Russia and Ukraine have had a checky past that continues to this day; the relations between the two countries have severely become constrained since the 2014 Ukranian revolution, followed by Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and also due to Russia’s backing of the separatist’s fighters, a war which till date has killed more than 13,000 people and also brought western sanctions on Russia.
It is seven years since the display of power and the land grab by Russia, and in 2021, while the world is fighting a global pandemic, Russia is keen to display its might and perhaps be in preparation for yet another Soviet-style’ land grab.’
The eastern part of Ukraine is troubled by separatists fighters, and these rebels have political and military support extended and supported by Moscow. In the fighting that has continued since 2014, people in thousands have been killed in these rebel fights.
2014, the Tipping Point and the Russian Invasion
Ukraine saw massive pro – Russian unrest throughout March in 2014, the pro – Russian groups proclaimed “People’s Republics” in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, in response, the Ukrainian government initiated multiple international – court litigations against Russia and also went as far as to suspend all types of military cooperation and military exports.
The event led many countries and international organizations to apply sanctions against the Russian Federation and Ukrainian citizens involved in and responsible for the escalation.
Last year, the conflicts seemed to have relaxed, and a cease-fire was signed; however, in the present in the previous three months, attacks have gained momentum, and both Russian and Ukraine are pointing fingers at each other.
2021, Russia and Ukraine Ready for Battle?
The current situation between the two countries stands at a crossroads, as the attacks have risen, so has the tension in the borders of the two countries.
There is a massive build-up of troops from the Russian side, troops thousands in numbers, and military tanks are currently stationed on the border with Ukraine.
As the world watches on, military experts point out that this could indeed prove to be a tipping point between the two countries and could actually trigger a war; this is a conflict with multiple stakeholders.
On Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the region, dressed in military fatigue, complete with a helmet and a bulletproof jacket; he visited the army trenches and shook hands with the military personnel so as to keep the morale of the countries army high.
However, the move may be in order to prepare the army for a possible attack; he alone cannot ward off the escalating tensions between the two countries.
The Ukrainian President has been looking to admit Ukraine as a member of the NATO, since rule number one of NATO is a collective deterrent, as an attack on one member signifies an attack on all members; however, NATO wants more security and military reforms from Ukraine, and hence for the President and Ukraine this proves to be a long shot.
America enters the picture.
Ukraine’s best bet at the moment is the United States of America; Joe Biden has promised U.S. unwavering support to Ukraine.
The two Presidents had a conversation on the subject, and as per the White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, the two have discussed the escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine, cease-fire violations, and regional tensions with NATO allies.
Following the conversation, the United States is planning to deploy two warships to the Black Sea, set to sail on the 14th of April, and plan to stay in the region until May.
As per the maritime laws, a warship can sail in the Black Sea for a period of 21 days, that too, after giving Turkey a 15-day notice.
Turkey’s stand on the issue
Turkey is a member of NATO. However, the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan shares a close relationship with Vladimir Putin, and Turkeys’ port from the south could play a crucial role in this stand-off.
Europe has a lot of clout in this region strategically, and while most European states have backed Ukraine, Russia has largely ignored their concerns.
The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin and asked for Russia to withdraw its troops, but the Russian spokesperson reiterated with a stinging reply that Russia was free to move its forces to any part of the country, which is a clear indication that Russia is in no mood to back out here.
What can happen in the coming days?
Since Russia seems to be intent on its stand and has paid no heed to the other countries’ requests, can we expect a full-blown war in the region?
According to experts, pulling out on the military arsenal in the form of tanks and missiles is not considered to be a ‘war strategy’ and the fact that the escalation on Russia’s side is out in the open and even camera’s permitted and shooting the scene, can be said that it might just be a sign of displaying power, also the fact that Ukraine has vetoed against taking the separatists to task hence, lowering the possibility of a full-blown war.
It is being said the Russian President, Putin may just be trying to access and test the Ukrainian President since he is new to politics, and could also be a Russian test for U.S. President Joe Biden when he pledged unwavering support to Ukraine.
In the coming days, it would be interesting to see to what extent the U.S. under Joe Biden’s direction will go to support Ukraine.
Conclusion: The third-world war scenario may be a far-fetched idea at this point in time, but the escalation is a severe geopolitical crisis; it also pitches the western alliance against Russia.
Russia may face sanctions if it plans to go ahead, and for the Western Alliance, it would be humiliating if it just stands by and watches the entire event unfold.