Reporter analyzes conflict between Russia, Ukraine

Caroline Wozniak, Reporter

Russia never intended to let Ukraine stay an independent country and have been the constant shadow looming over the Ukrainian government. The tension between these two countries has always been palpable and built until it reached a first climax in 2014 with the invasion and annexation of Crimea, and a second most recently with Russia invading all of Ukraine. 

Ukraine was one of the Soviet Union’s founding members, joining in 1922. They continued to be a member until its collapse in 1991, and Ukraine declared its independence and became an independent country in 1991 (

This left Ukraine with the third largest force of nuclear weapons in the 90s, until they signed the Budapest Memorandum in 1994 which gave those weapons to Russia, the UK and the US, with a commitment that they would respect the independence of Ukraine and its borders. Russia promised to respect those borders, but the Kremlin has lied before( 

We see the notorious shadow of Russian influence in the Ukrainian election of 2004, which was a faulty election to say the least. Viktor Yanukovych, who was supported by Putin, went against a very popular pro-democracy Viktor Yushchenko, who died during the election process, from what doctors have confirmed to be poison (

Massive protests followed, known as the Orange Revolution. Amid protests, Yanukovych takes office as President and Yulia Tymoshenko is prime minister. 

Then, in 2008 we saw that  Russia wanted to isolate Ukraine alliance-wise from the rest of the world. Ukraine wanted to join the NATO alliance, which the United States was open to, but Germany and France weren’t after Russia expressed their displeasure(

In 2011, Prime Minister Tymoshenko was thrown in jail on claims of abuse of power during negotiations with Russia in 2009 over the gas crisis, causing concern to the rest of the world that Ukraine was unjustly persecuting political opponents (

Russia started to be more aggressive in their measures to exert control over Ukraine. In 2014, merely days before signing a deal that would allow Ukraine to freely trade with the European Union, Yanukovych pulled out due to pressure from Russia. 

This sparks many protests across Ukraine, and the people call for Yanukovych’s impeachment. Yanukovych fled to Russia, and Ukraines Parliament voted to install an interim government and get Tymoshenko out of prison. Russia saw this as an illegal coup, the excuse they needed to then put Russian soldiers at the border of Ukraine (

With Russian soldiers at the Crimean border, the Crimean government voted to annex it to Russia. Despite the annexation, Russian troops still gathered at the eastern border, in the region of Donbas. ( Fighting broke out, and continues today. At this point, Russia is actively trying to take parts of  Ukraine, something that has been a long time coming. 

Since then, some treaties have been signed, such as the Minsk agreement, but none have succeeded in stopping the fighting. From 2014 until now, Russia has been active in their mission to disable the government and take control of Ukraine, from the cyber attacks in 2016 to the most recent Russian invasion into all of Ukraine that has been making headlines around the world. 

Russia never intended to let Ukraine keep their independence they got back in 1991, and the most recent invasion is just one result of the long, complicated history that is the relationship between Russia and Ukraine.