Matthew 24: For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in place after place; All this is but the beginning [the early pains] of the birth pangs [of the intolerable anguish]. And the love of the great body of people will grow cold because of the multiplied lawlessness and iniquity, But he who endures to the end will be saved.
With the conflict in Ukraine dominating the headlines, it is reasonable to ponder the causes of what happened. Many people disagree about whether the Russians had to get involved, and whether they would have gotten involved anyway.
Ukraine and Russia are at war, and thousands of people have been killed.
- What are the reasons for this conflict?
- Is this the beginning of World War III?
- Or is it much more complicated than that?
This essay will examine the origins of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. You will learn about two different ways of looking at this problem, where the disagreement came from and how it might change in the future.
This will give you a better insight into what might happen in 2023.
- 1 Why the Russia-Ukraine War Started
- 2 Other Causes of Ukraine’s Suffering
- 3 The essence of the Russia-Ukraine conflict
- 3.1 Ukraine: “This is a struggle to rebuild the Soviet Union.”
- 3.2 Russia: “We will save Russians in Donbass”.
- 3.3 Ukraine: “Russia’s goal is to demonstrate its military power.”
- 3.4 Russia: “There has been a civil war in Ukraine for eight years.”
- 3.5 Ukraine: “Russia is a power-hungry and greedy country.”
- 3.6 Russia: “We could not tolerate the prospect of NATO expansion and possible nuclear war.”
- 4 Ukraine’s Four Alternative Perspectives on Russia’s Invasion
- 5 Russia’s Six Other Perspectives on the Armed Conflict
- 6 When will hostilities end?
- 7 Will there be a third world conflict?
- 8 Conclusion
Why the Russia-Ukraine War Started
Russia and Ukraine, both involved in the worsening Ukrainian crisis, have a long history of fighting.
In retrospect, the conflict seems inevitable. The two states have never been friendly neighbors, and they have been on a collision course for the past two decades.
Since 2014, when a series of protests known as Euromaidan began in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, Ukraine has been embroiled in a massive civil war.
After Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych rejected an association agreement with the European Union and turned his back on Russia on November 21, 2013, protesters took to the streets.
On November 22, 2013, demonstrators and police clashed. Demonstrators erected barricades, seized the city hall, and surrounded the legislative building. At first, the Euromaidan protests were peaceful, but in January 2014, they turned violent after the parliament failed to pass a number of laws that would have punished the protesters.
Violence erupted when police broke up a rally of Euromaidan supporters. The situation in Ukraine turned deadly on February 18, when the Ukrainian parliament introduced anti-protest laws (which were later repealed).
Viktor Yanukovych, the president of Ukraine, refused to sign agreements with Europe and had to flee to Russia for his safety.
Donetsk and Luhansk, which are in Ukraine and are sometimes referred to as “Donbass,” held protests against the coup.
The self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DNR and LNR, respectively) and the Ukrainian government went to war after these protests.
The armed confrontation began on February 20, 2014, when residents of Donbass seized the buildings of the regional state administration in Donetsk in protest against the illegitimate transfer of power. A few days later, the same thing happened in Luhansk (LNR).
The territories of Donetsk and Luhansk declared independence from Ukraine and are now known as Novorossiya (New Russia). Ethnic Russians living in these areas started this movement because they wanted to join Russia and become Russian citizens.
In March 2014, Russia seized Crimea. This happened after a vote in which more than 95% of the people approved the proposal.
Thus, Russia was protecting the Russian people living in Crimea who were in danger from the government in Kiev.
Thousands of people have died as a result of the eight-year conflict and incessant bombardment in Donbass, 2014-2022. Many people have lost their homes and valuables.
Donetsk and other parts of eastern Ukraine have seen much violence and damage, and many civilians, including children, have died as a result.
The 2015 Minsk II peace agreement failed to end the armed conflict or give Kiev control over eastern Ukraine.
Other Causes of Ukraine’s Suffering
Ukraine is also experiencing a severe economic crisis as a result of years of mismanagement, corruption, and a lack of reforms that have led to a huge debt burden. Since the beginning of 2014, the value of Ukrainian hryvnia has fallen by more than half.
Ukraine’s NATO membership has also been the subject of fierce controversy throughout the country. According to recent polls, the majority of Ukrainians oppose NATO membership. But Ukrainian leaders have said their country will try to join NATO in the future.
The European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia, and Japan have all imposed economic sanctions on Russia. At first, these sanctions targeted only individuals, but over time they grew to include entire sectors of the economy.
The eight-year struggle in Ukraine ushered in a new era of East-West conflict.
The U.S. and Russia have been rivals for most of the 20th century, but recent events in Ukraine could lead to a direct military confrontation between the two superpowers.
Today, the United States and Europe are supplying arms to Kiev, but this is unlikely to change the course of the conflict. In fact, it will only exacerbate the problem. Eventually, something may happen that will trigger a wider struggle.
We are facing the biggest, most complicated, and most important crisis the world has seen since the end of the Cold War.
But we must be clear about what this crisis is not yet:
It is not an existential threat to Europe;
Nor is it the new Cold War.
It is important to understand the nature of this geopolitical conflict so as not to underestimate or exaggerate its significance or exacerbate the situation.
The essence of the Russia-Ukraine conflict
In February 2022, Russian troops declared a special military operation, thus initiating their involvement. The Ukrainian military was attacked by Russian soldiers, who were significantly superior in training and equipment.
The Russian Air Force launched an aerial attack against the AFU, inflicting significant losses on the Ukrainian Air Force and escalating the war. At present, there is intense fighting along the entire front.
At first glance, it appears that Russia is boldly invading and taking control of Ukraine. But let’s dig deeper.
Here are two radically opposing perspectives on why Russia has initiated hostilities.
Ukraine: “This is a struggle to rebuild the Soviet Union.”
Here are the perspectives of Ukraine and the West as a whole: “Russia wants to rebuild the Soviet Union. Russia attacked Ukraine because it wanted to get more land at Ukraine’s expense, no matter what.
Since Ukraine used to be part of the Soviet Union, Russia wants to regain authority over it. This is President Putin’s strategy as he seeks full authority.
If Russia has invaded Ukraine, it won’t stop it from taking over all the countries in the area in the future, including those in Eastern Europe and the Baltics.
Although the Soviet Union collapsed in late 1991, Russia still sees other countries as “nominal allies”.
Russia wants to rebuild the Soviet sphere of influence over its neighbors and reestablish itself on the international stage.
The reason for so much effort in Ukrainian politics is simple: Vladimir Putin wants Ukraine to join his Russian empire. And above all, he wants the restoration of the USSR, or at least the Soviet Union 2.0, under Russian leadership.”
Russia: “We will save Russians in Donbass”.
Russia’s response: “Russia was forced to act because Russians were being persecuted in Ukraine, and Russia had an obligation to defend them.
In 2014, Ukraine rose up against the government of President Viktor Yanukovych, who had come to office legitimately in 2010 but was seen by many Ukrainians as overly pro-Russian. Yanukovych was forced to flee to Russia after the deadly coup, and a strong anti-Russian government was installed in Ukraine.
This new government began to target ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine for speaking Russian and for being more loyal to Russia than to Ukraine.
As a result, Ukrainian nationalists attacked Russians living in Donbass for eight years, while the Ukrainian government did little to stop them. Russia was forced to act.
Russia stepped in to protect the rights of ethnic Russians who had been violated by the Ukrainian army and nationalist groups.
Even if they don’t have Russian passports, Russia has the right to protect Russians living abroad.
There are still many ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine who feel that their land belongs to Russia, not Ukraine.
As for Crimea, Russia never invaded it. The people of Crimea voted decisively to join the Russian Federation. There are ten times as many ethnic Russians as ethnic Ukrainians in Crimea, so the vote was very democratic.
The United States and NATO have been provoking Russia for years. In an attempt to encircle Russia, they have waged an aggressive military buildup in Eastern Europe and the Baltic states. A false media campaign about a supposed threat from Russia helps to support these military provocations.
The US-backed coup in Kiev was an act of aggression against the legitimate Ukrainian government. Who was the aggressor? The U.S. and its allies, or Russia?”
Ukraine: “Russia’s goal is to demonstrate its military power.”
“Vladimir Putin’s primary goal is to demonstrate Russia’s military might and protect his authority by uniting the nation against a common enemy.
Putin is trying to remind the U.S. and Europe that Russia is still a major player in world affairs and can’t be ignored or sidelined.
The Russian Federation’s goal is to keep its neighbors weak and fragmented, preventing them from gaining the strength to withstand a Russian invasion.
In response to political tensions in Ukraine, the Russian military has conducted many large-scale and unexpected exercises.
These frequent exercises are Russia’s method of keeping NATO on its toes.
So what is Putin doing? He wants to show the world that Russia is powerful and that he has succeeded in “strengthening” it.”
Russia: “There has been a civil war in Ukraine for eight years.”
“At the direction of the United States, the Ukrainian government is using an illegal and illegitimate regime change to start a civil war against its own people.
The civil war in Ukraine is largely an act of aggression by outsiders who want to destabilize the country by causing its economy to collapse.
The Ukrainian government is corrupt and neo-liberal, and the U.S. wants to maintain its control over the region by using Ukraine as a base for future military action against Russia.
The U.S. wants to take advantage of Ukraine’s many natural resources and is using Russia as a scapegoat to do so.
The Ukrainian government is willing to commit crimes against its people to stay in power.
And the U.S. is paying for these crimes by giving them money and weapons so that they can continue until they achieve their goal of taking full control of Ukraine.
The US wants to use Ukraine as a base to put pressure on Russia in the future, or if that doesn’t work, to invade Russia and take its huge natural resources.
The US needs Ukraine as a pawn in its game against Russia, and this game has been going on since 2014, when Russia was sanctioned for allegedly violating international law in the “invasion of Crimea.”
The countries are also engaged in propaganda efforts, using social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to spread false information about the situation in order to hide the extent of their involvement in this war. This is all part of their strategy to economically undermine Russia so that once they take control of Ukraine, Russia will be out of money.
In addition, the United States wants Ukraine because of its strategic location. Situated between Europe and Asia, Ukraine is vital for both commercial lines and the military.”
Ukraine: “Russia is a power-hungry and greedy country.”
“Russia is a predatory country with its sights set on the White House. The Russian Federation has been interfering in American elections since 1950s. The problem is that they’ve gotten better at it, and now they’re attacking the American democratic system itself.
The acquisition of Crimea helped Putin win domestic support, and his involvement in Syria gave him a platform in the Middle East from which to extend Russian authority globally. He helped keep Iran and North Korea on their toes so they could turn against the United States.
As relations between the United States and Russia have deteriorated, Russia has sought new allies, some of whom are America’s adversaries. Russia’s business ties with China have grown, and Russia has offered to sell China its advanced S-400 Triumf anti-aircraft system, which, if deployed in Asia, could endanger U.S. aircraft.
Russia’s actions are those of a hegemonic nation with global ambitions that threaten American interests.”
Russia: “We could not tolerate the prospect of NATO expansion and possible nuclear war.”
“Russia sees the growth of NATO as a threat to its very existence, which would immediately lead to war (nuclear war) if nothing is done to stop it.
Moscow is concerned that Ukraine will join NATO and establish military outposts along its border.
Russia’s participation was precipitated by NATO’s eastward expansion and is a response to Ukraine’s provocations that it would no longer serve as a buffer state between the EU and Russia.
Russia has taken steps to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO, which is similar to what the U.S. would do to prevent Mexico or Canada from forming a military alliance with Russia and allowing Russia to build military bases on their land.
There is no evidence that the Russian president wants a revival of the Soviet Union. Yes, he wants the buffer zone back, but he wants to avoid taking over any more former Soviet republics or satellites.
But Russia also does not want Western soldiers on its borders.
Even if Russia has no legal responsibility to defend the people of Donbass, it has a moral obligation to do so! The people of Donbass speak Russian and have historically been part of the Russian Federation.
The Ukrainian problem is serious and must be resolved peacefully.
The United States should be guided by the interests of Ukrainians and Russians, not by the agendas of European and American administrations.
The Western media characterize Russia’s moves as “aggression” and an attempt to revive the Soviet Union. But Russia has genuine security and economic concerns.”
Ukraine’s Four Alternative Perspectives on Russia’s Invasion
- Russia wants to get to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean by taking over Ukraine’s ports and stealing its energy and natural resources.
- “Ukraine has rich natural gas reserves that justify the risk involved. As long as Putin maintains control over Ukraine, Russia will have great power over the various European nations that depend on its oil resources.”
- Russia is infuriated by Ukraine’s increased emphasis on the EU and its resistance to Russian interference in Ukraine’s internal affairs.
- Any Western effort to govern the former Soviet regions goes against Moscow’s geopolitical philosophy.
Russia’s Six Other Perspectives on the Armed Conflict
Both Russia and Ukraine have
- with geographical connections.
This makes them one nation and one people.
- Russia is saving its future and the future of the world from nuclear war. It is trying to prevent a nuclear catastrophe and World War III through a pre-emptive strike (which would have happened if Ukraine, with its nationalist government and anti-Russian sentiment, had joined NATO).
- The Russian government is trying to remove the criminal dictatorship from its neighbor, Ukraine. After the 2014 coup in Ukraine, neo-Nazi groups such as Svoboda, UNA-UNSO, Right Sector, National Corps, and Rukh Voluntev, UUN, which are outlawed in Russia, gained a significant number of members in parliament.
The founders of these groups advocated the establishment of a “corporatist-syndicalist” state, which was essentially Nazi rule.
- Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister: “We did not start this conflict. We are finishing it.
It is time to end the conflict, because it has been going on for a very long time.
- Considering the fight against Nazi Germany, the military intervention in Ukraine should be considered a preventive strike. Recently, the Russian president warned that Russia would not repeat the “mistake” of appeasing the Soviet Union’s enemy, Nazi Germany, before World War II. Such a hostile strategy was a mistake, and Russia cannot afford to repeat it.
- West’s self-fulfilling mantra. Despite Russia’s assurances that it would not attack and its pleas for negotiations, the United States and NATO remained certain that Russia would attack Ukraine. Thus, the United States and NATO hastened to arm Kiev and escalate the war.
As if on cue, all U.S. allies imposed sanctions on Russia overnight in an attempt to strangle its economy.
The Western narrative of Russian aggression was seen by Russia as a collective Western preparation for an attack.
When will hostilities end?
Who will end the conflict, and will Russia end its military operation?
We believe that the Russian military will remain in Ukraine until it achieves the goals it has declared.
“The complete liberation of Donbass and the eradication of all Nazi traces in the country. The prosecution of those who have been giving orders to kill in Donbass for years.”
When this will happen is difficult to predict.
There is a possibility that the goals will be achieved between the spring and the fall of 2023.
Before a political solution can be found, Ukraine must guarantee that members of Nazi battalions and supporters of Bandera and Shukhevich will be brought to justice.
For several years, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation has been tracking every casualty, blockade, and terrorist attack in the DNR and LNR.
Every commander who gives violent orders is identified by name. Russia has also indicted people for every act of terrorism in Ukraine, as well as for the murders of journalists and other public figures.
As in Chechnya, Russia is unlikely to send suspects in the war with Ukraine to The Hague; instead, they will be tried by a Russian military tribunal.
Peace must be achieved in Ukraine before free and fair elections can be held. The Ukrainian people must elect leaders who are not tainted by blood or complicity with a criminal dictatorship and who are willing to work for peace.
It seems likely that Ukraine will continue to exist as a nation-state, but its status and borders are up for debate. It could become a federation of territories where each inhabitant is free to think and communicate in his or her own language.
The Donbass republics, which have been granted independence, will probably choose to join Russia. After the referendum, other territories will have a similar chance.
Will there be a third world conflict?
At present, the relationship between the West and Russia is perhaps the most dangerous in the world. There is a long history of mutual distrust between the two parties.
Moreover, both NATO and the Russian Federation are building up their militaries on both sides of Europe’s borders. This makes it more likely that a small incident could quickly turn into a full-scale nuclear war.
This could mean the end of mankind. As the number of nuclear weapons and technological advances increase, so does our ability to kill ourselves completely.
An accidental or deliberate nuclear launch by a single country could result in a devastating nuclear war that would be “Armageddon.
The issue is on the minds of many as the United States and Russia “lock horns” over the war in Ukraine.
However, both sides claim that a conflict is not likely at this time.
As the United States and Russia argue over who is responsible for this crisis, it is easy to see how a small mistake could escalate into an uncontrollable scenario.
“World War III will be nuclear and catastrophic,” claimed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. “Vice President Biden is a person of considerable experience, and he has already said that the only option to war is sanctions.”
There are several causes for the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and it is likely that some of these causes overlap.
In the end, I would like to remind you that the point of this essay is to encourage you to learn more about this important topic from reliable sources.
Clearly, things have been getting worse between the two countries for a long time, and Russia’s involvement was bound to happen at some point.
Still, it makes sense to ask how this conflict started and if we can predict when or where the next one will happen.
It is crucial that we avoid the mistakes that led to this war by learning from history. No matter what position you take.
Here are some considerations to keep in mind:
- Russia is different from the Soviet Union.
- Putin is not Stalin.
- While it’s likely that Russia will continue to do what it’s doing in Ukraine, it won’t lead to a new Cold War.
Whether or not you agree with the author’s perspective, I hope this essay has helped you better understand the Russia-Ukraine war that is occupying your television.
After all, the future is difficult to predict. We can only make an educated guess and hope that it is correct.
Given what you know and what you don’t know, it’s up to you to decide which scenario seems more likely.
Let us pray for an end to the conflict in Ukraine, and may there be peace!