Russia-Ukraine War: Brief history of Russia-Ukraine Conflicts

1 year ago ,     Hasan Mahedi
Russia-Ukraine War: Brief history of Russia-Ukraine Conflicts

Mahedi Hasan | 24 November 2022

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia without provocation in 2022 sparked one of Europe's deadliest conflicts since World War II. The war could damage Ukraine's cultural, economic, and political ties with Russia. Russia Ukraine War didn't start by one day. There have been massive conflicts and history between Russia and Ukraine. Here are some key points briefly that you might need to know:

USSR: Russia, Ukraine, and some neighboring 13 countries were part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) from 1922 to 1991. At this point, Russia has deep cultural, economic, and political bonds with Ukraine, and in many ways, Ukraine is central to Russia's identity and vision for itself in the world.

Countries in the Former USSR, Photo source: National World

The 1990s: After the dissolution of the USSR, Ukraine gained its independence in 1991. After the independence, following the treaty Ukraine agreed to remove its nuclear weapon by 1996. Russia signed a treaty where there was specified that Russia would not invade Ukraine or will not do any border-related conflicts.

The 2000s: Though they differed, Ukraine was motivated by the western bloc. In this context, Russia always tried to control the politicians of Ukraine. Kremlin always influenced pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine. Russia attempted to maintain this relationship so that the politicians always listened to their words. Sometimes they succeed; sometimes, they fail and take another step to turn it down.

2014: In February and March 2014, Russia invaded and annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula. This incident occurred in the aftermath of the Dignity Revolution and is part of the larger Russo-Ukrainian War. Despite Russia's initial claim that its military was not involved in the events, Putin later admitted that troops were deployed to "stand behind Crimea's self-defense forces." On March 18, 2014, Russia formally incorporated Crimea.

Crimea Issue 2014, Photo Source: The New Yorker

Volodymyr Zelenskyy presidency: The tension between Russia and Ukraine got its highest pick when pro west comedian Volodymyr Zelenskyy became the president of Ukraine with a 73% vote. Ukraine's intention to join NATO and the European bloc was more evident to Russia, and leaders from Russia were continuously threatening the consequences of joining those blocs. Putin repeatedly said that Russia and Ukraine were the same countries and had to return to their origins. On February 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine.

Volodymyr Zelensky reacts following the announcement of the presidential election's first exit poll, at his campaign headquarters in Kyiv on April 21, 2019.

Here are some updates on Russia Ukraine War Right Now, based on Reuters (November 23, 2022)

  • Deaths: At least 40,295 people
  • Non-fatal injuries:  At least 53,616 people
  • Displaced: Approximately 14M people
  • Buildings destroyed: At least 140,000
  • Property damage: Approximately $350B


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BBC News. (2019, April 22). Ukraine election: Comedian Zelensky wins presidency by landslide - BBC News. BBC News.

Klepper, D. (2022, August 9). Russian disinformation spreading in new ways despite bans. Associated Press.

Mankoff, J. (2022, March 22). Russia’s War in Ukraine: Identity, History, and Conflict | Center for Strategic and International Studies. Center for Strategic & International Studies.

Masters, J. (2022, October 11). Ukraine: Conflict at the Crossroads of Europe and Russia | Council on Foreign Relations. Council of Foreign Relations.

Weaver, C. (2015, March 15). Putin was ready to put nuclear weapons on alert in Crimea crisis | Financial Times. Financial Times.

Feature photo source: Kings college london