আমাদের কথা খুঁজে নিন


9 Essential Questions About Ukraine, Answered

Ukraine is quickly becoming the center of a geopolitical crisis that could be the biggest Europe has seen in the 21st century. But chances are, if you're reading this post, that's where your knowledge cuts out. So, we've answered your most basic questions about the conflict.
The Ukrainian political crisis started on Nov. 21, 2013, when President Viktor Yanukovych abandoned a free-trade agreement with the European Union, choosing instead to align his country’s future with Moscow. Spurred by then-imprisoned former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a Facebook post by journalist and activist Mustafa Nayem and activists on social media who all were hoping their country would lean towards the EU, thousands descended on Kiev’s Independence Square, the site of the nation’s Orange Revolution in 2004.
Protests heat up in #Ukraine after collapse of #EU Association Agreement “@YarikLviv: pic.twitter.com/66H5Yeyntb” #Євромайдан #euromaidan
— Erin Baumann (@Erin_Baumann) November 21, 2013
Activists who took part in the largely spontaneous protest dubbed it “EuroMaidan,” and an official Facebook page quickly became the fastest-growing page in the Ukrainian segment of the social network between Nov. 21 and Dec. 1, Mashable’s Christopher Miller reported at the time.
The mood was jovial. Those who gathered in the square sang nationalistic songs and chanted “Ukraine is Europe!” Meanwhile, Kiev turned to Moscow for a financial bailout by selling $15 billion of Ukrainian government bonds (and a relief of billions in gas debts).
That's when the internal crisis reached its climax.
In the days, weeks and months ahead, government authorities executed a brutal crackdown on crowds that gathered in Independence Square. The bloodiest point of the crisis came the week of Feb. 17 when more than 80 people were killed in clashes with the police.

An anti-government protester throws a stone during clashes with riot police outside Ukraine's parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. Some thousands of angry anti-government protesters clashed with police in a new eruption of violence Tuesday.

Image: Efrem Lukatsky/Associated Press

At the end of that week, Yanukovych's powers were slashed, and his arch-rival Yulia Tymoshenko was freed from prison. In a speech, she said Ukraine was done with its "dictator." A warrant was issued for Yanukovych’s arrest, and he fled for Russia. Arseniy Yatsenyuk was then named Ukraine’s interim prime minister, and Oleksandr Turchynov became Ukraine's acting president.
As the revolution in Kiev seemed to nearing its natural conclusion, Yanukovych turned up in Russia, seeking protection. Meanwhile, pro-Russian crowds in the southern peninsula of Crimea began protesting what they believed was a government takeover by pro-Western “anarchists” in the north. The region, which has a large Russian-speaking population and is home to one-fourth of the Russian Navy, quickly became a concern for everybody.
Then things got dicey.
The first signs of an escalating international military conflict came at the end of February when Moscow readied 150,000 troops near the Ukrainian-Russia border. The Russian defense minister said the action was necessary to protect Russian interests in the region, noting he was "carefully watching what is happening in Crimea" and taking "measures to guarantee the safety of facilities, infrastructure and arsenals of the Black Sea Fleet."
Armed men wearing unmarked fatigues and masks soon descended on key government and military institutions across the Crimean peninsula, and a number of planes carrying troops landed at Simferopol International Airport, which was then seized.
masked armed gunmen still reportedly patrolling at Simferopol, airport still in operation... #osint #rumint pic.twitter.com/DETS1dWZEw
— Nathan J Hunt (@ISNJH) February 28, 2014
Russian soldiers without insignia take over Ukraine coast guard base in Balaklava as orthodox priests sing hymns pic.twitter.com/eIF2FvfKt2
— Volodymyr Khomenko (@DominoBank) March 2, 2014
Local leaders — operating autonomously from the Ukrainian capital in Kiev — appealed to Russian president Vladimir Putin for help. He then took their request to his country's parliament in Moscow. Would they permit military action in Crimea to protect Russian interests? Their answer was yes.
Within a day Russia had “executed a de facto military takeover” of a very strategic region in a neighboring country with a stated purpose of protecting Russian interests. The new government in Kiev was powerless to stop it (not to mention Yanukovych, now on the run, insisted he was still president). U.S. officials called it an “uncontested arrival,” and Putin outright denied the troops were his.
But why, really, does Putin want the Crimean peninsula?

Image: @CIGeography
Writing for The Atlantic, Uri Friedman points to Thomas de Waal’s thesis on “soft annexation,” and it illustrates the real reason Putin is gradually wrapping his country’s arms around the Ukrainian territory:
Back in 2008, Thomas de Waal, an expert on the South Caucasus, argued that Putin's greatest legacy is something de Waal called "soft annexation," which, at the time, was underway in Georgia's breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The idea, expressed in various forms over the years, is that Russia is pulling political, economic, and military levers—all of which fall short of traditional invasion—to exploit ethnic conflicts in countries that used to be in its orbit. And the goal is to leverage these tensions, which are often relics of the Soviet Union's messy consolidation and collapse, to gain influence in former Soviet states, while preventing these countries from moving closer to the West.
So there’s that.
Ukraine is essentially the rope in an international tug-of-war between Russia and the West. Russia, under President Putin, wants to bring back Ukraine into its post-Soviet fold, making the country a part of its slowly expanding Eurasian Union (joined by former-Soviet states Belarus and Kazakhstan). However, a majority of the Ukrainian people want a government that will align itself with the European Union and other western countries. The United States supports Ukraine’s effort to form a new government that will carry this out.
Also, if Putin successfully invades Ukraine, world leaders fear it could embolden him to adopt more aggressive foreign policy. For example, since many European countries depend on natural gas that is pumped through Ukrainian pipelines, Putin could hold that supply hostage.
President Obama is standing with Ukraine. In a scathing statement he said “there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.” Later, in a phone call, he warned his counterpart in Russia that Moscow could face “serious repercussions” unless it halted military operations in Ukraine.
Photo of President Obama talking on phone to Russian President Putin today from the Oval Office: http://t.co/tfuiVKHsq3
— petesouza (@petesouza) March 1, 2014
A bipartisan group of 12 senators from the Foreign Relations Committee also expressed support for U.S. assistance in Ukraine in a letter to the president on Feb. 28.
We do not seek confrontation with President Putin and his government, but simply to ensure that Russia abides by its commitments and adheres to core principles of international law. A peaceful, democratic, stable, and sovereign Ukraine is in our national interest. We also believe that the U.S. should make use of the tools at its disposal, including targeted sanctions; and asset recovery targeting corruption, to dissuade individuals who would foment unrest to undermine Ukraine's territorial integrity or employ coercive economic measures against the Ukrainian people and the new Ukrainian government.
Secretary of State John Kerry also visited the region, bringing with him $1 billion in aid, a stern warning for Russia and a message: "It is diplomacy and respect for sovereignty — not unilateral force — that can best solve disputes like this in the 21st Century."
For the sake of the experiment, let's say Russia does move forward with its current military actions in Crimea, full-scale military invasion of the peninsula. "Total war," as this professor living in the region told the National Post. You would have the Russians fighting with seemingly unlimited resources, the Ukrainians—under a muddled chain of command fighting back—and a populace of nearly 2 million (with 60% of them Russians) stuck in the crossfire.
The U.S. very likely would not commit boots on the ground. But they could, and quite possibly would, offer the Ukrainian military financial, tactical and diplomatic support, opening the entirety of Ukraine into a full-scale proxy war. (Commentators have been comparing these events to those leading up to the Five-Day War in 2008—although noting it could be "longer and bloodier.")
Best case scenario, of course, would be if these mysterious troops in Crimea would pack up their weapons and go home—where-ever that may be. The Ukrainian people are then allowed to recognize their new leadership, hold elections in May and start to rebuild their government. Yanukovych would face the International Criminal Court to answer for "crimes against humanity." And the country’s newly minted prime minister gets the international aid he’s requested, getting the country back on track towards EU membership status.
So, is this as panic-inducing as it seems?
Yes, anytime a massive country with a terrifying military-industrial complex that's trying to regain a toehold on the world stage invades a smaller neighbor in the midst of its own political upheaval, is a time for panicking. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the situation in Crimea was the "biggest crisis" that Europe has faced in the 21st century.
This may be a “clash of old Cold War rivalries,” and some do “think it's the beginning of a new Cold War.” Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, said in a March 3 interview, “This is absolutely the most serious test of our alliances since the Cold War ended."
But truth is that Russia is in a whole different spot in the lineup than it was in the mid-20th century, and it lacks the leverage that had Americans nervously watching the nightly news for reports of impending suburbia-bound missiles.
As the Financial Times' Gideon Rachmann puts it, "The world is no longer divided into two mutually exclusive, and hostile, political and economic systems — a capitalist West and a communist East."
After the collapse of the Soviet system, Russia joined the global, capitalist order. The financial, business and social systems of Russia and the west are now deeply intertwined. A new east-west struggle is certainly under way today but it is being fought on entirely different terrain from the cold war – and under different rules.
Speaking on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on March 2, Secretary of State John Kerry did his part to reassure viewers that this isn’t exactly the same thing as before.
“We’re not trying to make this a battle between East and West; we’re not trying to make this a Cold War,” he said. “We hope that this can be resolved according to the standards of the 21st century. And frankly to the standards of the G-8. If Russia wants to be a G-8 country, it needs to behave like a G-8 country.”

As for World War III? World Wars I and II started over smaller disputes, so who knows.
Ukraine is a country in the post-Soviet bloc with a complicated history. First off, it's huge. It's the second-biggest country in Europe — bested only by its overly aggressive neighbor — with a population of 44.5 million. Its neighbors include the ex-Soviet Belarus, Moldova and Russia to the north, south and east and Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia — all members of the EU — to the west.
Russians make ethnically 17.3% of the population of #Ukraine , but lang spoken by 24% of it http://t.co/1HM7nWtbzh pic.twitter.com/dTDz38Ivy6
— Nandan Joshi (@nandanito) March 3, 2014
The Ukraine we know today has been independent of Soviet rule since 1991, when it declared its independence by means of referendum. Before that, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic operated as a sovereign Soviet socialist state for the 50-year period since WWII.
Honestly the entire history of Ukraine is expansive and complicated so if you really want to get the full picture you're going to have to set aside a few hours, and enter the Wikipedia rabbit hole.
Crimea is often referred to as an "semi-autonomous region" of Ukraine. This means that while yes, it is considered a territorial part of Ukraine, it can largely run itself — electing its own representative parliament and prime minister.
This, then, is why things can get very tricky. Facing the early indications of a Russian military “visit,” Crimea’s parliament appointed a new leader, Sergei Aksenov, who tends to lean East — toward Moscow. He declared himself “commander of all armed forces and police” while appealing to the Russian president for help from the rumored massing of Ukrainian nationalists and pro-Western anarchists from Kiev. The parliament’s speaker, a pro-Russian politician named Vladimir Konstantinov, then jumped in, saying he would “fight for an autonomous republic until the end.”
(This is the same Vladimir Konstantinov who dismissed the Russian flag flying over the capital’s parliament building, by telling a reporter, “Yes, there is a flag there which people raised. It is not bothering anyone.”)
Explore the tumultuous history of #Crimea: Photos, maps, timeline http://t.co/hlgF4v0kJl #Ukraine pic.twitter.com/KR0YqL0xoJ
— WSJ Europe (@WSJeurope) March 3, 2014
The picturesque southern peninsula's population leans heavily pro-Russian, with 60% Russians living there, and most Crimeans speak Russian. Ukrainians make up 25% and a small ethnic population that also leans pro-EU make up 12%. They are called the Tatars, and they were systematically persecuted by Joseph Stalin when they were forcibly deported for some in the population allegedly supporting the Nazis.
The region has had a complicated history with a rotating cast of paternal occupiers.
Crimea's complicated history, explained: http://t.co/XaaFEgWM2u via @washingtonpost pic.twitter.com/TqIAkp9lq1
— ProPublica (@ProPublica) March 1, 2014
It has, at times, been under the rule of the anti-Bolshevik White Army, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. In 1954, it was transferred from the Soviet Union to the Ukrainian SSR by Nikita Khrushchev as a “symbolic gesture.” (Important note: Khrushchev was Ukrainian.)
International groups and forums like the G-7, the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations are all trying to solve the current crisis. The G-7 (a subset of the G-8 that doesn't include Russia) issued a strong statement on March 1, condemning Russia over its actions in eastern Ukraine and suspending plans for an upcoming G-8 forum that was supposed to be held in Sochi this June.
The United States will suspend upcoming participation in preparatory meetings for the G-8.
— @NSCPress (@NSCPress) March 1, 2014
This, it seems, is a move designed to either embarrass or pressure Putin, and bring him back from the brink so the host won't be left holding a summit of one.
We, the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States and the President of the European Council and President of the European Commission, join together today to condemn the Russian Federation’s clear violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, in contravention of Russia’s obligations under the UN Charter and its 1997 basing agreement with Ukraine. We call on Russia to address any ongoing security or human rights concerns that it has with Ukraine through direct negotiations, and/or via international observation or mediation under the auspices of the UN or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. We stand ready to assist with these efforts.
The IMF, meanwhile, is sending a delegation to Kiev this week that hopes to "start consultations." Ukraine’s interim government wants $15 billion of the IMF’s money in an emergency financing plan that requires what PM Arseniy Yatseyuk calls “harsh demands," likely referring to austerity measures the previous government refused to accept.
The UN Security Council — of which Russia just so happens to be a permanent member — met on March 1 with Ukraine's ambassador, who asked them to “do everything possible” to stop Russia’s “aggression.” In a follow-up meeting the next day, the former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, in a letter, called on Putin “asking him to use the armed forces of the Russian Federation to establish legitimacy, peace, law and order, stability and defending the people of Ukraine.”
Russia’s UN envoy Churkin shows #Yanukovich letter that asks Putin to use military force in #Ukraine pic.twitter.com/4NldrIX5LC via @RT_com— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) March 3, 2014
Long story short: With Russia as a member of the Security Council, the group won’t be doing much outside of issuing a series of condemnations, coordinating meetings and blowing hot air.
Take, for instance, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power's remarks at the March 2 meeting, which were issued in response to the Russian ambassador's claim that his country was reacting to a request by the Ukrainians:
Listening to the representative of Russia, one might think that Moscow had just become the rapid response arm of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. So many of the assertions made this afternoon by the Russian Federation are without basis in reality.
Let’s begin with a clear and candid assessment of the facts.
It is a fact that Russian military forces have taken over Ukrainian border posts. It is a fact that Russia has taken over the ferry terminal in Kerch. It is a fact that Russian ships are moving in and around Sevastapol. It is a fact that Russian forces are blocking mobile telephone services in some areas. It is a fact that Russia has surrounded or taken over practically all Ukrainian military facilities in Crimea. It is a fact that today Russian jets entered Ukrainian airspace. It is also a fact that independent journalists continue to report that there is no evidence of violence against Russian or pro-Russian communities.
Russian military action is not a human rights protection mission. It is a violation of international law and a violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the independent nation of Ukraine, and a breach of Russia’s Helsinki Commitments and its UN obligations.
Violent ultra-nationalists. Post-Soviet Russia. A breakaway republic. "Hope you enjoyed the peace because as of now we're back in business."
Crimson Tide, the 1995 film directed by Tony Scott and starring Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman, is a thrilling romp through a terrifying ordeal during a bit of turmoil in a former Soviet state. There are nuclear missiles. Rogue governments. All the action to make you sweat. But the odds of a rogue commander of a nuclear-powered Ukranian submarine grabbing the keys and slipping away are, even by Hollywood’s admissions, low.

সোর্স: http://mashable.com

অনলাইনে ছড়িয়ে ছিটিয়ে থাকা কথা গুলোকেই সহজে জানবার সুবিধার জন্য একত্রিত করে আমাদের কথা । এখানে সংগৃহিত কথা গুলোর সত্ব (copyright) সম্পূর্ণভাবে সোর্স সাইটের লেখকের এবং আমাদের কথাতে প্রতিটা কথাতেই সোর্স সাইটের রেফারেন্স লিংক উধৃত আছে ।