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Ukraine Russia Crisis: Is the War Inevitable?

A conflict is brewing at the crossroads of the Ukraine Russia border. Russia is accused of massing up military across the Ukrainian border, whereas Moscow calls it an act of deterrence, blaming the west for curating this crisis.

Kyiv, in contrast, says this is an act of aggression over the likely induction of Ukraine towards joining the NATO alliance.

So, what is the reality? What is the root of the Ukraine Russia conflict? Why are the tensions escalating? And is a war now inevitable?

Ukraine Russia Crisis: What, How, & Why?

Ukraine gained independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. But, today, the Crimea island, previously under Ukraina territory, is not controversially controlled by Russia. On the other hand, the Donbas region is the latest battleground where the current conflict is brewing.

On 26 January, 4 Ukrainian soldiers were killed by a group of pro-Russian separatists. The killing resulted in breaking a ceasefire agreement of 2020.

The situation has become quite precarious in the seventeen days that have followed. Thousands of soldiers from both sides have descended on the border, along with dozen of missile launchers and tanks. However, both countries deny stoking up tensions.

But what are the reasons behind the conflict?

Source: BBC

The answer is Ukraine’s demographic and geographic makeup. Ukraine is divided into an eastern region close culturally and historically to Russia, while the rest /of the country identifies itself as purely Ukrainian. The eastern region of the country is the hotbed of pro-Russian sentiment and rebellion.

The rebellions are supported by Russia and lay a vital role in keeping the conflict simmering.

How Widespread Will the War Be?

If the Russian army invades Ukraine, the risks of a major military invasion spiraling outside the Ukrainian border are stellar. In addition, the widespread war will instigate a refugee flow that will destabilize the neighboring countries, at the very least.

Given the history of Russian destabilization activity, chances of the special-operation forces trying to infiltrate the refugee flow in NATO countries will also mount up.

Military accidents also ascend a major risk to next-door countries. For example, if some of the Russian missiles fired at Ukraine destroy something in the nearby NATO countries, tensions can escalate between Russia and NATO.

According to Matthew Kroenig, if Russia succeeds in taking even a slice of Poland of Estonia, it would be a huge win for Putin. This big bright line crossed would break President Biden’s promise of defending every inch of NATO territory.

Such circumstances will test the true allegiance of NATO, and something Putin finds very interesting.

Ukraine Russia Crisis: Is There a Diplomatic Wayout?

Any diplomatic deal between the two nations would cover wider security issues and the looming war-like scenario in eastern Ukraine. Over the revival of the Minks Peace Agreement of 2014 & 2015, talks on solving the conflict have been taking place in Ukraine, France, Russia, and Germany.

Moscow has repeatedly insisted it has no plans to invade Ukraine. However, they have demanded that NATO and US not deploy weapons in Ukraine and pull back forces from eastern Europe. Nonetheless, Ukraine postulates have already given away too much to the separatists and Russia.

According to BBC, the following five situations could help deescalate the Ukraine tensions diplomatically:

  • The west could persuade President Putin to back down
  • Russia and Nato could agree on a new security deal
  • Russia and Ukraine could revive the Minsk agreement
  • The current stand-off could evolve into a status quo
  • Ukraine could become neutral like Finland

Furthermore, Olaf Scholz, Chancellor of Germany, met with Putin in Moscow a day after visiting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv to show solidarity.

Scholz urged Russia to “clearly deescalate the current tensions” on Monday. The Secretary of State reiterated Western unity in preparing to impose tough sanctions if Russia encroaches further into Ukraine, although he did not make specific recommendations.

“No one should doubt the determination and preparedness of the EU, NATO, Germany and the United States, for example, when it comes to what has to be done if there is military aggression against Ukraine,” 

Olaf Scholz 

Is the Ukraine Russia War Inevitable?

Since 2014, 13,000 civilians, 4,100 Ukrainian troops, and 5,650 separatists have been killed in the conflict. To put a full stop to the conflicts, the Ukrainian government pushes for NATO membership. However, this is where things are more complicated.

For Europe, this means influence on another level of the Russian border, but Putin views it as an existential threat. Moreover, Russia has invested billions of dollars in Ukraine, and above all, there is a significant population of pro-Russian civilians who want to secede from Ukraine.

Stakes are high, and the prospects for solutions are quite low. In contrast, the implications for the west, especially Europe, are also severe. To top it all off are the reports of a third world war.