Russia-Ukraine Conflict: NATO & World Order | UPSC

Russia-Ukraine Conflict: Its origin, impacts on world and India and Way forward. Complete Topic covered for UPSC Exams.
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map of russia-ukraine source: google earth
Russia Ukraine Map, Source: Google Earth

Topic:

GS Paper 2, Regional or Global Groupings.

Context: 

  • Russia-Ukraine standoff.
  • Putin-Macron agreement on a ceasefire at Ukraine’s border.
  • Talks on reviving trilateral contact groups involving Russia Ukraine and OSCE
  • To implement Minsk Protocol: a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine.

 About Ukraine

  • It is the second-largest country by area in Europe, only second to Russia.
  • It shares borders with Belarus (North), Poland, Slovakia, Hungary (West), Romania, Moldova (South), and a coastline along the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea.
  • Its capital is Kyiv.
  • It had East Slavic culture before the Mongol invasion in the 14th century and thereafter fragmentation by various Empires.
  • Ukrainian National Movement emerged after the Russian revolution in 1917 and made Ukraine a part of USSR.
  • Ukraine became an independent Nation in 1991 after the dissolution of the USSR.

 Post-USSR Era

  •  Ukraine maintained neutral relations by forming alliances and partnerships with both Russia and Europe after 1991.
  • In 2014, the Maidan revolution resulted in Ukraine’s inclination towards Europe by expelling the sitting President who was Pro Russian.
  • Following the revolution, Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula by military action.
  • This Pushed Ukraine even more towards Europe.

Russian Interest in Ukraine

1. Regional Balance

  • Since the breakup of the USSR, Russia has tried to keep the former Soviet Union countries under its sphere of influence and away from the US Bloc. Now, Ukraine’s proximity to Europe is threatening that.

2. NATO and Ukraine

  • The whole purpose of NATO was the collective defense against communists, which was represented by the USSR at that time and by Russia in today’s time. Thus, Ukraine a former Soviet Nation, now joining NATO will bring US influence right on the Russian border.

3. Buffer Zone Theory

  • Ukraine has been a buffer zone between Russia and the West, so now the landscape is changing.

4. Cultural Ties

  • Ukraine is culturally more closer to Russia than to the West. Thus, there is a sense of attachment that Russian people feel about Ukraine.

Current Point of Conflict

The debate of national sovereignty versus the regional balance of power

  • Ukraine considers its right to join NATO and more close relations with Europe a matter of national Sovereignty.
  • Russia sees Ukraine’s relations with Europe, a conspiracy to upset the balance of power in the region.

Russia Ukraine Conflict and the World

1. Risk of War

  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine can cause a full-scale war between Russia and Ukraine (Backed by Western Bloc)

2. Pandemic versus Regional Conflict

  • Such issues create a diversion with respect to the needs of the hour, which is, in today’s time, total focus on post covid recovery and vaccination.

3. The risk of a New Cold War

  • Such conflict can once again divide the world in separate blocks fighting for their sphere of influence.

Indian Interests

1. Relations with Both Countries

  • Russia is a major partner of India. 
  • India has good relations with Ukraine in various fields ranging from economic, people-to-people contact, and even in the space domain.

2. Connectivity Plans

  •  War in the region can hamper India’s plan to connect to Eastern Europe via INSTC.

3. China’s Benefit

  • These conflicts push Russia more towards China, who is is pushing its own agenda via linking this issue you with indo-pacific groupings such as Quad and AUKUS.

4. Other

  • Indian students in Russia and Ukraine.
  • Risk of upsetting one by siding with another.
  • Crisis of Diplomacy: idealism versus Realism.

Way Forward

  1. Diplomacy should be the way forward instead of conflict.
  2. Dialogue between the conflicting parties should be limited to those whose interests are at stake and should not be used by others to push their interests.
  3. Russian fears should not be ignored. In today’s connected world, national sovereignty cannot be the cause for upsetting the world order, as everyone depends on everyone else.
  4. Use of diplomatic language instead of prophecies of World War and making it a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  5. Countries with good relations with both, like India, should push both for talks.

NATO

  • North Atlantic Treaty 
  • The military alliance between 27 European, 2 North American, and 1 Eurasian country.
  • Treaty of collective defense and security.
  • Came into existence during Post-World War 2 times, to counter the growing Soviet Union influence.
  • Founded in 1949, in Washington DC (USA)

 OSCE

  • Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
  • World’s largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization and has observer status at UN.
  • The mandate includes issues related to arms control, human rights protection, freedom of the press, and free and fair elections.

Minsk Protocol

  • An agreement that sought to end the war in the Donbas region of Ukraine.
  • Written by trilateral contact group including Ukraine, Russia, and OSCE, in 2014.
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