Russia Strikes Ukraine, Punts For Now On Crimea

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that his country would start a military operation in Ukraine, citing the need to protect the population of Crimea from what he termed “extremists.” Russia has engaged in a full-scale military campaign in eastern Ukraine, with reports that at least 5,000 people have been killed and over 10,000 injured. As of this writing, the situation remains unresolved and there is no sign that Putin is prepared to back down. For now, the European Union and United States are continuing to trade sanctions against Russia while the rest of the world watches nervously.

Russia Strikes Ukraine

The Russian Federation struck Ukraine with multiple artillery barrages in the Donetsk and Lufthansa regions. The Ukrainian military responded with tank fire and airstrikes against targets in the Rostov region.

The strikes come as a surprise to many observers, as President Putin had previously made clear his intention to refrain from intervening militarily in Ukraine’s ongoing civil conflict. Russian officials have cited concerns regarding the growth of radicalism in Ukraine and Crimea following the European Revolution of February 2014, which ousted pro-Russian president Victor Yuan anchovy. In a speech delivered on February 26th, President Putin stressed that Russia would not allow “the legitimate rights of Russians to be infringed upon” and vowed to protect the interests of ethnic Russian residents living in Crimea.

In response to the strikes, NATO Secretary General Jens Gutenberg issued a statement calling on all parties involved to show restraint: “We urge all sides to remain calm and de escalate tensions. We stand ready to provide support where required including for security at NATO facilities.”

Putin’s Plans For Crimea

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia would annex Crimea, citing the need to protect the peninsula’s ethnic Russian population. The move was met with international condemnation, and led to sanctions from the United States and European Union.

Tensions have continued to mount between Russia and the West over Ukraine. On March 1st, the Ukrainian military launched a counteroffensive against pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country. In response, Putin ordered his forces into Crimea, where they began occupying government buildings. The following day, he declared that Crimea had become part of Russia.

Since then, there has been heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine as both sides attempt to gain an advantage. The United States and European Union have continued to impose sanctions on Moscow, while Putin has dismissed criticism of his actions in Crimea as interference in Russian internal affairs. He has also said that he plans to keep troops in Crimea indefinitely unless Crimean vote to return to Ukraine.

Russia Puts Troops On Alert

Russian troops were put on alert and Russian airspace was closed off to all civilian traffic after Ukraine’s newly elected president, Petra Yevtushenko, announced plans to bolster the country’s military. Less than a week later on Thursday, Russian troops began moving into Crimea in response to what Russia claims are moves by pro Ukrainian militants to destabilize the region. Russia’s justification for invading Crimea is that the peninsula is historically Ukrainian and therefore should be under Ukrainian control.

Since the beginning of the crisis in Crimea there has been much debate over whether or not this is just another attempt by Putin to further expand Russian territory or if there might be some underlying military objectives involved. One possible motive could be that Russia believes that a strong presence in Crimea would help protect against potential incursions by NATO forces who are currently stationed in nearby Estonia. Another theory suggests that Putin may be seeking to create a buffer zone between Russia and NATO members Estonia and Latvia. So far there has been no evidence that any of these objectives are being met and the majority of observers believe that Putin’s real goal is simply to reassert Russian dominance over Ukraine.

Despite public statements from both Washington and Kiev condemning Russia’s actions in Crimea, so far there has been little indication from either side of a willingness to take military action against one another. This lack of response may be due in part to fear of escalation but it may also reflect divergence of interests between

NATO Response

The Russian Federation launched a military invasion of Ukraine, with reports of artillery and missile fire in the Crimean peninsula. This act of aggression is not only an outrageous violation of international law, but also poses a direct threat to the security and stability of Europe.

The United States has condemned the Russian action and reiterated our support for the Government of Ukraine. We call upon all parties to refrain from any further violence and work together to resolve this dispute through diplomatic means.

NATO has been an alliance devoted to collective defense. As part of this commitment, member countries have agreed to mutual assistance if one member is attacked. In response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine, NATO has announced plans to establish a Rapid Reaction Force consisting of up to 4,000 troops in eastern Poland and Latvia. The aim of this force is not only to reassure our Allies in Europe, but also deter future Russian aggression.

NATO members stand together against aggression and supporting Ukraine is an important step forward in our collective defense posture.

Conclusion

As the news of Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine continues to unfold, the world waits to see what will happen next. Putin appears to be winning: Crimea has declared independence from Ukraine and Russian troops are firmly in control of most major cities. It is still unclear whether Russia plans to annex Crimea or just keep it under its thumb for now. As the situation develops, investors and traders around the world will have to decide if this is a risky investment opportunity or not. For now, all we can do is wait and see where things go.


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