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What is causing tension between Russia and Ukraine ?: QuickTake

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Ukrainian soldiers work in a tank in Lysychansk, Eastern Ukraine, on April 7th.

Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014 sparked the most tense stalemate between Moscow and the West since the Cold War, and the region has been blocked since. Now, Russia is aggravating the wound bygathering troops near the disputed eastern regions of its neighbor, raising concerns that both sides could retreat into an increased military confrontation.

1. What ignited the blaze?

The deployment of Russian troops in Crimea and its neighbors’ border is boosting stocks as fighting intensifies in what has in recent years been set in a low-level conflict between the Ukrainian military and Kremlin-backed insurgents. The government in Kiev denies Russian allegations that it is plotting a new attack. Analysts see several possible reasons for Vladimir Putin to raise the ante. Some say he may be testing the response of his American counterpart, Joe Biden, or trying to signal a tougher line to Kiev. His counterpart in Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has taken what many in Russia see as a more difficult stance late by shutting down Kremlin-friendly TV stations.

2. Why is all this still a problem?

A 2015 peace deal ended the bloodiest fighting of the seven-year conflict, which has claimed more than 13,000 lives. But the conditions have never been fully met and a lasting solution remains far away. The main cuts of the main obstacles to the fall of all two former allies: whether Ukraine is leaning east or west. Protesters demanded a break with the nation’s Soviet past when they ousted Kremlin-backed Viktor Yanukovych in 2014. But Putin justified his subsequent annexation of Crimea and support for fighters in eastern Ukraine by saying he should protect Russian-speakers, wherever they are. . Fearing a breach in his backyard, he continues to oppose the long-term goals embodied in Ukraine’s constitution – including membership in the European Union and NATO. Putin also points to the roots between Ukraine and Russia dating back to the ninth century, when a collection of tribes founded Kievan Rus around present-day Kiev.

3. What was the point of stay?

Despite Zelenskiy coming to power pledging to bring lasting peace, he actually has very little room to maneuver. The Kremlin wants its neighbors’ peaceful regions to gain autonomy that gives them an effective veto over major changes in Ukraine’s orientation – namely Western integration backed by a significant 42 million majority. PEOPLE. But giving regions such powers would be tantamount to political suicide for Zelenskiy, who is already struggling to tame the pandemic and fulfill other promises, such as curbing corruption. Putin, meanwhile, has repeatedly made it clear that he sees Ukraine’s ambition to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as an existential threat and sees no reason to compromise now after years of pressure. past by the US and Europe on this issue. That is why repeated diplomatic attempts by Germany and France to issue a resolution have failed.

4. What is the fear for Eastern Ukraine?

Most see the latest eruption as little more than the saber-toothed shocks that will fade as previous episodes have in recent years. The main concern is that one side miscalculates, causing the kind of rampant fighting that characterized the previous days of the conflict. Five-day RussiaThe war with Georgia, another former Soviet republic that turned its gaze to the West, began in the same way in 2008. In Ukraine this time, there is another theory at play: Crimean residents are suffering from chronic water shortages that some speculate that Russia can handle taking over supplies to nearby areas that are not yet under its control. Such talks go back to the early stages of the war, when Ukraine feared that its neighbor would seek to build a land bridge between Crimea and Russia through a wider military offensive. Putin has spent billions on infrastructure to connect the two since the 2014 fighting, however.

5. What can the West do about it?

The US, EU and UK have already set several rounds ofsanctions targeting Russian individuals, as well as the country’s energy and banking sectors. While the Kremlin says such measures have no effect, the Russian economy has stalled and its officials have repeatedly tried to lift sanctions. Some Western officials argue that more can be achieved by imposing additional measures. Perhaps the most effective tool would be the US ban on possession of Russian sovereign debt, which has been discussed. Others include making life difficult for billionaires who have become rich under Putin. Militaryly, Ukraine’s efforts to gain Western support for NATO membership have so far received only a lukewarm response.

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– With the help of Henry Meyer

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