Even if Ukraine and Russia are now experiencing their most tense hours, relations between Kiev and Moscow began to deteriorate as early as 2004, on the occasion of the first Maidan, the Orange Revolution, but the coming to power of Victor Yanukovych in 2010 he fed hopes in Moscow of greater control over Ukraine. Since then, tensions have increased between the two countries, with a clear turning point between 2013 and 2014: Euromaidan, the annexation of Crimea and the start of the war in eastern Ukraine.
-The stubbornness of Vladimir Putin of lowering the high gas prices to Ukraine, only in the event that it became part of the post-Soviet economic union, led to
Yanukovych to flirt with the EU
-Yanukovych was preparing to sign an integration agreement with the EU in November 2013, but while already in Vilnius (Lithuania) with the european leaders he changed his mind when he got a promise from Putin to lower gas prices.
-Yanukovych’s swerve triggered the protests known as the second Maidan or Euromaidan that began on November 31, 2013 in Kiev. And, after more than two and a half months of protests, riots and brutal clashes with the police, mysterious snipers, Russians according to certain sources, massacred the demonstrators in Kiev on February 20, 2014.
-But Yanukovych, after signing an agreement with the three Maidan leaders to end the protests and call elections, suddenly disappeared for almost a week to reappear in a Russian military base in Sevastopol (Crimea). The Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliament) dismissed him.
-Under the pretext that it was a “coup d’état”, Russia then annexed Crimea, in March 2014, arguing that its inhabitants decided so in a referendum, dissatisfied with what happened in Kiev and supposedly concerned about Ukrainian nationalism. He deployed covert troops there, without identification badges or license plates on their vehicles. The Ukrainian Army offered no resistance.
-In a similar way to how it acted in Crimea, Russia sent to the east of Ukraine, to Donbass, camouflaged troops with the intention of separating that area from the rest of the country, even with the intention of causing a partition of Ukraine as a whole. The Ukrainian troops did act this time and a war broke out that caused more than 13,000 deaths.
-The bulk of the hostilities ended with the second draft of the Minsk agreements, in February 2015, although the trickle of deaths continues to this day.
The two separatist entities of Donbass, Donetsk and Lugansk, were separated from the rest of Ukraine by the so-called “line of contact”, established by the Minsk agreements on a provisional basis until the complete resolution of the conflict.
-The rearmament of Kiev, the modernization of its Army and the purchase of drones from Turkey made the Russian authorities think that the Ukrainian troops are preparing to recover Donbass by force.
-That is why Russia has decided to deploy a force of more than 100,000 troops and hundreds of tanks and artillery pieces along the border with Ukraine as a form of intimidation. Various Russian leaders have hinted that, as they did with Georgia in August 2008, Russian troops would act if Kiev launches an attack on Donbass.
-This time the West has considered putting pressure on Moscow to leave Ukraine alone, something that it did not do in 2014 with the same intensity. The reaction of USA, NATO and EU it has in turn hardened the position of President Vladimir Putin and his ordeal with his “unavoidable” security demands, causing a confrontation that is reaching more dangerous levels than during the “cold war”.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism