The dissolution of the USSR was just the beginning of the conflict. Here’s why Russia has been vying for control over Ukraine ever since.
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Vladimir Putin claims the objective of the attack is to defend the Russian-speakers in Ukraine, especially those in the two self-declared republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, which left Ukrainian control in 2014. But Ukraine has denied Moscow’s claims that it is forcibly trying to take them back.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 28 European countries and two North American countries. Ukraine has previously shown interest in joining.
Putin said he views the prospect of Ukraine joining the Western military alliance a “hostile act.” In December, Putin gave the U.S. and NATO a list of security demands, one of them was a guarantee that Ukraine will never enter NATO and that the alliance rolls back its military footprint in Eastern and Central Europe. These proposals were quickly rejected by the U.S. and allies.
In addition, Putin rejected Ukraine’s right to exist outside of Russia, stating the countries’ shared history and culture. In a speech, Putin recognized the “independence and sovereignty” of two eastern Ukraine provinces, Donetsk and Luhansk.
“We have every reason to say it’s Bolsheviks and Vladimir Lenin that created Ukraine,” Putin said in his essay, adding that “modern Ukraine was completely created by Russia.”
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