Russia-Ukraine War and its Future Paradigm

As of 2023, the confrontation between Russia and Ukraine—often referred to as the “Ukraine Crisis”—has been continuing on since 2014. Political disagreements between the two nations first sparked the war, which then swiftly turned into a military confrontation that has killed thousands of people, uprooted populations, and caused extensive damage.

After former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown in February 2014, Ukraine made the decision to ally itself more closely with the West, which is where the conflict’s origins can be found. An agreement with the European Union was abandoned in favour of tighter connections with Russia by Yanukovych, a pro-Russian politician who had been in charge since 2010. This decision led to widespread demonstrations in Ukraine. A pro-Western administration was finally installed in Kiev as a result of the demonstrations, sometimes referred to as the Euromaidan Revolution.

Because of the developments in Ukraine, which upset Russia, the peninsula of Crimea, which had been a part of Ukraine since 1954 but had a sizable ethnic Russian population, started to come under Russian control. When Russian troops without insignia started to occupy key positions in Crimea in March 2014, the region voted in a referendum that Ukraine and the international community deemed illegal to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. Then Russia grabbed Crimea, sparking a global uproar and prompting the United States and the European Union to impose economic sanctions on Russia.

The violence quickly extended to eastern Ukraine, where Russia-backed pro-Russian rebels started taking over major cities and villages. In an effort to reclaim control of the area, the Ukrainian government launched a military operation. However, the conflict swiftly turned into a full-fledged war. There have been intermittent outbreaks of violence throughout the war for nearly ten years, and ceasefires have often been broken.

Thousands of people have died and more than a million have been displaced as a consequence of the protracted fighting, shelling, and aerial bombardment in eastern Ukraine. Both sides have been charged with war crimes, including targeting people and using prohibited weapons like landmines and cluster bombs.

With the assistance of Western nations, the Ukrainian military has made tremendous progress in the fighting, retaking important cities and towns and driving back pro-Russian insurgents. However, the dispute has gotten entrenched, and neither side is willing to budge from their positions.

The separatists have been charged of receiving guns, ammunition, and other military supplies from Russia and having soldiers sent to fight alongside them. Despite its denials of any involvement in the conflict, Russia has been clearly supporting the separatists as shown by the presence of Russian soldiers and military equipment in eastern Ukraine. The war caused a drop in industrial production and an increase in inflation, both of which have had a substantial effect on the Ukrainian economy. Additionally, the conflict has resulted in the destruction of important infrastructure, such as factories, mines, and power plants.

The Minsk II agreement, which was signed in February 2015, was one of several efforts to end the war. The deal, mediated by France and Germany, called for the formation of an autonomous area in eastern Ukraine, the removal of heavy weaponry from the front lines, and a cease-fire. However, the conflict has persisted despite numerous violations of the agreement. On a platform of putting an end to the conflict, Volodymyr Zelensky, the new president of Ukraine, was elected in 2019. Zelensky has attempted to reopen negotiations with Russia, but there hasn’t been any movement.

The Russia-Ukraine war’s paradigm for the future is unknown, but there is little doubt that the ongoing conflict will continue to have a significant influence on world politics. Here are some outcomes that could happen:

Continued war: The war in Ukraine may continue for years, with sporadic outbreaks of hostility and sporadic cease-fire agreements that eventually fail to address the root problems. A destabilised area and heightened tensions between Russia and the West might result from the prolonged war.

Resolution via diplomacy: A diplomatic settlement of the crisis is conceivable, although it would probably need considerable concessions from both Russia and Ukraine. Any deal would have to include topics like the status of Crimea, the independence of eastern Ukraine, and the removal of Russian military forces and equipment from Ukrainian territory.

Increased Sanctions: The West has already placed economic restrictions on Russia as retaliation for its actions in Ukraine, but if the conflict persists, additional restrictions might be placed. These sanctions may have a huge negative impact on Russia’s economy and further distance it from the rest of the world.

Broader crisis: There is a chance that the crisis in Ukraine may spread to include other nations in the area. For instance, if Russia were to try to acquire additional land in Ukraine, Ukraine or other surrounding nations may respond militarily. This may include other world powers and spark a bigger confrontation.

Change in Power Dynamics: The protracted conflict has already resulted in a change in the region’s power dynamics, with Ukraine moving away from Russia and towards the West. If this pattern continues, Russia’s position in the area may become weaker, while the position of Western nations may get stronger.

Overall, it is uncertain how the Russia-Ukraine war will develop in the future, but it is obvious that it will continue to have a significant influence on world politics. It is imperative that all parties work together to find a peaceful resolution to the problem in order to prevent more unrest in the region.

Saba Kiran
Saba Kiran
Ms Saba Kiran is an MS graduate of the Department of Aerospace and Strategic Studies at Air University, Islamabad. She has a background in political science and takes an academic interest in ethnopolitical conflicts, national security, strategic stability, and social conflict analysis.