Know Everything About Ukraine And It’s Invasion


The current invasion of Ukraine via Russian forces is no laughing matter. As we enter the sixth day of the invasion, it is clear that Russia is continuing to invade a sovereign country and Ukraine will not step back either. The invasion, which is also being called the Ukraine Russia War, is slowly turning into a bigger war. 

However, this new clash is not born out of anything. Russia and Ukraine have a long shared history, with clashes and shared heritage. Keeping all of that in mind, it is important to do justice to all the sides of this historical disagreement. 

Let us dive into five major historical clashes between Russia and Ukraine, some preceding the present-day borders. 

History of Ukraine


The history of Ukraine begins far back in the late 9th century. A group of Norseman, who referred to themselves as Rus, pronounced “Roos”, established control over what is today Northwest Russia. They then moved down to the city of Kyiv, which is today Ukraine’s capital. 

This Norse group soon assimilated the local Slavic population and started to refer to themselves as Rus or Rusyns. This happened in present-day Ukraine, Moscow, the capital of present Russia, was established in the 12th century. 

In 988 CE, the Grand Prince Volodimir chose to adopt Christianity from the Byzantine Empire. The majority of the people spoke Slavic dialects which would later develop into Ukrainian and Russian languages. 

The principalities were conquered in the mid-13th century by the Mongol Empire. In the late 14th century, when Mongol Empire began to decline, a social group emerged of Ukrainian Cossacks. The Ukrainian Cossacks were a group of free people who guard Poland against Turkish and Tatar raids. 

Thus emerged the concept of ‘Ukraine’. The locals still called themselves ‘Rusyns’. As the years went by, the Orthodox Christians of Ukrainian land conflicted with Catholic Poland’s policies. This led to conflict between the two people, until a 1648 rebellion. 

As a result of the rebellion, an autonomous polity by the name of Hetmanate was established under Polish king. This was an independent place. 

At this time, to get protection from Poland, Military leader Bohdan Khmelnytsky accepted the protection of the Orthodox Russian tsar under the Treaty of Pereislav, 1654. However, this “protection” is currently highly debates. When in 1709 the people tried to break with Moscow, it led to a failed attempt.

1876: The Ems Act

This is perhaps the first clash between the two states. Catherine II, the famed Russian Empress abolished Hermanate completely, leaving Ukrainian people with no autonomy. She deployed the Russian army to Cassock land in 1764, where peasants were enslaved and the Russian officers could claim noble status. 

As previously noted, Poland and Ukraine conflicted with the land of Ukraine. In the late 18th century, Catherine received a large strength of Ukrainian lands from Poland. This led to the birth of great interest in Ukrainian folklore and culture, while also giving birth to the Ukrainian national revival. 

This led Tsar Alexander II to sign the Ems Act in 1876. By this act, all publishing in the Ukrainian language was banned. Instead, those who promoted assimilation to Ukraine instead o fighting for independence were rewarded. The Ukrainians were discriminated against.   

1918: Ukrainian Independence

With the Bolshevik Revolution, Ukraine gained autonomy under the Russian Provinsial government with the name of the Ukrainian People’s Republic of UNR. However, at the same time, Bolsheviks did not recognize this autonomous state and invaded it to become a part of the Soviet State. 

In January 1918, the UNR declared full independence. They signed a peace treaty with Brest before the Bolsheviks. At this time, the Germans installed a Ukrainian monarch. However, at the end of the First World War, Ukraine was able to unify with the lands that were previously under the Austro-Hungarian Empire. 

This state did not live for long, as the Russian civil war (1917-1922) led Ukraine to lose its autonomy. The Bolsheviks created the Soviet Ukrainian Republic in 1922 which eventually got assimilated into the Soviet Union. Stalin provided the final nail in the coffin in the 1930s, by crushing over 4 million Ukrainian peasants in the famine of 1932-33. According to Stalin, Ukraine was Russia’s “younger brother”, not an autonomous state. 

1945: The Ukrainian Societ Socialist Republic

With World War Two came more complications. As Stalin invaded Poland in 1939, The Ukrainian SSR was able to get the Ukrainian lands that had been kept by Poland back in 1919. In 1945, by the agreement of Churchill and Roosevelt, Stalin had control over all these territories. Thus came the enlarged Ukrainian SSR with an ethnic Ukrainian majority.  

In 1921, the Crimean peninsula became an autonomous republic under Russia. The peninsula did not have the ethnic majority of either state, but post-1944, Russians became a majority which is also considered a genocide historically. 

1991: Collapse of Soviet Union

In December 1991, the Ukrainian referendum led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. This had been in the works for years and led to a time of freedom. This led to a great comprehensive treaty between Russia and Ukraine in 1997, which confirmed Ukraine’s borders. Here, Ukraine agrees to surrender their Soviet-made arsenal to Russia. However, this treaty expired n 2019. 

2014: Annexation of Crimea

This is the beginning of a lot of present-day trouble in Ukraine. A popular revolution in Ukraine removed the pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych. The Russian authorities took this moment to reconquer Crimea. This annexation was majorly opposed, but it continued. 

As a result, the Russian authorities in Crimea started to suppress the Ukrainian and Crimean Activists. As a result, an active phase of war continued from 2015 to the fall of 2015. The escalation grew again in 2017 up till early 2022. Over 14,000 people have been killed and around 1.5 million people have been displaced. 

2022: The Invasion Of Ukraine

The war in Donbas in Crimea never ended, and in 2022, on February 24th, Russia launched an attack on Ukrainian territory. This is the present ay scenario, with tensions escalating quickly. Ukrainians are currently fleeing the country while Russia is moving to attack.

As attacks increase, it is clear that Russia and Ukraine have a long history of conflict, with Russia often trying to incorporate the lands of Ukraine under her thumb. However, as a modern day annexation, not only is this frowned upon but also utterly devastating. As the invasion unfolds, we need to wait and watch how the situation develops.

By Emma Bargende

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