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russia v ukraine
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“ALL HUMAN ACTIONS HAVE ONE OR MORE OF THESE SEVEN CAUSES : CHANCE,
NATURE, COMPULSION, HABIT, REASON, PASSION AND DESIRE”

Aristotle

The cause of this conflict is because of the shared history that Russia and Ukraine have, Russia and
Ukraine have shared hundreds of years of cultural, linguistic and familial links and as a part of the
Soviet Union, Ukraine was the second most powerful Soviet Republic after Russia and was crucial
from the point of view strategically, economically and culturally. There are claims of emotional
exploitation of the people, many in Russia and in the ethically Russian parts of Ukraine and the
the shared heritage of the countries is an emotional issue that has been exploited for military and
electoral purposes.

Balance of power is another reason as ever since Ukraine split from the Soviet Union both Russia
and the West have clashed for greater influence in the country in order to keep the balance of power
in the region in their favour. Ukraine acts as an buffer for the United States (US) and the European
Union (EU)
and is also a crucial buffer between Russia and the West, as days go by tensions with
Russia are rising and the United States and the European Union are increasingly determined to keep
Ukraine away from the Russian control.

The Euromaidan Movement , November 2013 saw the start of mass protests across Ukraine but
particularly centred in Kiev’s Maidan or central square. The protesters were angry at Ukraine’s then
Pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to join the Russia Led Eurasian Economic
Union (EAEU)
instead of the European Union. The protests were known as the Euromaidan
Movement and saw massive clashes between the protesters and the security forces that reached their
peak in February 2014 which led to the ouster of then president Viktor Yanukovych.

Trepidation of growing Western influence in Ukraine led Russia to take action by invading Crimea
which was a part of Ukraine and it also began fomenting a separatist movement in Eastern Ukraine
which is home to many who are ethnically Russian. This invasion and subsequent annexation of
Crimea has given Russia a Maritime Upper Hand in the region and it also gave Russia’s president a
significant boost in popularity ratings inside the Russian territory. This annexation received
criticism globally and it was widely condemned by the world powers which resulted in the United
States and European Union imposing sanctions on Moscow as well as it also resulted in a
strengthened commitment by both the United States and European Union to protect the integrity of
Ukraine’s borders.

Vladimir Putin and his allies have accused Ukraine’s government of Genocide against ethnic
Russians and the native Russian speakers in Donbas but these allegations have wholly been rejected
by Ukraine as well as the US and EU states. Before invading Ukraine, Vladimir Putin recognised
the separatists self-styled republics ruin the Minsk accords and the peace deals brokered by
Germany and France that sought to end the violence there through a political settlement. Vladimir
Putin stated that the objective behind the invasion was the demilitarization of Ukraine as that would
make it unable to join NATO (The North Atlantic Treaty Organization) whose expansion into
countries that were once within Russias sphere of influence and this expansion was being seen as an
encroachment on its interests. Another aim was stated by Vladimir Putin as the denazification of
Ukraine.

Reasons behind Russias aggression on Ukraine can also be seen as economic, geopolitical and
strategic factors. Russia considering the economic significance of Ukraine sought Ukraine’s
membership in the Eurasian Economic Community (EAEC) which is a free trade agreement that came into existence in 2015 and Ukraine with its massive market and advanced agriculture and
industrial output Ukraine was suppose to play an vital part but Ukraine refused to join the
agreement. Looking at the geopolitical and strategic factors Russia claims that the eastward
expansion by the NATO which they call an enlargement has threatened Russias interests and has
asked for written security guarantees from NATO. NATO which is led by the US has planned to
install missile defence systems in the Eastern Europe in countries like Czech Republic and Poland
to counter Russias intercontinental range missiles.

Russia has demanded a ban on further expansion of NATO that includes countries like Ukraine and
Georgia that share Russias borders and Russia has asked NATO to pull back its military
deployments to the 1990s level and prohibit the deployment of intermediate range missiles in the
bordering areas. Russia has asked NATO to curb its military cooperation with Ukraine and other
former Soviet Republics. In an emergency UN Security Council session 141 countries including all
the NATO members voted to reprimand Russia for its violent attack on its neighbour Ukraine but
four countries voted in favour of backing Russian President Vladimir Putin, these countries were
Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea and Syria.

Syria has been a faithful ally of Moscow since Russia launched a military campaign in Syria in
2015 that helped President Bashar-Al-Assad gain the upper hand in the ongoing civil war. The
ranks of pro-government paramilitary groups in Syria include tens of thousands of so-called
National Defence Forces, Christian Militia Fighters and Army Defectors skilled in urban and
guerilla warfare. Thousands of mercenaries from the Russian private contractor Wagner Group have
also deployed in Syria. The Syrian leader called Russian President shortly after the start of the
Ukraine invasion to lend his support and described the Russian offensive as a “Correction of
History”.

North Korea has defended Russia and blamed the hegemonic policy of the US and the West as the
route cause of the Ukraine conflict. Russia and China appear to be increasingly supportive of Kim
Jong-Un’s
regime, these two countries blocked the UN Security Council from imposing further
sanctions against North Korea for its recent missile tests. North Korean authorities have allegedly
handed out “political study materials” which states “just like Russia sent troops to Ukraine which
used to be a part of the same country (the Soviet Union) if necessary we too can take over the
South.

Belarus is Russias most vocal ally and has allowed Russian troops to advance towards Ukraine from
its border and the two Slav neighbours are formally part of a “union state” and have been in talks
for years to move closer together and this process accelerated after Russian President propped up
Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko in a disputed election in 2020. China has refused to call
Russias actions an invasion and has repeatedly expressed its opposition to what it describes as
illegal sanctions against Moscow.

Countries that are supporting Ukraine and are denouncing Russia for its invasion are countries that
are initially formed NATO and are united in their opposition to the Russian invasion, there are
currently 30 countries that are members of NATO and 12 of those countries were founder members
of NATO and they all have come together to help Ukraine in their dark times. The founding
members of NATO are Belgium, France, Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Italy,
Norway, Iceland, United Kingdom, Portugal and the United States. the other members of NATO are
Germany, Turkey, Greece, Spain, Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia,
Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Croatia, Albania, Montenegro, Lithuania, and North Macedonia.

To demonstrate their support for Ukraine, the heads of state of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and
Poland have travelled to Ukraine and Australia is increasing the number of penalties it has placed on Russian state owned companies in order to hinder Russias ability to continue supporting Russian
presidents war hence Australia imposed sanctions on 14 Russian state owned enterprises. United
States and Britain have been steadfast in their backing of Ukraine and all of the members of NATO
as well as Germany, Japan, South Korea, Australia and Canada are on record as expressing their
support for Ukraine. The Defence Minister Anita Anand of Canada had announced that upto 150
members of the Canadian Armed Forces will be going on a humanitarian mission to Poland to assist
Ukrainian refugees.

Human Rights have previously been abused in Russian occupied Crimea. The crisis which began in
2014 continues to intensify due to Russian legislation and a series of oppressive measures carried
out by the regions de facto authorities, these actions were not widely reported abroad, include the
imposition of Russian citizenship, restrictions on freedom of speech and assembly, takeover of
private and Ukrainian state property and clampdowns on independent media outlets and persecution
of annexation critics and proponents of Ukrainian unity as well as harassment of ethnic and
religious groups perceived as disloyal to the new order. They represent violations of basic human
rights and in some cases contravene international law.

Due to the current invasion of Ukraine, Human Rights are being violated on a massive scale.
Innocent Civilians are being killed, hospitals and residential areas are being bombed and areas are
being captured as well as the civilians are being held hostage. One of the most chilling attacks was
on the Maternity hospital in Mariupol, there was one particular most memorable photo of a pregnant
woman lying bloodied on a stretcher being carried through the bombed out courtyard by the first
responders, this gruesome scene embodies Russias aggression towards innocent civilians of
Ukraine. Unfortunately the woman and her baby have died because the woman suffered a crushed
pelvis and detached hip in the attack and was rushed to another hospital on the front lines. The
Ukrainian government says that Russia has shelled more than 1,000 schools and destroyed 95. A
bomb flattened a school in the eastern village of Bilohorivka which like school No 21 in Chernihiv
was being used as a shelter and as many as 60 people were feared to be dead. Intentionally attacking
schools and other civilian infrastructure is a war crime.

International Law violations under the UN Charter, Russia by allegedly recognising the right to self
determination of the people of Donetsk and Luhansk, Russia has effectively intervened and violated
the sovereignty of Ukraine and Article 2 of the UN Charter. As Donetsk and Luhansk are parts of
Ukraine such recognition by an outside country involves interfering in the internal matters of a state
and in direct contravention of the principle of equal sovereignty of all nations, Russian president has
also single handedly revoked Russias recognition of Ukraine as an independent nation and after 30
years of its formulation calling the idea of Ukrainian Statehood ‘fiction’. Not only is such act
violative of Article 2 (1) but the process by which the invasion has taken place is also in violation of
Article 1 (1), Article 1 (2), Article 2 (4) all of which recognise sovereignty as the key principle of
international relations and calls for the maintenance of international peace and security through
restraint in the use of force or the threat of use of force against the territorial integrity or political
independence of any state.


Any use of force and any threat thereof as well is considered illegal under all pretexts and even
under the grab of collective self defence Article 51, Russia absolutely cannot justify its actions
especially with the lack of an armed attack against Russia by Ukraine, does not stand the test of
necessity and proportionality. The concept of anticipatory self-defence, while novel is not
recognised in international law. The rigours of Article 51 stands within the strict confines of an
armed attack and does not allow for a perceived security threat beyond such parameters which
includes Russian presidents perceived threat of expansion of NATO, it is also violative of Article 51
if such action of self defence is not reported to the United Nations Security Council which as it
stands was brought to light by Ukraine and not Russia.

International Humanitarian Law Violations, As per the news reports and images of the Russian
invasion in Ukraine are being shared across multiple platforms it has become quite clear that there
have been widespread attacks throughout Ukraine and this fight for liberation has not been
restrained to the Donbas region. The attack on Kyiv and ruthless airstrikes across the nation which
have also impacted the civilian population is a direct violation of the Geneva Conventions
“establishes international legal standards for humanitarian treatment in war” and International
Humanitarian Law standards. The protection afforded to civilians and non-combatants has been
emphasised in all Four Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocols. The intention of any armed
attack should always be to distinguish between combatants and noncombatants and civilians and
parties should take feasible precautions to minimise harm to civilians and civilian objects.

Geneva Convention IV specially affords the protection to civilians and Article 51 (5) (b) of the
Additional Protocol I prohibits such attacks that may cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to
civilians and damage to civilian objects especially in excess of the concrete and direct military
advantage. Not only is Russia in direct contravention of these provisions but has also failed to
respect the law of war and wreaked havoc in Ukraine. International Human Rights Law violations,
Russia and Ukraine are both signatories to important conventions and declarations including the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant to Civil and Political Rights,
European Convention on Human Rights and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel,
Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. These treaties guarantee fundamental rights
including but not limited to the right to life and dignity, the right to be secure from torture,
illtreatment and forceful detention and the right to a fair trial even during a public emergency.

Apart from the Sovereignty and statehood of Ukraine which is at stake a heavy toll is being paid by
humans on the ground, whether combatants or otherwise and the inherent right to life of many is
being violated by Russian armed forces with almost 200 Ukrainian civilians already dead.
Implementation of international human rights law has always been a cause of concern however the
EU has always sought to enforce them stringently. Fundamental rights have always stood the test of
time whether in a state of war, public emergencies or in an act of aggression. These rights of the
Ukrainian people against the Russian armed forces need to be protected and respected.

The UN General Assembly Resolution 3314 (1974), the resolution defines aggression as the use of
armed force by a state against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of
another state. Allowing one’s territory to be used by another state for aggression against a third state
would qualify as an act of aggression and hence Belarus can also be held responsible for aggression
as it has allowed its territory to be used by Russia for attacking Ukraine, aggression is also
considered an international crime under customary international law and the Rome Statute
establishing the International Criminal Court.

Consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Consequences on Russia, the US termed the
action of Russia on Ukraine as aggressive and as a result introduced strong additional sanctions
with new limitations on what can be exported to Russia and several banks of Russia have been
sanctioned along with restrictions on transactions of 13 major state owned enterprises in Russia.
The United Nations Secretary General at a security council meeting asked Russia to stop the attack
on Ukraine and to give peace a chance, The United Nations General Assembly condemned Russias
invasion of Ukraine and called upon Russia to unconditionally withdraw its troops.

As a consequence of this invasion the rest of the world is also facing certain challenges like rise in
oil prices, oil prices surged to over a seven year high of $103 a barrel and the Brent Crude rose to
$103.78 a barrel the highest since August 14, 2014. Food supply, Russia and Ukraine are among the
top five international exporters for many important cereals and oilseeds such as wheat, sunflowers and corn. Influx of refugees, the UN Refugee Agency said that more than 874,000 people have fled
Ukraine since Russias invasion and the figures are rising exponentially. Shortage of semiconductor
chips, Ukraine supplies rare gases used in the production of semiconductor fab lasers and Russia
exports rare metals like palladium to make semiconductors hence the conflict worsened the global
chip crisis.

Ukraine is a Geopolitical flash point as Ukraine was a cornerstone of the Soviet Union and the
Archival of the United States during the Cold War. Behind Russia it was the second most populous
and powerful of the fifteen Soviet Republics and home to much of the unions agricultural
production, defence industries and military, including the Black Sea Fleet and some of the nuclear
arsenal. Ukraine was so vital to the union that it’s decision to sever ties in 1991 proved to be a coup
de grace for the ailing superpower. In its three decades of independence Ukraine has sought to forge
its own path as a sovereign state while looking to align more closely with Western institutions
including the EU and NATO though however Kyiv struggled to balance its foreign relations and to
bridge deep internal divisions. A nationalist Ukrainian speaking population in western parts of the
country generally supported greater integration with Europe while the mostly Russian speaking
community in the east favoured closer ties with Russia.

Ukraine became a battleground in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea, and began arming and
abetting separatists in the Donbas region in the country’s South East, Russias seizure of Crimea,
was the first time since World War II, that a European State annexed the territory of another. More
than fourteen thousand people died in the fighting in the Donbas between 2014 and 2021 the
bloodiest conflict in Europe since the Balkan Wars of the 1990s for many analysts the hostilities
marked a clear shift in the global security environment from a unipolar period of US dominance to
one defined by renewed competition between great powers. In February 2022 Russia embarked on a
full scale invasion of Ukraine with the aim of toppling the Western aligned government of Ukraines
president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Russia has broader interests in Ukraine as Russia has deep cultural, economic and political bonds
with Ukraine and in many ways Ukraine is central to Russias identity and vision for itself in the
world. Russian diaspora, approximately eight million ethnic Russians were living in Ukraine as of
2001 according to a census taken that year but mostly in the south and east. Moscow claimed a duty
to protect these people as a pretext for its actions in Crimea and the Donbas in 2014. Family ties,
Russia and Ukraine have strong familial bonds that go back centuries. Kyiv is sometimes referred to
as “the mother of Russian cities” on par in terms of cultural influence with Moscow and
St.Petersburg. It was in Kyiv in the eighth and ninth centuries that Christianity was brought from
Byzantium to the Slavic people and it was Christianity that served as the anchor for Kievan Rus, the
early Slavic state from which modern Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians draw their lineage.

The superpower image, after the collapse of Soviet Union many Russian politicians viewed the
separation with Ukraine as a mistake of history and a threat to Russias standing as great power and
losing a permanent hold on Ukraine and letting it fall into the Western orbit would be seen by many
as a major blow to Russias international prestige. Trade, Russia was for a long time Ukraines largest
trading partner and although this link withered dramatically in recent years and China eventually
surpassed Russia in trade with Ukraine. Prior to its invasion of Crimea, Russia had hoped to pull
Ukraine into its single market and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) which today includes
Armenia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan. Energy, Russia has relied on Ukrainian pipelines to
pump its gas to customers in central and Eastern Europe for decades and it pays billions of dollars
per year in transit fees to Kyiv. The flow of Russian gas through Ukraine continued in early 2022
despite the outbreak of wider hostilities between the two countries and Russia had planned to
transport more gas to Europe through its new Nord Stream 2 pipeline which runs under the Baltic
Sea to Germany but Berlin froze regulatory approval of the project after Russias invasion.

India’s stand in this situation, during a UNSC meeting in may 2021 India signalled its backing for
traditional partner Russia on the Ukraine issue and India has advocated political and diplomatic
solutions that protect the legitimate interests of all countries in the region and ensure long term
peace and stability in Europe and beyond the path forward can only be through peaceful dialogue
for a lasting solution acceptable to all concerned. Last November India voted against a Ukraine
sponsored resolution in the UN that condemned alleged human rights violations in Crimea thereby
backing old ally Russia on the issue.

India’s response since the invasion, India abstained from the United Nations Security Council
(UNSC) resolution sponsored by the US against Russia and India also abstained from voting against
Russia in the United Nations General Assembly. India said that the safe exit of Indian citizens from
the region is India’s highest priority hence India launched “Operation Ganga” to evacuate stranded
Indians in Ukraine. Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed for an immediate ceasefire and a
return to dialogue in a telephonic conversation with the Russian president Vladimir Putin. Though
India has not yet spoken against Russia directly, the statements like “sovereignty and territorial
integrity of states” suggests that India is growing tougher on Russia.

Challenges for India, India is in a difficult situation with its growing relationship with the US on
one hand and Russia on the other hand with whom it has a time tested friendship and historic ties.
Western countries are said to be unhappy and disappointed with India’s move. Moreover, Russia is
the primary source of military hardware and technology for India and has backed India’s security
concerns at many events in the UN. Further India’s weak response on the issue will reduce India’s
ability to be a “swing state” or a “leading power”. It is envisaged that in the upcoming days india
will need considerable support from Russia on the issue of Kashmir that can be introduced in the
world organization by Pakistan receiving full encouragement from China.

NATO has since its inception gradually continued to expand and Russian President has objected to
the expansion in its own backyard as he believes that the US is at its doorstep with missiles and it is
akin to deploying missiles at the Canada or Mexico border and if Ukraine becomes a NATO
member then Russia will be circled. There is no comparison between the NATO Alliances army and
that of Russia which is only a fraction of the former. Russias president is demanding a guarantee
from NATO that Ukraine would not be a member and he wants the expansion in the Eastern Europe
to stop and also NATO to stop the deployment of weapons in its neighbourhood. Russia has also
challenged the membership of 14 countries that were a part of the Warsaw Pact signed in 1955 in
response to the formation of NATO to provide military protection to member countries. The
disintegration of the Soviet Union made the treaty redundant.

NATO is helping to coordinate Ukraines request for assistance and is supporting Allies in the
delivery of humanitarian aid non lethal aid, NATO’s Article 5 security guarantee and its ironclad
promise of collective defence provides Allies with the confidence that they can send weapons to
Ukraine without diminishing their own security. The Alliance’s well established structure of
common standards and interoperable systems is allowing Allies to provide equipment with the
assurance that material transferred to Ukraine can be backfilled by compatible equipment from
other Allies. Individual NATO member countries are sending weapons, ammunition and many types
of light and heavy military equipment as well as anti-tank and anti-air systems, howitzers and
drones. Till date NATO Allies have provided billions of euros worth of military equipment to
Ukraine and this is making a difference on the battlefield everyday and helping Ukraine to uphold
its right of self defence which is enshrined in the United Nations Charter.

Allies are providing billions of euros of financial assistance to Ukraine and many Allies are also
providing humanitarian aid to civilians and hosting millions of Ukrainian refugees, Allies are working with relevant stakeholders in the international community to hold accountable all those
responsible for war crimes and conflict related sexual violence. Allies have also worked closely to
support international efforts to enable exports of Ukrainian grain and to alleviate the global food
crisis. At the Madrid Summit in June 2022 Allied leaders agreed a strengthened package of support
for Ukraine which includes support in secure communications, fuel, medical supplies, body armour,
equipment to counter mines and chemical and biological threats and portable anti-drone systems.
Allies also agreed to help Ukraine transition from Soviet era equipment to modern NATO
equipment and boost interoperability with Allied forces and further strengthen Ukrainian defence
and security institutions. In the long term the Alliance is committed to assisting Ukraine and
supporting efforts on its path of post-war reconstruction and reforms.al

The United States remains committed to the restoration of Ukraines territorial integrity and
sovereignty and it does not recognise Russias claims to Crimea or to the Donetsk and Luhansk and
it encourages a diplomatic resolution to the war. Prior to the 2022 invasion of Ukraine the United
States supported a settlement of the Donbas conflict through the Minsk Agreement. The Western
Powers and partners have taken many steps to increase aid to Ukraine and punish Russia since it
launched its 2022 offensive. The United States provided Ukraine with more than $1 billion in
emergency security assistance in early 2022 and then passed a supplemental law that includes
several billion more dollars in aid, the US military has trained closely with Ukrainian forces in
recent years and it is providing them with various equipment including sniper rifles, grenade
launchers, night vision gear, radars, javelin anti tank missiles, stinger antiaircraft missiles, patrol
vessels and unmanned aerial systems as well as several NATO Allies are providing similar security
aid.

The international sanctions on Russia have vastly expanded and now covering much of its financial,
energy, defence and tech sectors and targeting the assets of wealthy oligarchs and other individuals.
The US and some European governments also banned some Russian banks from the society for
Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, a financial messaging system known as
SWIFT placed restrictions on Russias ability to access its vast foreign reserves and blacklisted
Russias central bank. Many influential western companies have shuttered or suspended operations
in Russia and the group of eight now known as the group of seven suspended Russia from its ranks
indefinitely in 2014. This invasion has cost Russia its long awaited Nord Stream 2 after Germany
suspended its regulatory approval and many critics including the US and Ukrainian officials
opposed the natural gas pipeline claiming it would give Russia greater political leverage over
Ukraine and the European gas market.

As the situations are escalating Russias president Vladimir Putins announcement of “partial
mobilization” of citizens for his war in Ukraine has already set motion sweeping changes for many
Russians as drafted men bid their families goodbyes while they attempt to flee, scrambling to make
it across land border crossings or are buying air tickets to flee from Russia. Many are leaving and
their reason being the same which is to avoid being drafted into Vladimir Putins brutal and faltering
assault on the neighbouring country Ukraine. Rather than coming to dialogue the situations are just
worsening by the day and Russia has now struck the Pechenily dam on the Siverskyi Donets river in
Northeast Ukraine this week using their short range ballistic missiles or similar weapons as stated
by the British military. As well as the Russian commanders may be attempting to strike Sluice gates
of the dams in order to flood Ukrainian military crossing points as stated by the UK defence
ministry.

Ukraine has said that it would downgrade diplomatic ties with Iran over its decision to supply
Russian forces with drones. The UN mandated investigation commission has said that it has found
“evidence of war crimes” including executions, torture, rape and confinement of children in Russian
occupied areas of Ukraine after visiting 27 areas and interviewing more than 150 victims and witnesses. Though Russia denies deliberately attacking civilians in the conflict and states that the
abuse accusations are a smear campaign.

References
Aljazeera
Wion
Business today
BBC news
CNN

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