Will More Blood Spill in Eastern Europe? The Ukrainian Crisis


Eastern Europe for the later 1900s was under the yolk of communism, headed by the Soviets in Moscow. Every country in the Comintern was oppressed to maintain power and stability over the region. However, it eventually reached a boiling point. As the Soviet Union was opening to the world, due to Gorbachev’s new policies, many countries in the union had left, notably Ukraine and Russia. Such dissolution of a union would obviously create many problems in terms of land and people, as people who were previously in the same country were now divided by borders and fences. However, peace was largely maintained throughout the Eastern European countries, despite their economic problems- until a certain protest in Kyiv led Ukraine into turmoil and conflict with the Russian Federation.

The former President Viktor Yanukovych’s (Ukraine) decision to reject a deal for greater economic integration with the European Union in November 2013, led many Ukrainians into believing that he was truly pro-Russian or even a Russian puppet, which caused many protests throughout the streets of Kyiv.  President Yanukovych fled the country after a violent confrontation by federal security forces who drew a greater number of protesters, causing even more people to go into the streets. With chaos being spread out throughout Ukraine, Russian troops took control of Crimea and let the Crimeans vote on if they should join the Russian Federation in a disputed local referendum. President Vladimir Putin (Russian Federation) actively promoted the need to protect the rights of Russian citizens and Russian speakers in Crimea and southeast Ukraine. Following this event, regions in eastern Ukraine, Donetsk, and Luhansk held referendums to declare their independence from Ukraine. The violence in the disputed eastern regions between the Ukrainian military and Russian separatists has led to the death toll of more than 10,000 people.

Such a conflict would of course bring the international community into the fray, as the United States and its allies put several sanctions on Russia. This caused a rift to occur between Russia and the United States, as Russia went closer to China for greater economic development due to the sanctions. However, Russia will not let down any claim to Crimea, and Russia won’t stop sending help to the Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. To combat the supposed Russian Aggression, NATO announced that they would deploy forces to Eastern Europe throughout Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland to deter future Russian aggression elsewhere in Europe, especially in Eastern Europe. The tensions in the relations between the Russian Federation, and both the United States and Europe, has complicated the cooperation on issues of terrorism, arms control, and a Syrian solution.

With Ukraine being heavily backed by the United States, and Russia watching from the border, a full-blown war doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility. There are still many Russians throughout Eastern Ukraine, which Russia could use as an excuse to start a conflict. This led to Ukraine pleading with NATO to allow Ukraine to join the mutual defense alliance. An invitation to join NATO could seriously worsen relations with Russia.  This conflict is heavily controversial, however, innocent lives have and will be lost in the chaos of the former Soviet Union. As a person with links to both countries, I sincerely hope they find a peaceful and permanent solution to this conflict. Petro Poroshenko said it best, “ I do not want war. I am not seeking revenge, even though I can see before my eyes the great sacrifices made by the Ukrainian people. I am seeking peace and will achieve Ukraine’s unity.”