to work with the EU, especially after refusing to sign an agreement with the EU in 2013, and eventually let to the revolution.

And what does that have to do with Russia? They feared that all the revolution would lead to Ukraine working with the EU instead of Russia, which would have meant a major loss, economically. And since Vilnius, Lithuania and many more Eastern European countries joined the EU in the early 2000s already and now Ukraine under their new government seemed to be very close with the EU as well, Russian governments feared an economical west front against Russia. The conflicts were still going on near the Eastern Ukrainian borders (the Donbas Region), where the majority of the population has Russian ethnics and used to support Yanukovych, since many people in that

region dislikes the new government and wanted a better relationship with Russia. These conflicts turned into big brutal fights and Russia decided to provide ammunition for the Russian-friendly people. Eventually they also sent troops there. The, as we call it, “Donbas War” is still going on and has killed over 13,000 people. Russia has faced heavy sanctions due to the western despise of their actions. The troops are still there but the reason why it is all heating up again is that Russia sent new troops, and more this time as well. The Russian leader, Putin, reasons this inhuman behaviour with the statement that he just wants to protect Russia from Ukraine but also states that if the event of an attack Russia would fight back and “it would be the end of the Ukraine”. Ukrainian military intelligence said that Russia has moved troops from its central and eastern regions to its western border "on a permanent basis." At the end of December and in January, Russia has been moving "stockpiles of ammunition, field hospitals and security services" to the border, it said, which according to Ukraine "confirms the preparation for offensive operations." The conflict is still developing, with many other countries like the US or Germany trying to stop Russia from taking over Ukraine.

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