Russia has waged war against Ukraine. Bombings have been reported in rebel-held areas of Ukraine and the capital Kiev after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered military action against Ukraine. According to reports, there have been two explosions in Kramatosk. Russian President Putin has also threatened NATO that if it supports Ukraine, it should be prepared to face the consequences.
The question is whether Putin really wants to make Russia a superpower like the Soviet Union or does he want to consolidate his 23-year-old hold on Moscow’s power. Is it really their motive to keep Ukraine away from NATO for a safe Russia?
In such a situation, let us understand in 5 points that what is the real reason for Russia’s aggression against Ukraine? What does Putin want to achieve by attacking Ukraine?
1. Ukraine most important for Russia’s security
Since the beginning of Ukraine, which was formed after the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia has been trying to do it in its favor. However, Ukraine leaned towards the West to protect itself from Russian domination.
In December 2021, Ukraine expressed its desire to join the US-dominated world’s most powerful military alliance NATO, ie the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. This effort of Ukraine went to Russia and it deployed an army of millions on its border to stop Ukraine.
Actually, Ukraine has a border with Russia for more than 2200 km. Russia believes that if Ukraine joins NATO, NATO forces will reach the Russian border on the pretext of Ukraine.
In such a situation, the distance of Russia’s capital Moscow from the western countries will be only 640 kilometers. Right now this distance is about 1600 kilometers.
On the other hand, America is also not deterring from its action. More than 15 European countries have joined NATO after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Now he wants to include Ukraine also in NATO.
That is why Russia wants Ukraine to guarantee that it will never join NATO.
. Putin wants Russia to return the days of the Soviet Union
- Since becoming the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin has said many times that the dissolution of the Soviet Union was a historical mistake. Putin wants Russia to return the days of the Soviet Union.
- The dissolution of the Russian-dominated Soviet Union in 1991 created 15 new countries, one of which was Ukraine. Putin wants to expand Russia and restore its old dominance.
- Ukraine is most important to Putin’s ambitious plan. In a 2015 speech, Putin called Ukraine the “crown of Russia”.
- As soon as he took power, Putin waged war against Georgia, which was part of the Soviet Union, in 2008 and declared two of its regions, South Ossetia and Abkhaz, as independent, and deployed Russian forces there.
- Putin did something similar in 2014 in Ukraine. Then Russia invaded and occupied Crimea, which had been part of Ukraine since the 1950s.
- Putin also got Russian-backed separatist governments formed over a large area of Donetsk and Luhansk, two eastern regions of Ukraine. Now, recognizing these rebel areas as a new country, Russia has cleared the way for a Russian military base to be built there as well.
- On the other hand, Ukraine’s neighboring country Belarus is completely dependent on Russia for its economic and military needs. Russia has recently given a loan of 470 billion rupees to Belarus.
- Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko was re-elected to power with the backing of Russia after allegations of rigged and dishonest victories in the 2021 elections. Now he completely bows down to Russian support. Many experts believe that Belarus may merge with Russia in the future.
- Overall, Putin seems to be slowly moving forward in his strategy of expanding Russia and is also seen to be successful to some extent.
3. Putin wants to maintain both power and popularity
Since becoming the President of Russia in 1999, Vladimir Putin has done everything possible to keep himself in power.
Let us know how Putin does not want to loose his grip on power and popularity-
- Putin became a politician in 1991 after working for 16 years at the Russian intelligence agency KGB. In 1999, he became the President of Russia after Boris Yeltsin stepped down.
- He was re-elected president in 2004, but served as the prime minister of Russia from 2008 to 2012, following the rule of no more than two consecutive terms in accordance with the Russian constitution.
- Putin again became the President of Russia in 2012 and has held the position ever since. Changes to the Russian constitution in 2020 paved the way for him to remain President of Russia until 2036.
- Putin has also been accused of arbitrary changes to the constitution to maintain his power and of rigging elections and suppressing the voice of opposition parties. In 2021, he sent his main opposition leader Alexei Navalny to prison for three and a half years.
- Despite all his efforts, Putin’s popularity has declined in recent years. According to the Levada Center survey in October 2021, Putin’s popularity has reached a decade low.
- According to this survey, 53% of Russian people expressed confidence in Putin in 2021, which is the lowest since 51% in October 2012.
- Putin’s popularity peaked in 2015 after Ukraine’s invasion and annexation of Crimea, when 80% of Russians relied on Putin.
- Putin’s popularity has increased even before the attack on Ukraine, so Putin wants to raise his credibility again by doing the same.
4. Trying to gain an edge over America by stopping the expansion of NATO
- Russia has made it clear that its forces will not withdraw until Ukraine gives a guarantee that it will never join NATO.
- NATO may include 30 countries, including the US, Britain, France and many European countries, but the real meaning of stopping Russia from NATO is to prevent the increase of US dominance around Russia or in Europe.
- Russia demands that NATO return to its pre-1997 position, that is, remove the military bases it has built in Europe.
- Russia wants NATO to guarantee that it will not deploy lethal weapons near the Russian border. If NATO does so, it will have to withdraw its forces from Central Europe, Eastern Europe and the Baltic region.
- NATO has expanded rapidly in Europe since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, despite opposition from Russia, and many countries that were previously part of the Soviet Union, including Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, are now part of NATO. Are included.
- Thousands of NATO and US troops are stationed in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, all three countries bordering Russia.
- If Ukraine also joins NATO, then the dominance of US military alliance in the area around Russia will increase, which will not be good for Russia’s interests at all.
- NATO forces are not ready to bow to Russia by accepting the demand of Russia, because to do so would mean Russia getting the victory which it did not get even in the 45-year cold war with America from 1945 to 1990.
5. Making European countries feel their power
Europe is largely dependent on Russia for its oil and gas needs. This is the reason that many European member countries of NATO such as France, Britain and Germany are showing verbal aggression against Russia regarding Ukraine, but are unable to impose strict sanctions on it. Russia wants to make most of the European countries standing in the American camp feel their power through this dispute.
- Russia accounts for 13% of the world’s crude oil production. About 30% of the world’s oil and gas comes from Russia. 30% of Europe’s needs for crude oil and 40% of gas come from Russia.
- Crude oil prices have reached $100 a barrel amid the Ukraine crisis, the highest since September 2014. In the event of war, oil prices are expected to rise further, in which case Russia’s earnings may increase. Oil and gas accounts for 60% of Russia’s GDP.
- As the Ukraine crisis escalated in late 2021, Russia cut gas supplies to Europe, raising the price of electricity in European countries by up to five times.
- Several European member states of NATO are heavily dependent on Russia for their gas needs. Germany gets 65% of its gas, Italy 43%, France 16% from Russia.
- Some other NATO countries such as the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia rely on Russia for 50% of their gas requirements and Poland for 50% of their gas needs.
- If European countries impose economic sanctions on Russia, in return Russia can stop supplying gas to European countries. Doing so could lead to an energy crisis in Europe, which could skyrocket oil and gas prices there.
- In view of the Ukraine case, Germany is threatening Russia to close the 1222-km-long newly built Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline laid under the sea, but doing so will cause more damage to Europe, including Germany.