Issue Between Russia And Ukraine:
Russia has launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine by land, air and sea, in what is being seen as the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since World War II.
- Ukraine, a democratic country of 44 million people with more than 1,000 years of history, is the biggest country in Europe by area after Russia itself.
- It voted overwhelmingly for independence from Moscow after the fall of the Soviet Union and says it aims to join Nato and the European Union.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, has called Ukraine an artificial creation carved from Russia by enemies, a characterisation Ukrainians call shocking and false.
- The Russian President has also claimed that Ukraine is a puppet of the West and was never a proper state anyway.
- Putin has demanded guarantees from the West and Ukraine that it will not join NATO, a defensive alliance of 30 countries.
- He also wants Ukraine to be demilitarised and become a neutral state.
- But in January last year, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged US President Joe Biden to let Ukraine join NATO. This greatly irked Russia as it does not want Ukraine to move towards European institutions such as NATO and the EU.
- Both Russia and the West see Ukraine as a potential buffer against each other.
- Russia considers Ukraine within its natural sphere of influence. Most of it was for centuries part of the Russian Empire, many Ukrainians are native Russian speakers and the country was part of the Soviet Union until winning independence in 1991.