The Russia-Ukraine Border Conflict, have been simmering for more than two months, with diplomatic efforts to resolve the issue showing little sign of progress. Russia has more than 100,000 troops on its border with Ukraine, sparking Western warnings of an imminent invasion. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, meanwhile, voiced concerns that Russia continues to build up troop numbers along Ukraine’s borders, including in Belarus.
Background of the Russia-Ukraine Border Conflict:
The Border conflict in Ukraine began with protests in the capital city of Kiev in November 2013 against Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to reject a deal for greater economic integration with the European Union. After a violent crackdown by state security forces unintentionally drew an even greater number of protesters and escalated the conflict, President Yanukovych fled the country in February 2014.
In March 2014, Russian troops took control of Ukraine’s Crimean region, before formally annexing the peninsula after Crimeans voted to join the Russian Federation in a disputed local referendum. Russian President Vladimir Putin cited the need to protect the rights of Russian citizens and Russian speakers in Crimea and southeast Ukraine. The Border conflict heightened ethnic divisions, and two months later pro-Russian separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine held a referendum to declare independence from Ukraine.
In July 2014, the situation in Ukraine escalated into an international conflict and put the United States and the European Union (EU) at odds with Russia when a Malaysian Airlines flight was shot down over Ukrainian airspace, killing all 298 onboard.
Timeline of the main Russia-Ukraine Border Conflict events so far:
24th of February 2022
- President of Russia, Vladimir Putin has announced a military operation in Ukraine, and he is warning other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to “consequences they have never seen.
- Putin called on Ukrainian soldiers to lay down their arms and justified the operation by claiming the government was overseeing a “genocide” in the east of the country.
- US President Joe Biden has denounced the “unprovoked and unjustified” attack on Ukraine, pledging the world will “hold Russia accountable”.
- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urges Putin to “stop troops from attacking Ukraine”.
23rd of February 2022
- The US and the West reacted by imposing the first tranche of sanctions against Russia for launching an invasion of Ukraine. This includes sanctions against two large Russian financial institutions and Russian sovereign debt, and sanctions against Russian elites and their family members
- Former US President Donald Trump has termed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s move declaring a portion of Ukraine as independent as “genius” and said Putin will have the “strongest peace force”.
- Australia became the latest country to announce sanctions against Russia. Australia will enact travel bans as well as targeted financial sanctions on eight members of the Security Council of the Russian Federation.
- The US imposed sanctions against two Russian financial institutions as well as Russian sovereign debt. It also imposed sanctions against Russian elites & their family members.
- Apart from Australia and United States; other western nations viz., Canada, European Union, and Britain announced plans to target banks and elites. Germany has halted major gas pipeline projects from Russia.
22nd of February 2022
- President Vladimir Putin of Russia has delivered an emotional and aggrieved address laying claim to all of Ukraine as a country “created by Russia,” recognising the independence of two Russian-backed territories in eastern Ukraine and threatening the government of Ukraine that the bloodshed could continue.
- Immediately after the speech, state television showed Putin at the Kremlin signing decrees recognising the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, which were created after Russia fomented a separatist war in eastern Ukraine in 2014.
- Russia’s upper house of parliament has given President Vladimir Putin permission to use military force outside the country.
21st of February 2022
- At an emergency UNSC meeting on the situation in Ukraine, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti said, “The escalation of tension along the border of Ukraine with the Russian Federation is a matter of deep concern. These developments have the potential to undermine peace and security of the region.
19th of February 2022
- NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Saturday that he had sent a letter to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to engage in dialogue within the NATO-Russia Council to avert a conflict in Ukraine.
- Russia welcomed India’s position on the Ukraine crisis, amid a spike in tensions between the NATO countries and Moscow over the situation in the eastern European nation. The reaction came a day after India said at the UN Security Council that ‘quiet and constructive diplomacy’ is the need of the hour and that any step that could escalate the tension should be avoided.
18th of February 2022
- As European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization officials sent out assurances that there’s still room for diplomacy, Russia expelled the second-highest U.S. diplomat in Moscow.
17th of February 2022
- Ukrainians defied pressure from Moscow with a national show of flag-waving unity, while the USA warned that Russia had added as many as 7,000 troops near Ukraine’s borders despite Kremlin declarations that forces were being pulled back from the region.
12th of February 2022
- Biden and Putin hold talks via video conference. The US president said a Russian invasion of Ukraine would cause “widespread human suffering” and that the West was committed to diplomacy to end the crisis but “equally prepared for other scenarios”.
- Putin complained in the call that the US and NATO have not responded satisfactorily to Russian demands that Ukraine be prohibited from joining the military alliance and that NATO pull back forces from Eastern Europe.
11th of February 2022
- Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, says US intelligence shows a Russian invasion could begin within days, before the Beijing Olympics end on February 20.
- The U.S. and the U.K. urge their citizens to leave Ukraine. President Biden announces the deployment of another 2,000 troops from the U.S. to Poland.
10th of February 2022:
- UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Russian FM Sergey Lavrov hold fruitless talks.
8th of February 2022
- French President Emmanuel Macron meets Putin for marathon talks in Moscow and tells reporters Russia will not escalate the Ukraine crisis.
- However, the Kremlin denied that Macron and Putin struck a deal on de-escalating the crisis. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that “in the current situation, Moscow and Paris can’t be reaching any deals”.
6th of February 2022
- Russia has established 70 per cent of the military buildup it needs to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, according to American officials cited anonymously in US media.
1st of February 2022
- Putin denies planning an invasion and accuses the US of ignoring his country’s security demands.
31st of January 2022
- The US and Russia spar over the Ukraine crisis at a special closed session of the UN Security Council.
28th of January 2022
- Russian President Vladimir Putin says Russia’s main security demands have not been addressed but that Moscow is ready to keep talking.
27th of January 2022
- Joe Biden warns of a likely Russian invasion in February.
- China throws its political weight behind Russia and tells the US that Moscow’s “legitimate security concerns” should be “taken seriously”.
26th of January 2022
- Washington presents a written response to Russia’s security demands, repeating a commitment to NATO’s “open-door” policy while offering a “principled and pragmatic evaluation” of Moscow’s concerns.
24th of January 2022
- NATO puts forces on standby and reinforces its military presence in Eastern Europe with more ships and fighter jets. Some Western nations start evacuating non-essential embassy staff from Kyiv. The US puts 8,500 troops on alert.
10th of January 2022
- US and Russian officials meet in Geneva for diplomatic talks but differences remain unresolved as Moscow repeats security demands that Washington says it cannot accept.
3rd of January 2022
- Joe Biden reassures Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that the US will “respond decisively” if Russia invades Ukraine.
17th of December 2021
- Russia presents detailed security demands to the West, including that NATO ceases all military activity in eastern Europe and Ukraine and that the alliance never accept Ukraine or other former Soviet nations as members.
7th of December 2021
- US President Joe Biden warns Russia of sweeping Western economic sanctions if it invades Ukraine.
- Satellite imagery shows a new build-up of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine, and Kyiv says Moscow has mobilised 100,000 soldiers along with tanks and other military hardware.
Important takeaways for all competitive exams for Russia-Ukraine Border Conflict :
- Russia Capital: Moscow;
- Russia Currency: Rouble;
- Russia President: Vladimir Putin;
- Ukraine President: Volodymyr Zelensky;
- Ukraine Capital: Kyiv;
- Ukraine Currency: Ukrainian hryvnia.