Reading about the Ukraine-Russia conflict feels like listening to my children fight. There’s a lot of he-said, she-said flying back and forth, and it’s not always easy to determine who’s being truthful. Perhaps both parties are exaggerating the evidence and neither of them is telling the truth. It’s frustrating, and sometimes a bit confusing to listen to, but ignoring the facts won’t make them go away.
According to CNN.com, the current conflict between Ukraine and Russia started in the fall of 2013 when the Ukrainian President rejected a trade deal with the European Union (EU). Instead, he accepted the Russian Presidents offer to buy $15 billion in debt from his government. (What?)
Protests ignited, demanding the government be removed. Security forces responded to the protests resulting in many deaths. Clashes continued to spread; International anger grew rampant. As a result, the Ukraine President fled to Russia, and the government was replaced with a new, pro-Europe government. (Hmmmm.)
Now Crimea enters the picture. Crimea is a Ukrainian republic that is basically independent from the ruling of either the Ukraine or Russia, but it is also the location of a major Russian navy base. (See the problem here.) Russian troops enter Crimea. The Ukraine parliament calls for secession, and all of a sudden, Crimea belongs to Russia.
(Just when you thought you were understanding the conflict…) Pro-Russian fighters decide to take over government buildings in the country’s east, and they are demanding independence. Rebel forces, who are supposedly supported by Russia, take control of some of the major cities in East Ukraine. Rebel forces began fighting Ukraine’s military, and the rest is, well, still fighting.
Potential good news is on the horizon! Keep in mind, there’s a lot more that’s happened in between then and today, and more than 3000 lives have been lost and many families displaced. That should never be taken lightly. However, if there is something good to look forward to, (being the optimist that I am), I think that’s what I want to focus on.
As of Sept. 10, 2014, Russia has removed most of their forces from Ukraine. President Petro Poroshenko (Ukraine) believes that prospects of peace are hopeful and plans to hold to the “peace roadmap” agreed upon on Friday, Sept. 5, 2014.
Despite a reported six violations of the ceasefire, both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko are pleased with how the ceasefire has held for its five-day existence. Other expectations that are yet to be completed include:
- Ukraine plans to offer parts of the Donetsk and Lushansk regions “special status” but rejects their demands for full independence.
- NATO is willing to support Ukraine, (even though Ukraine is not a member of NATO), as they continue to hold off the rebellion.
- NATO plans to increase defenses of other alliance members in Eastern Europe.
- The EU is ready with sanctions against Russia’s banking and energy, but has decided not to enact the sanctions until they’ve had time to see if the ceasefire holds.
- Ukraine will act with their own sanctions against those in Russia who seem to be backing the rebels in Eastern Ukraine.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will continue to monitor the ceasefire and recognizes that more time might be necessary for the peace process to fully take over. To that end, they will hold off on planned sanctions against Russia as they watch events play out. Drones will soon be sent out by OSCE in order to monitor compliance of the ceasefire.