Russia ‘positioning’ blood supplies near Ukraine border says host
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Tensions in Eastern Europe have escalated dramatically. Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent an estimated 130,000 troops to its border with Ukraine. Many see this as a prelude to invasion. Here are the three reasons why Putin might want to capture this ex-Soviet state.
Hopes of a de-escalation in tensions between Russia and Ukraine are fast fading.
The UK along with the US and other European countries have sent defensive aid to the country as an invasion now seems inevitable.
The UK has sent 2,000 anti-tank weapons to Ukraine, Germany has said it will provide medical help and the US has put 8,500 trips on alert, but many fear this won’t be enough to stop Putin’s ambitions of invading the country. Here are the main reasons why Mr Putin wants to take control of Ukraine.
Putin’s security demands
Mr Putin has made it clear he sees Ukraine’s aspirations to join NATO as a threat to Russia’s borders.
According to the latest polls by the International Republican Institute’s Center for Insights in Survey Research (CISR) in Ukraine, a strong majority of Ukrainians want their country to become a member of NATO.
A 54 percent majority said they would vote to join NATO in a referendum.
Even though NATO has ruled out adopting Ukraine into its defensive alliance, President Putin wants further reassurance that Ukraine will never become a member of the group.
Mr Putin told reporters last week: “Speaking of security guarantees… our actions will not depend upon the negotiations, they will depend on the unconditional compliance with Russian security demands”.
He added: “We have made clear that any further NATO movement to the east is unacceptable.”
Mr Putin has demanded the US should withdraw its troops from European countries which joined NATO from the late 1990s onwards.
He is also demanding any former Soviet republics (such as Ukraine) should be blocked from joining the alliance.
Ukraine’s historic and cultural ties to Russia
Ukraine had long been under Russia’s control before becoming an independent state and a democracy in 1991.
Before that, it was part of the Soviet Union which was controlled by Moscow and prior to that, it was largely under the influence of the Russian Empire.
Since Ukraine gained independence from the USSR, it has been increasingly looking towards Europe.
This move towards western values and institutions is a source of resentment for Mr Putin as he fears Russia’s sphere of influence is being lost to Europe.
President Putin claims Russians and Ukrainians are “one people” and he feels Russia has been “robbed” as Ukraine adopts a more European mentality.
In 2021, the Russian president wrote a treatise entitled “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians.”
In this 5,000 word essay, he claimed: “I am confident that true sovereignty of Ukraine is possible only in partnership with Russia.”
It seems Mr Putin is now preparing to create this “partnership” by bonding Ukraine permanently to Russia by invading it.
Putin’s desire to expand into eastern Europe.
Mr Putin’s desire to expand into eastern Europe won’t come as a shock to the west as this has happened before.
In 2014, Russia annexed a significant part of Ukraine, the Crimean peninsula.
Russia acted in this way as the Ukrainians overthrew their pro-Russian president through mass protests.
Russia responded by supporting pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine and annexing Crimea.
Since 2014, more than 14,000 people have died in the fighting in Ukraine’s eastern region Donbas.
Moscow has denied sending troops and weapons to back the rebels, but Ukraine and the West do not believe this.
A major motive behind President Putin’s plans to invade Ukraine is likely to be a desire to expand his country’s territory once again
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