Ukraine attained independence from the Soviet Union in December 1991 and lived largely peacefully with Russia till February 2014.
The peace they enjoyed was disturbed by the USA-led NATO’s decision to convert Ukraine into a Western bulwark on Russia’s border.
This involved three dimensions:
- NATO expansion eastward to include Ukraine
- EU Expansion
- Engineer a revolution to turn Ukraine into a liberal democracy aligned to the USA
NATO Expansion 1 & 2
• In 1999, NATO expanded to include Poland, Hungary & Czech Republic
• 2008 – Romania and the Baltic states
In both instances, Russia strongly disliked the movie but accepted it.
NATO Eastward expansion attempt 3
In 2014, NATO announced a third expansion involving Georgia and Ukraine.
Russia went ballistic and said no way!
This is what Prof. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, an international relations expert who has written extensively about this topic calls “real politics 101”.
The USA has what is termed the “Monroe Doctrine” which prohibits the following:
- Distant superpowers from having a military alliance in the entire Western Hemisphere which the USA considers its backyard
- Movement of weapons to the Western Hemisphere
in October 1962, the Soviet Union attempted to build a military base in Cuba. It was fiercely resisted by the USA and led to what is termed the Cuban Missile Crisis. A tense standoff that almost led to a nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the USA.
The answer as to why one superpower does not want another superpower to build a military base in its “backyard” is obvious. Isn’t it?
Making Ukraine a Western bulwark on the Russian border
With Russia’s strong opposition, the US-led NATO attempted to make Ukraine a de-facto NATO member to make Ukraine a “western bulwark” on the Russian border.
These are some of the key moves in that regard
- Several experts agree that the February 2014 coup that ousted pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych and replaced him with a pro-USA President was engineered and funded by the USA
- Under Trump’s Presidency, USA and its allies, largely Britain started supplying Ukraine with weapons under the guise that they were defensive weapons. Something Obama refused to do in order not to ramp up any tensions with Russia. The Turks also supplied them with high level drones
- Military training to Ukraine.
Russian Response to the 2014 Ukrainian Coup
As soon as the February 2, 2014 coup took place, Russia did the following:
- They annexed Crimea. Why? Because Crimea is home to a naval base and the move was to prevent it from falling into the hands of the US-led NATO
- Took advantage of the civil war in the East of Ukraine by supporting Russian-speaking Ukrainians who are Russian allies to prevent the Government forces from defeating them
- Russian stance was that ”. They will mess up Ukraine than let the USA grab it.
What pushed Ukraine and Russia Conflict;
There had been tensions brewing but it was on the backburner. What led to an escalation was driven by the following provocative actions:
In June 2021, the British run a destroyer (warship) through Russian territorial waters to Ukraine
America also drove a bomber right up to the Russian coastline in the black sea
These actions infuriated Russia as the US-led NATO pushed forward with making Ukraine a de-facto member and a western bulwark on the Russian border.
What Russia wants
As mentioned earlier, the USA through its “Monroe Doctrine” does not allow any superpower to form a military alliance with any country in the Western Hemisphere or move weapons because it considers the western hemisphere to be its backyard.
What Russia wants is simple; they don’t want America setting up a military base in its backyard. They want Ukraine to be a buffer between any US/NATO military base on one side and Russia on the other side. Simple.
Ironically, that was the situation between 1991 and 2013 till the US-led NATO attempted to distort the status quo.
America on the other hand is unwilling to make any concessions in that regard and determined to push through their agenda