It is surprising that a large-scale offensive could take place as Russian troops enter Ukraine and pass through the (occupied) Ukrainian part of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014. In the north, Belarusian troops are involved, according to Ukrainian officials.
Why this attack?
It should be noted that since 1991 Ukraine has been independent (free to determine its fate). Previously, it was part of the same country as Russia. And it continues to think that Ukraine is its own. Nine years ago, the Ukrainians demanded that their country be brought closer to Europe. The President of Ukraine did not. Tensions between pro-Russian and pro-European countries have grown in the country.
In the East, pro-Russian Ukrainians in 2014 wanted to create independent zones or territories annexed by Russia. They announced the formation of the Donetsk and Lukansk republics. He says that two days ago the Russian president recognized the republics and today he is launching this attack just to help them.
And Ukraine? For the Ukrainian power, tensions have been high in recent weeks. Russia has amassed 150,000 troops on its border. The international community hoped that the dialogue with Russia would change its mind. But President Putin was adamant. It does not want NATO troops to come too close to its borders.
What is NATO?
It is a military defense alliance formed in 1949 that unites 30 countries. It was created at a time when the world was basically splitting into two camps. The western and eastern camps were in a Cold War: they did not talk to each other, they threatened each other … In the east, the Warsaw Pact united the Soviet Union (including Russia and Ukraine), Poland, Hungary, Albania, Romania. In the West, NATO unites 12 countries. Today, there are 30, including the United States and European countries (including Belgium). NATO headquarters are located in Brussels.
Vladimir Putin is demanding that NATO stop expanding to the east and abandon the unification of Ukraine. It also wants the withdrawal of NATO forces and weapons from allied countries (formerly members of the Warsaw Pact) after 1997.
What is happening now?
Ukraine is attacked and defended. Poland (neighboring Ukraine) appeals to NATO (which is a member). Ambassadors of 30 NATO member states are due to meet urgently to discuss their response to the war in Ukraine. For its part, the United Nations (the United Nations, responsible for maintaining world peace) says the conflict provoked by Russia must “stop now.” Russian strikes are taking place in half a dozen Ukrainian cities, including Kiev (the capital).
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