The following article, “Discuss the Core Causes of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine And Its Strategic Consequences on the World and Pakistan.“, is written by Mahad Zulfiqar, a student of Sir Syed Kazim Ali. In this article, we have discuss Core Causes of Russian Invasion of Ukraine. Moreover, the article is written on the same pattern, taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory subjects for years. Sir Kazim has uploaded his students’ solved past paper questions so other thousands of aspirants can understand how to crack a topic or question, how to write relevantly, what coherence is, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum.
2- Analysis of the historical roots of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine
3- Causes of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
- ✓NATO-Russia tension
- ✓Euromaidan movement
- ✓Ukrainian legislation for NATO membership
- ✓Sovereignty Concerns of Russia
- ✓Annexation of Crimea
- ✓Ethnic and linguistic causes
- ✓End of soft power
- ✓Erosion of Economic stability
4- Impacts of the Russia-Ukraine War on Pakistan
- ✓Positive Impacts
- Independent foreign policy
- Transition from geo-strategic to geo-economic foreign policy
- ✓Negative Impacts
- Western pressure
- Economic ramifications
- Diplomatic challenges
5- Suggestions for Pakistan’s survival
- ✓Regional stability
- ✓Strengthening the framework of foreign policy
- ✓Vigorous action against separatists and non-state actors
- ✓Robust defence system to safeguard the borders
6- Critically Analysis
Answer to the Question
Unfortunately, following the devastating damages of World Wars I and II, the world now trembles on the brink of World War III owing to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. This is evident because Europe has indulged in one of the most significant conflicts since World War II. In fact, the situation didn’t arise overnight but has deep roots in NATO expansion to former Warsaw Pact states and ex-Soviet Republic states. Additionally, the Ukraine-European Union (EU) association agreement, the Euromaidan movement, Ukrainian ethnic groups division, and Ukraine’s request to join NATO, posing territorial and sovereignty threats to Russia from NATO, have further intensified the conflict between both countries. Moreover, Moscow-backed insurgencies in the Donbas region have added fuel to the fire, erupting the armed confrontations and gripping the international community with socio-economic, political and geo-strategic outcomes. Consequently, the crisis has complex and far-reaching implications for the world, including Pakistan. The conflict has raised concerns for Pakistan due to its potential effects on regional stability and geopolitics. However, ensuring the country’s survival amid these challenges necessitates robust mechanisms and an effective framework for foreign and economic policies aimed at regional stability. Resolving the conflict requires nuanced diplomacy, de-escalation efforts, and cooperation from all involved parties and the international community.
Analysis of the historical roots of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine
Russian leaders have long been wary of NATO’s eastward expansion, especially when the alliance opened its doors to ex-Soviet republics. In the late 1990s, this included the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland, and in the early 2000s, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. The situation escalated in the late 2000s when NATO intended to admit Georgia and Ukraine. In historical context, on February 9, 1990, U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s famous “Not one inch eastward” assurance to Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev raised Russia’s concerns. After the Warsaw Pact’s dissolution and Germany’s reunification, NATO’s actions violated the verbal agreement. They reached a tipping point at the Bucharest Summit, where it declared, “Ukraine and Georgia will become part of NATO.” In response, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned at the 2008 summit, “No Russian leader could stand idly by in the face of steps towards NATO membership for Ukraine. That would be a hostile act towards Russia.” Following NATO’s 2008 summit, Russia invaded Ukraine. In 2014, when Kyiv decided to become an economic partner with the European Union, Russia annexed Crimea. Lastly, when Ukraine opted to join NATO, Russia sent troops to Ukraine in February 2022.
Causes of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The Russia-Ukraine war traces its roots to the historical conflict between two major powers, NATO and the ex-Soviet Union. Following the Soviet Union’s dissolution, NATO assured that it would not invade or expand its influence in the newly separated states. However, after ten years, this commitment was violated by NATO, marking the first instance of concern for Russia.
Sovereignty concerns of Russia
On May 1, 2004, ten countries once part of the former communist bloc joined the European Union. Russia shares its borders with all these states, including Japan, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, all of which are NATO members. This has raised significant concerns for Russia’s sovereignty, mainly, as NATO establishes military bases and deploys troops in its allies’ territories. Ukraine, with a long and direct border with Russia, also became a source of alarm for Russia.
Ethnic and linguistic causes
Ukraine is divided along ethnic and linguistic lines, causing a rift among the masses and shaping their divergent opinions. Western Ukraine leans towards a pro-European stance, while Eastern Ukraine aligns with pro-Russian sentiments. In the Eastern region, proximity to Russia and economic challenges post-1991 have fueled the dominance of separatist groups advocating for integration with Russia. Conversely, the Western part, situated close to Europe, has voiced aspirations to join NATO. This unresolved conflict has persistently fueled the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The Western group of Ukraine sought a trade contract with the European Union, but on November 21, 2013, Ukraine’s pro-Russian President Victor Yanukovych rejected the Ukraine-European Association Agreement. Consequently, in February 2014, pro-European protests, titled the “Euromaidan movement,” erupted in Ukraine. These demonstrations were aimed at the president, leading to the impeachment of President Victor Yanukovych by the Ukrainian parliament. The new president then signed a free trade agreement with Europe, catalyzing protests in other parts of the country.
Annexation of Crimea
In Eastern Ukraine, pro-Russian protests erupted in Crimea following the impeachment of President Victor Yanukovych and in support of Russia. Consequently, Russia deployed its troops to Crimea and organized a referendum, leading to the annexation of Crimea by Russia. This act can be attributed to the complex causes behind the Russian invasion of Ukraine, including the pro-Russian sentiment in Crimea, the rejection of the Ukraine-European Association Agreement by Yanukovych, and the broader geopolitical tensions between Russia and the West.
Ukrainian legislation for NATO membership
In 2017, the Ukrainian parliament opted to join NATO, a decision vehemently rejected by Russia. Russia perceives Ukraine as an integral part of its territory, asserting that historical and cultural affinities make their separation untenable. This rejection by Russia reflects one of the contributing factors to its invasion of Ukraine, rooted in geopolitical tensions and a struggle for influence in the region. According to Vladimir Putin, “Russians and Ukrainians were one people – a single whole.”
Russia has considered Ukraine its own part and has never accepted it as a separate state or entity that can make its own decision to join the Western bloc.
End of soft power
In 2021, Ukraine sought to join NATO, prompting Russia to deploy troops to the Donbas region – Donetsk and Luhansk – already under the control of Russian-backed separatists. On February 21, 2022, Russia declared these regions as independent states. Three days later, on February 24, 2022, using the pretext of defending these territories, Russia attacked Ukraine, initiating an ongoing conflict between the two countries. In reality, Russia’s initiation of war is perceived as a response to end the soft power, politics, and hegemony of the United States. The objective is to safeguard its borders from perceived NATO invasion. The choice of “defend” rather than “protect” aligns with Russia’s strategy to uphold its sovereignty.
Erosion of economic stability
Crimea is a major source of oil and gas resources as it exports 35% of oil and gas to Western countries, and to gain maximum economic benefits, Russia has made its military build-up in Crimea with the support of separatist groups supporting Russia.
Impacts of the Russia-Ukraine War on Pakistan
- ✓Independent Foreign Policy
Coming to the impacts of the war on Pakistan, after its independence, Pakistan’s foreign policy has always been influenced by and shifted towards the West. However, former Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Russia has made a clear image of the country’s independent foreign policy. Consequently, it shows the clear and effective efforts for the betterment and shift of foreign policies, keeping the national interests of Pakistan the most in consideration.
- ✓Shift from geo-strategic to geo-economic foreign policy
With the evolving and changing world dynamics, Pakistan has also altered its stances and relations by shifting its foreign policy from geo-strategic to geo-economic. Keeping the country’s sovereignty and benefits at the top, the shift of policies can be beneficial if Russia can provide oil and gas in economic prices to Pakistan. For instance, if India can benefit greatly from importing crude oil from Russia at low prices, Pakistan can do the same instead of importing expensive hydrocarbons from Arabs.
- ✓Western pressure
Western pressure can cause challenges as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) can stretch its terms and conditions for its bail packages to Pakistan, including tough Financial Action Task Force (FATF) conditions. Additionally, the foreign Pakistani community can be affected in Europe as a few Pakistanis are residents of Russia in comparison to Europe.
- ✓Economic impacts
The Russia-Ukraine war has badly affected the global economy, as Ukraine is one of the top wheat exporters, and Russia is an oil exporter. Likewise, Pakistan’s economy has also been affected by inflation and the wheat, oil, and gas shortages.
- ✓Diplomatic challenges
The shift in Pakistan’s foreign policy can only be good for it by keeping its status neutral in the Ukraine- Russia crisis and not being a part of the Western or Eastern bloc as it has harmed the country in the past as well.
Suggestions for Pakistan’s survival
One of the key factors to survive the conflict is maintaining regional stability by all means. Pakistan, like Russia, shares the borders directly with other states, and by maintaining good relations, peace can prevail.
Strengthening the framework of foreign policy
One of the determinants of Pakistan’s foreign policy is to maintain mutual cooperation with other states without threatening their sovereignty, and only if it is practiced effectively, It can be helpful to maintain stability.
Vigorous action against separatists and non-state actors
Non-state actors are the source of inter and intra-border conflicts. Keeping strong checks and balances and preventing threats from these factors can be helpful for peace.
Robust defence system to safeguard the borders
Nothing can be more important than protecting Pakistan’s boundaries. A robust defence system with quick reflexes can help to prevent foreign invasion.
Russia has already occupied Ukraine, and it has nearly reached close to the capital of Ukraine. Indeed, it shows the aggressive attitude of Russia towards the issue as millions of people have died so far. On the other hand, if NATO with all European countries also shows an aggressive response towards Russia, it will surely be the start of World War III. Wars do no good to anyone but harm everyone, as evidenced by the fact that the world has seen two global wars before. In this critical scenario, where two powers are face to face, it has not only harmed all the underdeveloped countries but also the developed countries, and it is now taking a turn towards nuclear war. Ironically, all the organizations and the international community should come up with rational solutions to prevent the world from contemporary crises and long-lasting nuclear war damages in the future as well.
Russia- Ukraine war has deep roots in history with its complexities. Indeed, the war between two major powers has severe implications globally. However, this war has profound humanitarian consequences, displacing thousands of people and raising questions about sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the role of major global powers in shaping the outcome of regional conflicts. Hence, as the conflict continues to evolve, it remains a subject of intense scrutiny and diplomatic efforts, shedding light on the intricate dynamics of modern warfare and the delicate balance of power in the 21st century.
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