- The Choice
I am by no means an expert on the countries. However, whilst it's easy to say that it's a black and white matter, one country has invaded another, the situation is far from simple.
A map of the 2010 Ukrainian election results show just how divided the two countries are in terms of pro Russia or pro Europe.
There was no clear winner of the 2010 election which went on to a run off election between the two main presidential candidates, Yulia Tymoshenko and opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych. Pro Russian Viktor Yanukovych won on the poupular vote and was inaugurated in February 2010.
Prior to this there was a pro European government in power which was making progressions towards joining EU and NATO. In 2008 a statement from NATO said that Ukraine and Georgia will join NATO. https://www.nato.int/docu/update/2008/04-april/e0403h.html Not long after this statement, Russia invaded Georgia and stamped their authority there.
2014 saw a an overthrow of the elected pro Russian government. This coup was largely supported by the western governments and media at the time. The pro Russian government of Ukraine declined a European free trade agreement and stated that there was already enough integration with NATO, this was all done on fears of trade sanctions from Russia. What followed were days of protests, the government made various promises to the people of Ukraine which included a general election. This wasn't enough and what followed was an undemocratic overthrow and the installation of a pro West/NATO/EU government. Imagine if remainers overthrew the government at Westminster because they didn't get their way in the referendum?
Shortly after Russia annexed Crimea with the support of a large proportion of the population. Nearly 30 % of Ukrainians identify Russian as their first language. Putin said that he was defending the ethnic Russians of the region. There have been stories since of Ukrainians bombing parts of these self declared Russian back regions. Russia has occupied parts of Eastern Ukraine since too, it's been hard to tell the truth between all the propoganda.
Fast farward to today, in between has seen years of fighting on the border to Russia. We've had what Russia claims to be provocation from the US/UK https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-57662956. Putin warned for years that he would not accept NATO on his door step. Even as close as December 2021. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-12-21/putin-warns-he-s-ready-to-use-military-to-counter-nato-challenge. Now, I'm no fan of Putin, he's as corrupt as they come, but look at the situation from his perspective. US/UK led an invasion of Iraq after a mass government/ media fear campaign which stated he had weapons of mass destruction. Even when it was clear that there were none, they still continued with an illegal war. So if I were a narcassistic psychopath with nuclear weapons, I wouldn't want NATO on my door step either.
This leads to the options that were available, could NATO have bolstered their defences on other countries close by whilst gaurantineeing the safety of Ukraine and holding it as a neutral zone? Could NATO have made more of an effort in Ukraine instead of partially in / out?
Questions of our government... If our governments really cared about Ukrainians rather than their own pockets, why didn't they come out hard and fast with sanctionings? They decided not to immediatley shut out Russia from Swift as it would push them closer to China... Putin has just invaded Ukraine, there should be no ifs or buts, these actions should have all been done immediately. Why, instead of trying to get Putin round the table for negotiations do we send Ukrainians weapons which are most likely going to fall into the hands of Russia, just like the weapons we sent to Afghanistan ended up in the hands of the Taliban? The picture below of weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martins share price may explain why the government is so keen to give weapons away and prolong this war.
Dropping bombs and sending weapons to untrained civilians boosts the profits of the companies our politicians are invested in whilst innocent people die. Ultimately Russia will overpower Ukraine, they have the man power to do so.
So what could be next. Putin has stated that this is a special mission to "save" the Ukrainian people and ensure Russias security. It is unlikely that this will escelate without NATOs intervention. It is unlikely sanctions will work against Putin. He has the control of the elite, millitary and police. He will not care if his people suffer as a consequence of sanctions. NATOs false promises of support for Ukraine could see a large portion of Ukrainians turn their back on the west. Putin has said he does not plan to occupy Ukraine. So where does that leave Ukraine, Putin could install another pro Russian government in power. Another Belerus so to speak. Is there still time for the west to broker a deal with Putin and to have Ukraine as a demilitarised buffer zone between the West and Russia?
With regards to Georgia, in February 2022 NATO stated their continued support of Georgia joining NATO https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_38988.htm. Could this put Georgia next in Putins list of special missions? He invaded before so I wouldn't put it past him. Should this mean a change of policy for NATO to try and avoid conflict?