What will happen if Russia invade Ukraine?

Ground Report | New Delhi: What will happen if Russia invade Ukraine; Ukraine has a long history of conflicts with Russia. After the Dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia and Ukraine, the two neighbouring countries started having tense ties. Ukraine also faced conflicts with Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic as both separated themselves from Ukraine and established their own country. Today, Ukraine fears to be invaded by Russia, but what conflict led to this fear?

The escalation of tensions due to the mobilization of Russian troops to the border with Ukraine sets off alarms in the US, the UK, the European Union and NATO and raises fears about a return to the Cold War. While the West seeks a common front in which a military response and sanctions are debated, Russia is promoting its strengthening as a power. The conflict has historical, geopolitical and economic implications that blow the air of war beyond its borders.

Conflicts Between Russia and Ukraine

The conflict between the two countries escalated in 2014 when Russia annexed and invaded the Crimean Peninsula, surrounded by the Black Water Sea. What led to this invasion was Russia’s fear that Ukraine will be able to create a strong alliance with NATO, the US, and Turkey. In 2020, Russia caused the death of over 13000 people by invading Donbas Region.

Ukraine has pleasant political-diplomatic relations with EU and NATO, fearing this Russia brought its military troops at the border of Ukraine. Russia is also fearful that in the upcoming years Ukraine will get the membership of NATO, causing a threat of potential restrictions at the black water sea on Russia.

Why does Russia want to invade Ukraine?

After Russia, Ukraine is the second-largest country in Europe by area, and both share a land border. Historically, Ukraine constituted an important part of the territory inhabited by the people of the great Rus (ancients who gave their name to Russia and Belarus); it was politically dominant among the Rus’ before the Mongol Empire invaded it in the 13th century. 

The territory never fully recovered, and its neighbours, including a Moscow-centered Russia, continually carved up the land between them until the early 20th century. Although Ukraine enjoyed a brief period of independence between 1918 and 1920, it later joined the Soviet Union, which collapsed in 1991. Since then, Ukraine has enjoyed full political independence.

A major problem is a possibility that Putin miscalculates. If Putin aspires to a bigger piece of Ukraine, and there is significant resistance, NATO forces could end up opposing him, suddenly giving him a bigger war than even he wanted. Ukraine is currently not a member of NATO but if Putin were to attack NATO forces directly, Article 5 of the Atlantic Charter, the organization’s founding document, would require all NATO countries to respond militarily. Suddenly, Russia would be facing a war with virtually all of Europe.

However, Ukrainian independence has never sat well with Russia, and that has continued under the reign of President Vladimir Putin. A history of foreign invasions, from the Mongols to Hitler’s Germany, has made many in Russia want a wall of buffer states, including Ukraine, surrounding the country. NATO’s eastward expansion in the 1990s and 2000s to include countries like Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia stoked Russian paranoia about foreign invasion. 

Despite NATO’s purpose as a defensive alliance, many in Russia see it as a military organization dominated by the United States, which has invaded foreign countries (Afghanistan, Iraq) twice in the last 20 years.

What will happen if Russia invade Ukraine?

If Russia attacks Ukraine, it will be over quickly, and there won’t be much NATO can do about it. There are no NATO combat troops in Ukraine, and deploying them in sufficient numbers to resist the Russian army would take weeks. By the time NATO assembles a credible military force, Russia will sue for peace, demanding a ceasefire.

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Russia already has sent its military troops to the borders of Ukraine. United States, President Joe Biden said that the Russian military and President Putin are very likely to attack and invade Ukraine shortly. Ukraine is consistently seeking international help for the same, if the war happens and Russia invades, there will be massacres, death, and bombing eventually leading to the authoritative regime of Putin in Ukraine.

A major problem is a possibility that Putin miscalculates. If Putin aspires to a bigger piece of Ukraine, and there is significant resistance, NATO forces could end up opposing him, suddenly giving him a bigger war than even he wanted. Ukraine is currently not a member of NATO but if Putin were to attack NATO forces directly, Article 5 of the Atlantic Charter, the organization’s founding document, would require all NATO countries to respond militarily. Suddenly, Russia would be facing a war with virtually all of Europe.

What happened last time Russia invaded Ukraine?

Crimea, a peninsula along the northern Black Sea coast, had long been part of Russia but was transferred to Ukraine in 1954 by the Soviet Union. As long as the Soviet Union existed it was not a big deal, as it was more or less the same as if the US federal government transferred a swath of land from California to Nevada. However, once the two countries were independent, Crimea turned out to be strategically important for Russian control of the Black Sea.

In 2014, things came to a head. Russian Marines, paratroopers and Spetsnaz special forces invaded and captured the Ukrainian region of Crimea with little fighting. At the same time, Russian-backed forces attacked Ukraine in the country’s Donbas region, trying to separate it from Ukraine and unite it with Russia. The unofficial war is still ongoing, with occasional flare-ups of violence along the Russian-Ukrainian border.

The response from the United States and NATO has been lukewarm. The annexation of Crimea and the use of proxies in Donbas were met with economic sanctions and a small amount of military aid to Ukraine, though not enough to significantly re-equip Ukrainian ground forces.

Now a broader concern has arisen: the failure to inflict sufficient punishment on Russia for its aggression has only emboldened it (and Putin in particular). Moscow believes that it can survive any repercussions, short of war, with the West. (What will happen if Russia invade Ukraine)

The United States Take on the Conflict:

Russia is trying hard to get back all its territories which it lost during the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Although NATO, the US, and Ukraine tried to have a diplomatic dialogue with Russia, the country didn’t budge and demanded that Ukraine not have an alliance or ties with either European Union or NATO.

On the other hand, the US will impose sanctions on Russia if it invades Ukraine but is apprehensive of indulging in the war. These sanctions possess the ability to restrict trade or export and several other restrictions on individuals, businesses, or trade, leading to greater damage to the economy of Russia.

Solutions to End Conflict Between Russia and Ukraine?

The simplest and unagreeable solution by Russia is if both the countries have a dialogue with NATO and US. The war is a result of insufficient communication between the two countries, Russia should focus on resolving this issue not by military attacks but through diplomatic relations, or else this conflict will always be unresolved until interwind by international forces.

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