UK based freelance technical and creative writer with interests in safety, facilities management and procurement.
Just a brief foreword before getting into the meat of things: I'm not perfect and I can/will make mistakes in writing this post, I've tried to fact check everything but the amount of international propaganda is enormous in 2022 and fiction can easily be mistaken for fact. Please do your own independent research on all topics and don't rely on a single point of source for news.
An extremely complex geopolitical issue. Or is it?
If you aren't familiar with the topic it might look like the war in Ukraine started with an invasion by Russia on February 24th 2022. A Ukrainian law (reportedly) signed in September 2015 designated 20th February 2014 as the "date of the start of the temporary occupation of the Russian Federation. This is the date of Russia's annexation of the Crimea, a small island south of Ukraine... That was my first misconception, it's not south of Ukraine, it's part of Ukraine and has been since since the 1950's. It's not a huge amount of time in the grand scheme of things but the reality is that it was legally signed over by the Soviet Union to Ukraine in 1954.
Crimea's Location Relative to Mainland Ukraine
Reason for transfer from the USSR to Ukraine
On 27 February 1954 major Soviet newspaper Pravda reported: "Taking into account the integral character of the economy, the territorial proximity and the close economic and cultural ties between the Crimea Province and the Ukrainian SSR, the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet decrees:
To approve the joint presentation of the Presidium of the Russian SFSR Supreme Soviet and the Presidium of the Ukrainian SSR Supreme Soviet on the transfer of the Crimea Province from the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR." (now Ukraine)
Noticing a trend?
Let's sum up what we've just discussed:
- 25th February 1954: USSR transfer Crimean Peninsula to Ukraine.
- 20th February 2014: Occupation by Russia in the Crimea begins but the Kremlin originally denies these are Russian forces and shortly after the Donbas regions of Ukraine.
- 24th February 2022: Russia invades Ukraine mainland with the notion of "eradicating the state of Ukrainian Nazis" after completely refuting claims by the international community of a planned invasion going as far back as August 2021.
On 20th March 2022 the now occupied Crimean Peninsula conducted the 2014 Crimean Status Referendum of which the result was a 96.7% vote in favour for Crimea to join the Russian Federation. Around the same time Russian-backed separatists in the Donbas regions of Ukraine seized Government buildings and another referendum quickly followed in which major regions had purportedly voted between 89-96% in favour for independence of the Donbas from Ukraine. Irrespective of outcomes, the referenda of these Ukrainian territories were initiated and controlled by a foreign state who seized control of land by force, the referenda are therefore illegitimate irrespective of outcome.
In addition to the above I would also add that I can't find any information relating to people of Crimea or the Donbas' wishes to transfer to Russia or become independent from Ukraine at any point before the Russian occupation of these areas.
We [insert country here] invaded other countries for hundreds of years
You could liken the invasion to any number of hundreds if not thousands of wars throughout history but justifying it happening in 2022 with [insert country here] did it x number of years ago, I've heard of this being referred to as "Pro-Russian", in my opinion it isn't necessarily pro-Russian but it is pro-war and is unhelpful to maintaining international peace.
Russia was 'provoked' at least in part by NATO Expansion towards the East
There's lots of information freely available online to suggest that the war was provoked by [insert western country, politician or organisation here], at first I agreed that this was probably true. In reality the entire conversation is simply a justification of the invasion of a smaller, non-nuclear state by a considerably larger, nuclear one. History seems to find a way to repeat itself when you consider that Ukraine was also seized by Soviets during the communist occupation from 1919 to 1991.
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)
Despite the above claims that provocation is in part due to Nato expansion, in 2009 NATO (who by the way also declare themselves to be a defensive alliance and contributor to peace internationally) reported that "NATO and Russia do not consider each other as adversaries. They share the goal of overcoming the vestiges of earlier confrontation and competition and of strengthening mutual trust and cooperation." Russia didn't seem to be threatened by Nato just a decade ago.
The 'Collective West' started the coup that overthrew the Ukrainian ex PM Viktor Yanukovych
Russia refers to the Revolution of Dignity in 2014, a revolution in which ex Ukrainian PM Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown through social order as a 'Coup'.
A 'coup d'état', also known as a coup, is specifically an illegal seizure of power or removal of a government and its powers by a political faction. The definition of a revolution is a fundamental and relatively sudden change in political power and political organization which occurs when the population revolts against the government.
What can be said with certainty is that there's no evidence to suggest that the revolution was caused by any external influences however Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014 and that's a fact.