Russia Invades Ukraine as History Repeats Itself
Tension in Ukraine has only continued to increase since the Russian takeover of the Crimean Peninsula.
Russia has long been resistant to Ukraine’s moving towards European institutions, specifically NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization).
In November of 2013, Ukraine’s president, Viktor Yanukovych, arrived in Vilnius, Lithuania upon invitation to a two-day ‘Eastern Partnership’ summit, and refused to sign an association agreement proposing closer ties with the European Union.
Yanukovych was pro-Russian, and had been pressured by the country, which had subsequently offered Ukraine economic assistance of around $15 billion.
Citizens of Ukraine reacted to Yanukovych’s rejection by protesting in Kyiv, the capital. The demonstration lasted several months and escalated to the point of armed forces attempting to take control. The escalation reached its peak on February 20, 2014, when at least 77 lives were lost at Kyiv’s Independence Square.
As Yanukovych fled, the capital became occupied by various pro-European opposition parties, and attention became focused on Crimea, a peninsula located south of Ukraine and west of Russia.
Vladimir Putin, president of Russia, dispatched his army and implemented fighter jets along Russia’s western borders. And on February 27, gunmen without military insignia on their uniforms, later identified as Russian soldiers, seized control of government buildings and airports in Crimea.
In March of 2014, in a contested vote after Russian forces had entered the region, Crimea voted overwhelmingly in favor of separating from Ukraine. Putin subsequently signed legislation to complete the absorption of Crimea into Russian control.
Fast forward to the beginning of 2022, when Russia, under the command of Putin, has launched a full-scale invasion in the country of Ukraine.
By April, however, Russian military supplies and morale began to fall, and forces began to retreat from northern Ukraine; including the capital of Kyiv.
But they have not left quietly. Photographic evidence and eyewitness accounts of torture, rape, and execution have emerged, as Moscow continues to deny reports that its troops are targeting civilians.
According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), as of April 2, 3,455 civilian casualties have occurred: 1,417 deaths and 2,038 injuries.
OHCHR believes the accurate totals are even higher, as some information has been delayed or is pending verification.
This raises the question, will the United States, or Russia’s ally China seek further involvement in the war?
The United States President Joe Biden will be attending an upcoming NATO summit and has considered permanently increasing the number of troops in countries that border Ukraine in Eastern Europe and Poland, following his promise to not put American troops in danger.
David Wells, Jr. served in the United States Marine Corps on the home front during Operation Desert Storm, after Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait.
“Knowing what occurred during the Obama administration with Russia—which is where Putin made his first attempt at taking over territory and was successful with it, I see this being exacerbated by our current political parties,” Wells said.
Steven Waite, Petty Officer Second Class of the United States Navy agreed.
“We’ve seen Russia do this multiple times now—under the Obama administration, Russia took over Crimea. It definitely has similarities. I think the U.S. will have to take further action,” he said.
As the crisis in Ukraine continues, experts are drawing parallels to the conflict between China and Taiwan, and warning of the possibility of Chinese President Xi Jinping methodically plotting the timing of his own takeover.
Waite added, “If you look on a big map, you range out however many miles international law says they can own, China owns all of South China Sea. Not allowing any of these other countries to own that water. And with our freedom of navigation around Taiwan, I believe they are also going to invade China in the next couple of years.”