Russia has set a date for the withdrawal of troops from the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol. They say Ukrainian troops who surrender within the stipulated time frame will be given a chance to survive.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The town of Mariupol has been under siege for more than six weeks. For strategic reasons the city is very important for Russia to take full control. It is increasingly being noted that the city of Russia is close to being completely occupied.
Russian forces have demanded the destruction of an ammunition factory near the Ukrainian capital, Kiev. Russia has demanded the downing of a Ukrainian military plane carrying Western weapons. Russia claims 23,036 Ukrainian troops have been killed in the fighting. Russia’s claims could not be independently verified.
April 17 (Sunday) marks the 53rd day of the Russian military operation in Ukraine. Readers have many questions about the ongoing Ukraine crisis. The report tries to find answers to those questions with the help of BBC.
Considering the recent history, the current crisis started in 2014. But to get to the root of the crisis we have to look back to the Soviet era. Ukraine was then part of the Soviet Union.
Two political currents prevail in Ukraine. A trend wants to be closer to Western Europe. They are interested in joining the European Union (EU) as well as being a member of the Western military alliance NATO. The other section is pro-Russian. They want to stay in Russia.
A large part of Ukraine’s population is Russian-speaking. They are also ethnically Russian. They have close cultural and social ties with Russia.
Pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted in 2014 in the face of protests. He fled the country.
Yanukovych wanted a major trade deal with the EU. Then Putin increased the pressure. Under pressure, Yanukovych withdrew from trade talks with the EU. As a result, mass protests against him began in Ukraine.
Those who came to power in Ukraine after Yanukovych are known as pro-EU. Putin was outraged by their actions.
After the fall of Yanukovych, Russia occupied the Crimea region of eastern Ukraine.
Why occupy Crimea
Crimea has been part of Russia for almost 200 years. In 1954, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev ceded Crimea to the then Soviet Republic of Ukraine. At the time, the Russian leadership did not think that the Soviet Union would collapse.
Crimea has a lot of geopolitical importance. Crimea is strategically important to Russia. So Russia took the opportunity to occupy Crimea from Ukraine.
What Russia demands
Ukraine is not a member of the Western military alliance NATO. But the country wants to be a member of NATO. Russia refuses to comply. That is why Russia wants assurances from the West that Ukraine will never be a member of NATO.
At the request of Russia, the Western countries are not willing to give any assurance in this regard.
Putin believes that the West, which surrounds Russia, is using NATO. Ukraine may also be taken to NATO for this purpose. That is why he opposes the expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe.
Russia alleges that at the end of the last century, the United States promised NATO that it would not expand eastward. But this promise was not kept.
The United States has denied the allegations in a statement issued Friday stating “Similar, baseless allegations concerning Russia’s intelligence have been made more than once.
NATO, on the other hand, says it is a defensive military alliance. Every country has the right to choose the path of defense.