Russia: Russia Claims a Lot More Than Ukraine


March 19, 2024: The Russian government recently announced, that once they conquer Ukraine and absorb it into Russia, portions of Ukraine will be added to existing Russian provinces. This is part of a plan to exterminate Ukraine completely. Russia has already been moving Ukrainian civilians it controls to different parts of Russia where it will be easier to exterminate Ukrainian culture over a few generations. Russians are then moved into the territory formerly occupied by those Ukrainians to make those areas very Russian. There is also a plan for Russia to conquer and occupy portions of Poland and Romania that Russia believes should belong to Russia. This is unlikely because Poland and Romania are members of NATO, an organization formed in 1949 to protect its members from Russian aggression by mandating that if one NATO member is attacked by Russia, then all NATO members will respond as if they had been attacked. Russia has denounced NATO repeatedly and threatened to ignore it but has never actually attacked a NATO member.

One reason Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022 was because Ukraine was negotiating with NATO to become a member. Ukraine was also about to become a member of the EU, the European economic union. If Ukraine belonged to the EU, Ukraine would be less likely to trade with Russia because EU membership enables Ukraine to do nearly all its trade with EU members. This includes EU ally the United States, which has the largest and most diverse economy in the world.

According to Russian leaders, most of Ukraine once belonged to Russia and those areas were not called Ukraine. This ignores the fact that the Soviet Union succeeded in its 1945 demand that Ukraine be made a UN member as a country independent of Russia. According to NATO and most other nations in the world, Ukraine became independent, as did a dozen other portions of the Soviet Union when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Many Russians, including former Soviet era KGB officer Vladimir Putin, feel the collapse of the Soviet Union was a tragic event that Putin believes must be reversed. If Putin can conquer and absorb Ukraine back into Russia, that will be the beginning of a Soviet Union revival. Putin will then go after the other now independent former Soviet States and ask or demand that they rejoin the Soviet Union. Belarus is the only one of those former Soviet states that might do so willingly. The other former Soviet states say they will fight, like Ukraine did, to resist becoming part of Russia once more.

But then there is Crimea, which is a special case and a separate problem for Russia, Ukraine and the Crimeans. In the 1990s Russia claimed that Crimeans had voted to become an independent Crimean state that wanted to eventually merge with Russia. Crimea was independent in the 1990s, something Crimeans voted for. Ukraine objected and in 1995 seized control of Crimea. Since the 18th century Crimea had belonged to the Russian Czarist Empire, then the Soviet Union and, with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, became an independent Ukraine.

When Crimea became part of Ukraine, the Russians and Ukrainians negotiated a lease arrangement so that the Russian Black Sea Fleet could maintain its major naval base of Sevastopol in Crimea. This meant that there was a large Russian military presence in Crimea legally and that made many Ukrainians nervous because those Russian troops could enable Russia to take control of Crimea by force, which they did in 2014 and still control the area in 2024. Ukraine still wants to reclaim Crimea and halted the flow of essential fresh water from Ukraine to Crimea in 2014. One reason for the 2022 Russian invasion was to seize Ukrainian controlled areas near Crimea and restore the flow of fresh water to Crimea. The Crimean situation complicates any efforts to make peace between Russia and Ukraine. Most Crimeans back Russia in the current Ukraine war because they consider Russia the lesser of two evils. That is an exception among neighbors of Russia that once belonged to the Soviet Union. Except for Crimea, no other former part of the Soviet Union wants to rejoin the Union.




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