Ukraine’s current political climate seems to allude to an impending war.  

What stemmed from a solitary rejection on behalf of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych last year, in regards to an economic deal struck with the European Union, is accountable for the current Russian-Ukraine conflict. Supposedly centered around an agreement that would propose more Eastern European economies to become part of their trade agreements, Ukraine would simultaneously be immersed in Western Europe’s economies prided for being a more modern and productive model.TOPSHOTS-UKRAINE-UNREST-POLITICS-EU-RUSSIA

President Yanukovych rejected the EU proposal entirely due to what the people of Ukraine were convinced were heavy outside pressures from President Vladimir Putin of Russia and instead accepted $15 billion in benefits for aid and the economy.  

What this meant for Ukrainians was that their longstanding desperation for economic reform, to put the country’s economy in the running with other Western countries, instead fortified unity with Russia. What followed was an consensus of deep-rooted outrage and resulted in opposition from the majority of the country’s people and condemnation of the president’s patriotism. 

When a mass of Ukrainian protestors took to the streets to voice their need for economic reform, they demanded a resignation on behalf of their president. The government in turn responded with extreme violence, bringing armed guards, policy and military units to dissipate the protestors. However, the protestors continued to carry out their demands and the number of people dead has been on a steep incline since. 

Political corruption throughout the nation became most evident after protestors took over the capital and president’s home. Russia provided President Yanukovych safety after he fled, wanting his influence in government to remain in order to curb any democratic political reform that would result in waning alignment with Russia and a stronger alignment with Europe. 

Now with Russia’s control over Crimea and more military influence occupying the area – to protect Russia’s interests – and the increasing amount of troops ordered to Ukraine, people are panicking and dangerously close to violent conflict. In response to Russia’s military aggression, the United States and the EU are now threatening economic sanctions and removing Russia from the G8 if troops are not removed. 

Ukrainian people fear the loss of their country’s identity, a country that has always been dominated by powers larger than themselves until its independence after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Since then, the country has been determined to maintain it. 

While the people of Ukraine are appreciate of the West stepping in with the threat of sanctions, the common sentiment held by the country’s people is that it’s simply not enough to induce change or to stop Putin. At the very least, Ukrainians believed that their territorial integrity would be preserved, but that too has been compromised and now the country’s people are ill-prepared to face Russia alone, which is exactly what will happen if Putin decides to cross the border.
The Ukrainian people feel a sense of betrayal from the US and the UK and they feel that their loss of Crimea was too easily forfeited, further solidifying their existing disappointment in their government. With this territorial loss, three-quarters of the country’s navy was also relinquished. crimea
Now, with impending war, Ukrainians feel as though they don’t even have a chance to stand up against Russia with military forces that have dissipated with years of corruption. The Ukrainian army is just too weak to be a match for Russia. However, the decision to fight if necessary has already been made and unfortunately it is already certain that the outcome will result in great loss for Ukraine.
Western powers are showing that they are not strong enough to stop Putin’s Russia. In fact, the US has been reliant on Russia in recent years – to withdrawal troops from the Middle East, to aid in diplomacy with Iran, and to get rid of chemical weapons in Syria.
Then there is Europe, whose military forces have long been dependent on the US and could not stand alone against Russia. Furthermore, both the US and Europe rely on Russia due to longstanding financial and economic ties with the country. This is more than enough reason for Putin to be overly confident that the UK and the US will not turn against them.
After the Soviet Union collapsed, the US vowed to maintain peace and the promise of liberty; post-World War II, the country constructed a world order and spent almost 50 years aiming to stop Soviet expansion. In recent events it seems that the US has ended this longstanding responsibility. 
This world order, fought so hard to maintain, is quickly crumbling, as people and leaders alike from all around the world watch and wait.

Parissa Zecher