December 14, 2021 - 9:32 am

Fears Of War Rise

    Former Soviet cousins Russia and Ukraine are eyeball to eyeball again as each accuses the other of massing troops along their sensitive border Ukrainian and Western officials are worried that a Russian military buildup near Ukraine could signal plans by Moscow to invade its ex-Soviet neighbour. Even though, Moscow has dismissed allegations that it has any such intentions.

    There are both geopolitical and historical-reasons behind Moscow's endless pressure on kiev, which was the birthplace of the first Russian state in the ninth Century. As part of the Soviet Union, Ukraine was the second-most powerful Soviet republic after Russia and was crucial strategically, economically and culturally. Ever since Ukraine split from the Soviet Union, both Russia and the west have vied for greater influence in the country in order to keep the balance of power in the region in their favour.

    Putin and his predecessors were still keen on tightening their control over the Russian autonomous regions populated by non-Russian ethnic groups, from Chechanya to Tatarstan and others. Putin was equally perturbed that millions of Russian-speaking people were left behind, stuck in countries like Ukraine, Lithuania and Kazakhstan under non-Russian States.

    For the US and the European Union, Ukraine is a crucial buffer between Russia and the west. As tensions with Russia rise, the US and the European Union are increasingly determined to keep Ukraine away from Russian control. Efforts to induct Ukraine into NATO have been ongoing for many years and seems to have picked up pace recently. Russia has declared such a move a "red line", with Moscow worried about the consequences of the US-led military alliance expanding right up to its doorstep.

    Tensions between Moscow and Kyiv have been running high ever since the annexation by Russia of Crimea in 2014. An ongoing conflict in the region known as Donbas has left an estimated 14,000 dead. If Ukraine also joins the European Union as pro-Russian Belarus continues to struggle with pro-democracy protests, Russia's Western front will appear weaker and insecure in the eyes of Putin and his allies. As a result, it appears to be that Russian even consider invading Ukraine to prevent further risks towards its national and global security interest. However, depending on what Putin's intentions are, experts say sanctions may not be enough to deter him. Any kind of military-action by the US and EU against Russia would precipitate a major crisis for the whole world and has so far not been mooted by any of the parties involved.