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5 Reasons Why Russia Attacked Ukraine

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The Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea has been invaded by Russian troops, and the international community is looking for answers as to why the country chose to invade their neighbor after annexing the territory in 2014. While there are certainly political reasons behind Russia’s decision to invade Ukraine, there are also likely numerous reasons rooted in history and economics that helped spur Russia’s decision to take action against Ukraine and bring the two countries closer than they’ve been since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Here are five possible reasons why Russia attacked Ukraine.

1) The Crimea was always Russian
The Crimean Peninsula is historically Russian, dating back to a time when it was part of Kievan Rus. The region was only conquered by Ukrainian forces in 1783, and it still has a majority-Russian population. For example, some 68 percent of Crimean residents identify as ethnic Russians, versus 21 percent who identify as ethnic Ukrainians.

2) The people in Donetsk and Luhansk felt they were being denied their rights
These regions have a lot of natural resources and rich farmlands, but years of corruption had left them with little to show for it. When protestors took to the streets demanding more autonomy from Kiev in 2014, Ukraine’s government responded harshly and violently. In April, May, and June of that year alone, 117 people were killed in clashes between police and protesters; 537 others were injured.

3) They are trying to protect Novorossiya
Today, when people ask, What is Novorossiya? they are told that it is the land of new beginnings. But what does that really mean? What does Novorossiya really represent? A great deal of debate and discussion has gone into defining what Novorossiya actually means to those fighting for it—and why its importance should be recognized. This essay aims to answer those questions and to explain why so many have taken up arms to protect and secure it.

4) Western Influence
There are multiple reasons why Putin may have decided to attack Ukraine, but one of them is surely because of western influence. With United States acting as a world leader, countries sometimes feel that they can break certain rules and laws with impunity. However, when Putin heard how some western nations were willing to overlook his invasion of Crimea, he was quick to respond by attacking southern parts of Ukraine. He did not want other western nations feeling that their actions had no consequences.

5) Putin is an authoritarian leader bent on increasing his power
Putin wants to rebuild and expand a greater Russia, and it’s likely that he felt threatened by Ukraine’s desire for independence. His invasion of eastern Ukraine may be a way to stop another country from leaving his sphere of influence. He knows that if he can become more powerful than other countries around him, then he will never lose power. It has happened before in history—many times—and there is no reason to think Putin doesn’t understand those events well enough to repeat them now.

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