Updated: Oct 21
repeatedly denies planning to invade #Ukraine, dubbing the Western concern “hysteria”, despite having amassed an estimated 170,000 soldiers near the border. It is believed to be the largest concentration of forces in #Europe since the cold war.
A Russian #invasion of Ukraine would have devastating humanitarian consequences, and one of them may be creating even more refugees.
There are already an estimated 1.6 million Ukrainians #internallydisplaced and nearly 3 million people in need of #humanitarianaid due to the #conflict, which has been ongoing since 2014. A prolonged #occupation, though unlikely according to analysts, would result in many more Ukrainian citizens seeking #asylum.
European officials have expressed concern regarding the potential for “hybrid measures” against the #EU, of which the movement of Ukrainian asylum seekers could be one. This follows the recent exploitations by #AlexanderLukashenko, who weaponised thousands of refugees at the EU border in retaliation for sanctions on his regime.
So why is Russia threatening Ukraine?
Russian President #VladimirPutin has long resisted Ukraine's transition towards both #NATO and the EU. His core demand now is for the West to guarantee Ukraine will not join NATO, a defensive alliance consisting of 30 countries.
Ukraine shares borders with both the EU and Russia, however as a former #Soviet republic it has profound social and cultural links to Russia, with Russian commonly spoken there. When Ukrainians deposed their pro-Russian president in 2014, Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and backed separatists who captured large swathes of eastern Ukraine. The rebels have fought the Ukrainian military ever since in a conflict that has cost over 14,000 lives. Russia rejects accusations that it plays a pivotal role in the ever-present conflict.
A clue to Putin's stance regarding Ukraine came in a lengthy article last year when he called Russians and Ukrainians “one people – a single whole” and that “modern Ukraine is entirely the product of the Soviet era”. He also considers Ukraine's current leaders as running an "anti-Russian project."