Analysing Ukraine Crisis
1. Crimea witnessed bloody wars during world war II when it was occupied by Nazis
2. during the Crimean wars of 1853-56, Russia lost to an alliance of France, Britain and Ottoman empire
3. Crimea was annexed by Russia in 1783 and in 1954 Nikita Krushchev gifted it to the soviet state of Ukraine
4. collapse of USSR and Russia lost Crimea to Ukraine (recently Mikhail Gorbhachev said- loss of Crimea of Ukraine is a historical mistake as views of ethnic Russians were not taken into consideration)
5. Russia, US,UK and France vowed to uphold the sovereignty of Ukraine through Budapest convention in 1994
1. The western part of Ukraine is pro-european and eastern part of Ukraine is pro Russian. the south eastern part of ukraine (Crimea) is a Russian majority region along with Islamic Tartars (who were deported by Stalin during WW). Russia consists of a Black sea fleet in Sevastopol which is very strategic to Russia as it is the only platform which does not freezes in winter and provide passage to black sea, Mediterranean.
2. the western nations led by US and EU want to bring Ukraine into the fold of EU and NATO (as it seems) and want to bring NATO to the door steps of Russia (roughly some 400 Kms from its territory)
Decoding Ukraine's president Yanukovchy (recognised by himself and Russia):
1. Undoubtedly a democratically elected leader (He arresting Yulia Tymoshenko in the aftermath of Orange Revolution of 2004)
2. Nevertheless very corrupt, authoritarian, persecuted his rivals and activists, fed cronyism, undermines freedom of courts and media. This guy has ordered police firing on the protesters (that includes far Right & Neo Nazi elements) which led to death of around 85 people. Of course recently there is a recent telephone conversation (its a leaked one) between 2 ministers of some X and Y European countries speaking about the shooting of protesters by snipers which says that the snipers are infact the opposition elements.
3. This guy has offered some concessions to the opposition in terms of returning to the pre 2004 constitution which hands over the majority of powers now held by the president to the PM, conducting early elections etc. However the a faction of opposition which includes the far right and Neo-Nazi elements has rejected the deal and occupied many Government buildings.
4. Soon after clinching a deal with the opposition, Yanokovchy fled to Russia fearing a coup and he along with Russia still considers himself as the legitimate head of Ukraine and termed the present leadership in Kiev as "Illegal"
what Russia thinks:
1. Russia knows that Ukraine is a strategic location which it cannot afford to go into the hands of NATO that will dent putin's aspiration to build a Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) on the lines of EU
2. Crimea has ethnic Russians as majority population, so it will take "all necessary measures" to defend them including through armed intervention that has been approved by the Russian parliament.
3. It has criticised the efforts of NATO nations to interfere in the internal affairs of Ukraine & their efforts to bring Ukraine into the fold of EU (that comes along with aid conditionalities of IMF) and bringing NATO into the door steps of Russia.
4. Russia has supported the Crimean authorities in conducting the referendum to decide whether to join Russia or stay united with Ukraine with more powers and autonomy. Russian troops (of course they operated without Russian Insignia implying zero presence of Russia) aided the "self defense forces" of Crimea.
what went wrong with Ukraine:
1. Ukraine's tilt towards EU has angered Russia as it is of utmost strategic significance.
2. The new dispensation at Kiev has vowed to abolish Russian language as 2nd official language, annulling the agreement that gives Russia the right to operate its Black sea fleet till 2047, expressed willingness to join NATO
Why the west is wrong:
1. It want to Europeanise the former soviet states by creating tensions in the region.
2. The recent incidents involving western interference in other countries is slightly implying that it is resorting to invoking the "cold war" era again.
3. It is displaying hypocrisy selectively- resorting to "Responsibility to Protect" doctrine where its interests are being served by aiding the oppositions economically and strategically and designing coup plots in countries like Syria, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Latin America etc where the Armed forces of the western nations has committed appalling human rights violations. On the other hand it held that "self determination right" expressed by the Crimean people as "Ilegal" and Russia's action as "Land grab" and violative of international law. This was countered by Russia by citing the Kosovo precedent where the declaration of independence by Kosovo from Russia was instantly recognised by the west and the UN International Court of Justice ruling that "Declaration of independence by any part of a country need not amount to violation of international law".
What's going on now:
1. Crimea has voted (over 85% turnout) with 90% of those who voted in favour of joining Russia (So Russia is happy and the West is weepy! :-()
2. Russia has recognised the result of referendum and gave consent for integration of Crimea into Russia
3. The western countries has imposed "unspecified sanctions that include financial and visa" on individuals responsible for the crisis along with warnings of international isolation. They are likely to drop Russia from the Group of 8. This led to Tit for Tat sanctions by Russia on the west though it is not of much significance. The important thing that we need to remember is over 30% of Hydrocarbon pipelines to Europe pass through Crimea and the economic interaction between Russia and EU is of substantial level, so it is unlikely that the EU may intensify sanctions on Russia.
4. India has indicated that it is not going to support any unilateral sanctions on any country and it will adhere only to those sanctions backed by UN. It also called on the all the parties to peacefully resolve the issues (and such kind of routine stuff that we say :-))
5. India is concerned about some defence industrial complexes in Ukraine which is of utmost importance to India as most of its aircraft fleet is getting refurbished over there and it is the source of much of the military equipment such as helicopters engines etc. We are also taking certain steps to safeguard the interests of over 4000 Indian students, most of them pursuing MBBS there.