CSS 2023 Solved Current Affairs Past Papers | Discuss the Core Causes of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine, which Have Considerable Socio-economic, Political, and Strategic Consequences on the World. Explain its Devastating Impacts on Pakistan and its Severe Lesson for the Country’s Survival?
The following question of CSS Current Affairs 2023 is solved by Lubna Saghir under the supervision of Miss Nirmal Hasni. She learnt how to attempt 20 marks question and essay writing from Sir Syed Kazim Ali, Pakistan’s best CSS and PMS English essay and precis teacher with the highest success rate of his students. This solved past paper question is attempted on the pattern taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory and optional subjects for years, and uploaded to help aspirants 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 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
- ✓ Economic cause
- ✓ Political cause- End of soft power
4- Impacts of the Russia-Ukraine War on Pakistan
- ✓ Positive Impacts
- Independent foreign policy
- Shift from geostrategic to geo-economics foreign policy
- ✓ Negative Impacts
- Political impacts
- Economic impacts
- Diplomatic impacts
- Industrial and defence impacts
5- Suggestions for Pakistan’s survival
- ✓ Regional stability via balanced foreign policy
- ✓ Sovereignty and national unity
- ✓ Strong action against separatists and non-state actors
- ✓ Balancing relations with major powers
- ✓ Diversification in Imports
6- Critically Analysis
Answer to the question
Unfortunately, after the devastating damages of World Wars I and II, the world is at the stake of World War III owing to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Indeed, it is evident from the fact that Europe has indulged in one of the biggest conflicts of the decade since World War II. However, the situation has not been born overnight but has deep roots in NATO expansion to former Warsaw Pact states and ex-Soviet Republic states. In addition, Ukraine -European Union (E.U.)association agreement, the Euromaidan movement, Ukrainian ethnic groups division, and Ukraine’s request to join NATO, causing territorial and Sovereignty threats to Russia from NATO, have exacerbated 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 geostrategic outcomes, ultimately. Hence, the crisis has complex and far-reaching consequences for the world, including Pakistan. Subsequently, the conflict has raised concerns for Pakistan due to its potential implications for regional stability and geopolitics. However, with strong mechanisms and a framework of effective foreign and economic policies marching towards regional stability, the country’s survival can be made sure, hopefully. In a nutshell, 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 the eastward expansion of NATO, particularly when the alliance opened the doors for ex-Soviet republics in the late 1990s for the Czech Republic, Hungry, and Poland, and in the early 2000s for Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. However, it became worse when, in the late 2000s, the alliances stated their intent to admit Georgia and Ukraine. On the other hand, in the context of history, on February 9, 1990, U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s famous “not one inch eastward” assurance about NATO expansion in his meeting with Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev made Russia concerned about the issue in the recent decade followed by NATO’S activities. In fact, NATO violated the verbal agreement with Russia after ten years with the dissolution of the Warsaw pact after the reunion of Germany; afterwards, at the Bucharest Summit, it announced that “Ukraine and Georgia will become a part of NATO“. In response, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned NATO 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.” Additionally, following NATO’s 2008 summit, Russia has invaded Ukraine and after six years in 2014 when Kyiv has decided to become an economic partner with European Union Russian has annexed Crimean. Lastly, when Ukraine decided to become a part of NATO, Russia sent its troops to Ukraine in Feb 2022.
Causes of Russian invasion of Ukraine
1- NATO-Russia tension
The Russian-Ukraine war has roots in history between two major powers, NATO and the Soviet Union. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, it was assured by NATO not to invade or expand its power in those separated states, but it was violated after ten years by NATO, which became the source of concern for Russia for the very first time.
2- Sovereignty concerns of Russia
On May 1 2004, 10 countries that were former communist countries have become a part of the European Union. Russia shares its borders with all of these states, including Japan, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, which are part of NATO. It has created a strong concern for Russia’s Sovereignty, as NATO creates its Military bases and sends troops to its allies’ territories. Ukraine shares a long and direct border with Russia, and it has also set the alarm for Russia.
3- Ethnic and linguistic causes
Ukraine is divided on ethnic and linguistic bases, which divide the masses and their opinions too. Western Ukraine is pro-Europe, and Eastern Ukraine is pro-Russia. In the eastern part, owing to the close border with Russia and the bad economic conditions after 1991, separatist groups have remained dominant, demanding to become part of Russia. On the other hand, in the western part, having close borders with Europe, they have demanded to become a part of NATO. As a result, the conflict has remained unsolved, and it has become a constant source of Russian invasion in Ukraine.
4- Euromaidan movement
The western group of Ukraine has demanded a trade contract with the European Union, but on November 21 2013, Ukraine’s President Victor Yanukovych, who was pro-Russian, rejected the Ukraine-European Association Agreement. As a result, in Feb 2014, a protest was started by pro-Europeans in Ukraine titled the “Euromaidan movement“. They protested against the President, and the parliament of Ukraine impeached President Victor Yanukovych. The new President signed the free trade agreement with Europe, which has also become a catalyst for protest in another part of the country.
5- Annexation of Crimea
In the Eastern part of Ukraine, the pro-Russians have started protests in Crimean against the impeachment of President Victor Yanukovych and in favour of Russia. As a result, Russia sent its troops to Crimean and also arranged a referendum, which resulted in the annexation of Crimean by Russia.
6-Ukrainian legislation for NATO membership
In 2017, the Ukrainian parliament decided to become a part of NATO, but Russia rejected it as it considers Ukraine a part of its territory, arguing that historical and cultural affinities make them inseparable.
“Russians and Ukrainians were one people- a single whole” Vladimir Putin
Russia has considered Ukraine its own part and has never accepted it as a separate state or entity which can make its own decision to join the Western bloc.
8- Political cause- End of soft power
In 2021, Ukraine requested to join NATO; in that response, Russia sent its troops to the Donbas region, Donetsk and Luhansk, already controlled by Russian-backed separatists, and declared them as independent states on February 21 2022. After three days of sending troops to all three states, Crimean, Donetsk and Luhansk, making them an excuse for invasion, Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24 2022, and the war started between both countries, which continues till now. In actuality, to end the soft power, politics and hegemony of the United States, Russia has started the war to protect its borders from NATO’s invasion. It is better to defend rather than protect, and Russia has followed the same scheme to protect its Sovereignty.
8- Economic cause
Crimean has 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 Crimean with the support of separatist groups supporting Russia.
Impacts of the Russia-Ukraine War on Pakistan
- 1- Positive Impacts
A) Independent Foreign Policy
After the independence, Pakistan’s foreign policy has always been influenced and shifted towards the West. However, former Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Visit to Russia has created a strong impression of the nation’s autonomous foreign policy. Consequently, it shows the clear and effective efforts for the betterment and shift of foreign policies, keeping in consideration the national interests of Pakistan as the top priority.
B) Shift from geostrategic to geo-economic foreign policy
With the evolving and changing world dynamics, Pakistan has also changed its stances and relations by shifting its foreign policy from geostrategic 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 at economically friendly prices to Pakistan. For instance, if India can benefit a lot from the import of crude oil from Russia at low prices, likewise, Pakistan can do the same instead of importing expensive hydrocarbons from Arabs.
- 2- Negative Impacts
A) Political impacts
Western pressure can cause challenges as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) can Stretch its terms and conditions for its bailout packages to Pakistan, including tough Financial Action Task Force (FATF) conditions, unfortunately. Additionally, other plans like Cooperation Roadmap 2021-2026 between Russia and Pakistan may be derailed by economic sanctions placed on Russia by the West. As a result, it will have an impact on power engineering, modernization and repair of Pakistan’s railway, and the upgrading of industrial facilities in the metallurgical, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries. Moreover, the $2 5 billion Pakistan stream gas pipeline project might possibly be cut off.
B) Economic impacts
Russia- Ukraine war has badly affected the global economy, as Ukraine is one of the top exporters of wheat, and Russia is an exporter of oil. Likewise, the impact of the Russian-Ukraine conflict is a double-edged sword for Pakistan, as the country not only has economic ties with both countries but is also dependent on both countries for food imports. Additionally, Pakistan’s economy has also been affected by the surge in global oil prices, disruptions in the supply of agricultural products, and a decrease in foreign investments. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, countries like Indonesia, Madagascar, and Pakistan are among those that remain the most affected. This is due to less diversity in grain imports and a low score on the dietary sourcing flexibility index (DSFI), which makes them increasingly dependent on imports from Russia and Ukraine.
C) Diplomatic impacts
The impact of the Russia-Ukraine war is not just economic but also has geopolitical and geostrategic consequences for Pakistan. Diplomatically, Pakistan is caught in a complex situation as it wishes to maintain ties with both Russia and the West, including the U.S. and E.U. Given Pakistan’s poor experiences with camp politics, Islamabad abstained from voting against Russia at UNGA to stay neutral. As Russia intensifies its aggression and prolongs the war, the West may ask Pakistan to review its stance. In case Pakistan fails to carefully assess its strategic options and positioning globally amidst the Russia-Ukrainian conflict, it would affect the current as well as fiscal account balance, leading to increased pressure on economic stagnation.
D) Industrial and defence impacts
Ukraine is considered the main importing country for Pakistan- importing food items besides carpets, machinery, paper, and other items. Additionally, Pakistan is most demanding for steel, and steel is imported from Ukraine. After this crisis, there is a difference in the supply and demand of other commodities. Moreover, it will not only raise the prices of raw materials but also lead to a shortage of exported goods, affecting the Pakistan industrial sector badly. On the other hand, Pakistan also gets defence equipment from Ukraine, but the conflict will have an impact on the Pakistan Army’s efforts to upgrade its tank fleet and IL-78 aircraft overhaul program for the Pakistan Air Force.
Suggestions for Pakistan’s survival
1- Regional stability via balance foreign policy
One of the key factors to survive the conflict is to maintain regional stability via balanced foreign policy by all means. Pakistan should maintain a balanced foreign policy, avoiding excessive alignment with any major power to protect its interests. Pakistan shares the borders directly with other states like India, Afghanistan, and Iran; thus, by maintaining good relations with them, regional stability can be ensured.
2- Sovereignty and national unity
Pakistan must prioritize national unity and protect its territorial integrity, given its diverse ethnic and cultural makeup. The Ukraine conflict has contributed to a more complex and uncertain global security environment. Pakistan, situated in a region with its own security challenges, must carefully assess how the evolving international dynamics, including the Ukraine crisis, may impact its own security concerns, such as the Kashmir issue and relations with India.
3- Strong action against non-state actors and separatists
Non-state actors are the source of inter and intra-border conflicts. Likewise, Pakistan has grappled with the presence and activities of various non-state actors within its borders for several decades. These non-state actors are diverse in nature, ranging from militant groups and insurgent organizations to criminal networks and extremist religious organizations. Additionally, Baloch nationalist and separatist organizations, such as the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) and the Baluchistan Liberation Front (BLF), have operated in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province. They have sought greater autonomy and, in some cases, outright independence from Pakistan. It shows the same case as it was in the Ukraine. Hence, keeping strong checks and balances and preventing threats from these factors can ultimately be helpful for peace.
4- Balancing Relations with Major Powers
Pakistan should maintain a balanced approach in its relations with major powers, including the United States, China, and Russia. The Ukraine crisis demonstrates the challenges of navigating relations with conflicting interests among global powers, and Pakistan can benefit from diplomacy that avoids excessive alignment with any one nation.
5- Diversification in Imports
Pakistan should prioritize import and energy security by diversifying its energy sources and supply routes. The disruption of energy flows to Europe during the Ukraine conflict highlights the importance of reducing dependency on a single supplier, which can be a vulnerability.
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 good to none but harm to everyone, as evident from the fact that the world has seen two wars before. In this critical scenario, where two powers are face to face, it has harmed not only all the underdeveloped countries but also the developed countries, and it is now taking a turn towards nuclear war. Having said that, it is in Pakistan’s national interest to stay neutral and not become a part of the great powers’ old rivalry, as global politics is again turning back to the bloc system. Ironically, all the organizations and the international community should come up with rational solutions to prevent the world from a contemporary crisis and from long-lasting nuclear war damages in the future as well.
Russia- Ukraine war has deep roots in history with all of its complexities. Indeed, it is the war of two major powers having 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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