For several weeks, the possibility of a new Russian invasion of Ukraine has become increasingly concrete. Since last November, the Russian government has been massing thousands of soldiers near the border of eastern Ukraine, threatening to intervene if the West, or rather NATO, does not decide to give up keeping Ukraine under its influence, and therefore does not show with clarity of wanting to give up the process of “enlargement to the east”. In recent days, concerns about a possible Russian intervention have grown even more intense and there are reasons to believe that Vladimir Putin’s regime is indeed considering a military operation of some kind.
The first thing to bear in mind is that any Russian military operation in Ukraine would not be something new, nor particularly unexpected.
Over the past fifteen years, Putin’s Russia has shown on several occasions that it is willing to use force to guarantee its influence in neighboring countries that were part of the Soviet Union: it happened for example in 2008 in Georgia, where Russia intervened by pushing back the Georgian troops who had invaded South Ossetia; and it happened in 2014 in Crimea, when men with covered faces were sent by Putin to take control of the Ukrainian peninsula, then annexed by a very controversial referendum.
The second thing to consider is that Ukraine is particularly important to Russia, and has been for some time.
Putin would like NATO, the military alliance of which the United States is the informal leader, to provide an official guarantee of renouncing Ukraine to join the organization (although no one is willing to do so for now) and therefore expand its own. presence to the east. In recent days, several analysts have mentioned the long article published by Putin last July in which the Russian president spoke of the “historic unity between Russians and Ukrainians” and argued, in essence, that Ukraine belonged to Russia and that the formation of a Ukrainian national identity detached from Russia was to be considered an “anti-Russia project”.
The situation that has arisen today is particularly worrying for several reasons.