Why did the war between Russia and Ukraine start? What are the origins of the conflict? Here are the background and keys to the war that threatens the world.
Euromaidan and Pro-Russian Nostalgia: a Divided Country
After belonging to the Soviet Union since 1922, Ukraine became an independent nation after the fall of the USSR (1991). However, its annexation to different powers since its foundation caused a series of fractures whose result is a heterogeneous population that in practical terms and for a better understanding of the contemporary conflict, can be divided into two:
While the eastern provinces maintain a greater historical affinity with the Russian Orthodox government, language and religion, in western Ukraine there is a strong nationalist trend characterized by a growing appreciation of the language and a growing rapprochement with the West and the rest of Europe.
The nationalist feeling in Kyiv and western Ukraine reached one of its peaks in the massive demonstrations popularly known as Euromaidan, a movement that was born at the end of 2013 and called hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians to take to the streets and demonstrate against the pro-Russian government of President Viktor Yanukovych.
After months of protests after the country withdrew from the agreements that would unite it politically and economically with the European Union, social pressure led to Yanukovych's dismissal, while counterrevolutionary movements gained strength in Crimea, Donetsk, and Lugansk.
The Annexation Of Crimea To Russia
In 2014, months after the Euromaidan demonstrations that demanded that the government, in turn, continue with the accession and free trade agreements with the European Union, Russia launched a military intervention in the Crimean peninsula (a territory that had belonged to Ukraine since 1954 under the figure of Autonomous Republic) under the pretext of safeguarding the pro-Russian inhabitants of Crimea.
With the military occupation taking over the main government buildings, in March 2014 a referendum was held by the pro-Russian authorities in which the annexation of Crimea to the Russian Federation was decided.
In response, the Ukrainian government along with NATO and the United Nations General Assembly have since branded the annexation illegal and demanded that Russia end its occupation of Crimea; however, the Russian army has maintained a permanent presence in the region, which has grown in recent months along with the mobilization of more than 120,000 troops on different fronts on the border with Ukraine.
Russian Reconnaissance Of Donetsk and Luhansk
These are a couple of territories in the Donbas region (east of Ukraine) with the pro-Russian affinity that has been the epicenter of an armed conflict that has pitted pro-Russian independence groups against the Ukrainian government since April 2014 and has claimed more than 14,000 fatalities since then.
Pro-Russian groups appeared in both Donetsk and Lugansk in 2014 as a reactionary movement to the Euromaidan pro-European demonstrations after the overthrow of pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych and took up arms to proclaim both territories as people's republics in the face of Ukrainian resistance.
With the recognition of the Donetsk People's Republic and the Lugansk People's Republic, Russia definitively withdraws from the Minsk Protocol, a twelve-point agreement that aimed to put a ceasefire in the War in Donbas and provide some autonomy to the region.
The Start Of The War Between Russia and Ukraine: Putin's 'Special Military Operation'
Hours later, bombing alerts were activated in Kyiv and the first images of explosions appeared in the capital and other cities such as Kharkiv, Odesa, and Mariupol, while border guards warned of the simultaneous entry of Russian troops into the country.
Putin's Ukrainian counterpart, President Volodimir Zelensky, called on the world to "create an anti-Putin coalition to force Russia into peace", a request that, if answered by the United States and other NATO members, could set in motion a war scenario of unprecedented magnitudes since 1945, when Nazi Germany accepted its surrender and the Second World War was coming to an end.
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