The 2014, stating the desire to return Crimea

The
Crimean Peninsula was part of the Russian Federation until a soviet leader
named Nikita Khrushchev, gave it to Ukraine as a present in 1954. Notably, the
two states involved in the invasion of Crimea are Ukraine and Russia. Sixty
years after Ukraine received Crimea, in 2014, Russia launched a military
invasion and an annexation of Crimea. Leading up to the events was a meeting
held by Russian President Vladimir Putin in February 2014, stating the desire
to return Crimea to Russia. Shortly after this discussion, began many protests and
the plan to remove Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. President Yanukovych
disappeared from Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, and was suspected to be heading to
Crimea, and after weeks of not returning, was replaced by President Petro
Porshenko. After the peaceful protests turned violent, masked troops in
unmarked clothing, Spetsnatz, were ‘fueling the fire’ and began taking over
government buildings in Crimea. These events led to a Pro-Russian government
throughout Crimea in March 2014, and a few days later Russia claimed control of
Crimea. Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a speech on March 18, 2014
stating that his annexation of Crimea was legitimate since 96% of the Crimean
residents voted in a referendum in favor of joining Russia (de Wijk, 2016).

            Due to the referendums occurring in
Crimea, Ukrainians that did not want to be a part of Russia had the option to
leave, but they had to move to mainland Ukraine. This ultimately brought upon
the issue of armed conflict in a previously peaceful state caused by masked men.

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In a state with armed conflict, the conflict itself can disintegrate a whole
society including law enforcement, educational institutions, and access to
health services (CFR, Armed Conflict). The aspect of human rights came about
when the government was overthrown in Crimea stated that if the Crimean people
did not want to be a part of Russia, they had the option to evacuate. However,
if they stayed longer than the allotted days of time given to evacuate, they would
become part of Russia. As for Crimea, since the incursion there has been a
large military buildup on the peninsula. Russia has the ability to bring
military equipment across the border fairly easily, and across the Kerch Strait
which is a small strait located between Russia and Crimea, and it has done just
that. Also, Russia has a sizable Black Sea Fleet which now conveniently located
in the Sevastopol Naval Base at the Southernmost point of Crimea. Not only is
there instability being caused in Crimea, but there is instability in Eastern
Ukraine, bordered with guarded checkpoints between Russia and Ukraine.

            After the invasion happened in
Crimea not many international states were jumping in to assist Ukraine. There
had been talks between European states since 2008 when Ukraine applied to join
the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). However, these plans with NATO
were put on the shelves when President Viktor Yanukovych was placed into power
in 2010. President Yanukovych’s goals during presidency were to keep Ukraine non-aligned
with other states. This did not fare well for the Ukrainian people when it came
time for assistance after the incursions along their borders. Throughout the
annexation of Crimea, NATO did condemn this action, but showed no interest
intervention or offering a membership position to Ukraine (Menon, 2015). Ukraine
is also not a member of the European Union (EU) or the United Nations (UN). It
seems that not being a member in these three organizations, NATO, EU, and UN,
played a large part in why there was no international intervention when Russia
was invading Crimea. Despite not being a part of these organizations, a non-governmental
organization, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRS), was still
able to provide humanitarian assistance to the Ukrainian people. The ICRS aided
displaced persons fleeing North of the peninsula of Crimea and those who were left
behind in Crimea. Also, ICRS did help the Eastern Ukraine which was going
through its own military invasion with much political and social unrest caused
by the Russians as well.

            Many of the actions taken by Russian
President Putin have shown that he prefers to run his country through the lens
of the realist. The theoretical perspective I can see for Ukraine and Russia is
realism. The realist theory shows through because the stance of President Putin
was known before the invasion, that he did not support Ukraine joining the
NATO, UN, or EU. This is not the first country that Russia has invaded in
recent times Georgia, Belarus (Bela-Russia as its nicknamed), Ukraine, and more,
all within the past decade. Russia has demonstrated time after time being able
to decimate one country with strong military presence in order to secure land
and power for themselves. Crimea was a prime example of Russia using Ukraine to
pursue its own interests at the expense of another state. Russia had much to
gain from Crimea economically and militarily. Ukraine’s Navy lost much of its
infrastructure and their maritime assets after seizure by Russian forces
(Sanders, 2014). This is an ideal place for the Black Sea Fleet, secured oil
lines, strategic surface to air missile systems, and other military equipment
all moving east towards the rest of NATO. This is a pawn in Russia’s game, being
able to secure power throughout Europe and it seems to work their favor when
you analyze Russia with the realist theory. Crimea was a perfect place for a
quick land grab, and now it is secured as part of Russia.

            Even though we are nearing the
anniversary of four years post invasion for Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, unrest
still remains in these areas. Crimean people have settled down since the vote of
citizens in favor of joining Russia. Eastern Ukraine along with much of Russia
is still a fairly regular topic in the intelligence community. New equipment
that has been brought to Crimea is positioned well and some military facilities
that were once for show have come back to life. Members of the Russian military
still to this day, maintain actual control over many strategic facilities located
throughout the peninsula (Marples, 2014). The native language spoken in Crimea
is now Russian, no longer the Ukrainian or Tatar language. Overall, the Ukraine
and Russia topic has always peaked my interest since this happened when I was
living in Europe. In conclusion, we covered the events in Ukraine that led to
the invasion of Crimea, the armed conflict and force that was used by the
Russians, other international state’s lack of involvement in the conflict, the
realist perspective that fits Russian interests, and the aftermath of the
peninsula after the invasion. 

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