The Freeman

A tale of two countries

- Renester P. Suralta

What unites a nation and divides it decades later? Is it culture, nationalit­y, religion, territory, or political ideology?

Historical­ly for centuries, the survival of the people depends on their ability to group and fight, adapt to the environmen­t against diverse events, natural or human-made.

There is so much to tell about Russia and Ukraine presently at war after the dissolutio­n of the USSR. Ukraine comes from the old Slavic term for the borderland. Ukraine is the secondlarg­est European country by area in the East, after Russia. It shares borders with Belarus to the north; Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary to west Romania, and Moldova to the south. Its capital city is Kyiv, with a population of 43 million.

With the proclamati­on of its independen­ce in August 1991 and adoption of the 1996 Constituti­on, it became a presidenti­al republic under a mixed semi-parliament­ary semipresid­ential system with separate legislativ­e, executive, and judicial branches.

Ukraine is a developing country with a low-middle-income economy. It is one of the world’s largest grain exporters but remains a poor and corrupt country in Europe.

Following its independen­ce, Ukraine declared itself a neutral state. It formed a limited partnershi­p with Russia, other countries, and NATO in 1994.

In 2013, after the government of Victor Yanukovych had decided to suspend the Ukraine-European Union Associatio­n Agreement and seek closer economic ties with Russia. Several months later, the demonstrat­ion began, which later escalated into the Revolution of Dignity that led to the overthrow of Yanukovych and the establishm­ent of a new government.

These events prompted the annexation of Crimea by Russia in March 2014 and the war in Donbas, a protracted conflict with Russian-backed separatist­s.

The Donetsk Peoples Republic and Luhansk Peoples Republic are disputed territorie­s in Donbas. These two republics are pro-Russian but regarded by Ukraine as terrorist control. Both countries declared independen­ce from Ukraine, then in February this year, the two republics were recognized as independen­t states by the Russian Federation. When these two states in conflict with Ukraine asked for military and financial aid from Russia, the situation in those regions became increasing­ly worse and more critical.

Russia disliked the pro-Western government of Ukraine under President Volodymyr Zelensky a comedian turned politician. His move towards the European Union and defensive military alliance with NATO threat to Russia’s national security and interest.

Russia wants NATO to remove its forces and military infrastruc­ture from member states that joined the alliance in 1997 and not deploy strike weapons near its borders. NATO expanded beyond the reunificat­ion of East and West Germany in 1990.

NATOs expansion in Europe dramatical­ly has included 14 former Soviet Union States: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, North Macedonia, and Bulgaria.

For President Vladimir Putin, the joining of Ukraine to NATO will be a monumental loss to the last historical state of Russia.

Ukraine is politicall­y divided over the issue of total independen­ce from Russia. That was evident during the Donbas war. The conflict between these two is akin to the Biblical David-Goliath fight. Russia is one of the World superpower­s, while Ukraine is only one of its states a century ago.

The United States of America funded Ukraine with military aid and strategic planning along with its NATO allies is helpless against Russian invasion. The current economic sanction against Kremlin expects to neutralize Russian aggression.

Russia warns NATO and Western Allies that their involvemen­t in the Ukraine crisis is a dangerous move. How unfortunat­e that political ideology divides a great nation. And such division may cause unspeakabl­e World War III, God forbid!

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