We hear about Ukraine very frequently in the news today. In large part, this is a result of what is taking place in the impeachment of President Trump. But there are many, many more reasons we should be looking at this region of the world.
A timeline of some of the recent events in the Russian/Ukrainian crisis is noted below.
Since the ouster of the Russian sponsored President Yanukovych in 2014 and the resulting Russian occupation of Crimea and infiltration of eastern Ukraine:
- 18,000 people killed.
- Nearly 1.5 million Ukrainians displaced
Listening to this podcast episode Ukraine Deep Dive will help you understand some of the issues at play in the US impeachment proceedings. It will also help you recognize this is nowhere near the top of the list of reasons we should be watching this region of the world. Massive chaos spreading in eastern Europe. This nation is the doorway for Russia to cause even more unrest. It is also a nation with a rich but troubled history.
JB Shreve is joined in this week’s current events discussion by Dr. Malachi Nichols and Terrell Spencer.
Timeline of Major Events in Ukraine Crisis
- August 1991 – Ukraine separates from the former Soviet Union.
- 2004 – Victor Yanukovych is elected President but kept from taking office by widespread protests in the country. Many believed his election victory to be fraudulent. This is known as the Orange Revolution.
- 2010 – Viktor Yanukovych elected President once again but this time the election results are maintained. US aid to Ukraine begins to significantly increase under President Obama.
- November 2013 – Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych rejects a deal for greater inclusion with the European Union. Massive protests result. Russia backs Yanukovych. The US and EU back the protesters.
- February 2014 – President Yanukovych is ousted from the presidency by widespread protests and parliament. He flees to Russia. Many of the Ukrainian speaking people in the western part of the country are happy to see him go. Many Russian speaking people in the eastern part of the country feel his ouster was illegitimate.
- March 2014 – Crimea votes to become secede from Ukraine and become part of Russia. This followed a month-long military occupation of Crimea by Russia.
- April 2014 – Low-level fighting between the Ukrainian military and the Russian backed separatists unleashed in eastern Ukraine.
- July 2014 – Ukraine launches an offensive to push out Russian backed rebels.
- July 17, 2014 – Civilian airliner with 298 people on board shot down over eastern Ukraine. This is widely believed to be the work of Russian backed rebels. Experts believe it was probably an accident.
- August 2014 – As Ukraine intensifies its fight against the rebels things grow more serious as Russia invades the country. Russian interference in Ukraine is no longer covert. Russian tanks, artillery, missiles, and troops are seen crossing the border into Ukraine.
- February 2015 – The Minsk Accords are initiated in an attempt to broker settlement to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. In this same year, US aid to Ukraine jumps to $314 million with 63% of this aid directed toward the military.
- April 2016 – NATO announces four battalions deployed to eastern Europe to deter Russian aggression. US aid rises to $523 million.
- September 2017 – The US adds two army tank brigades to NATO forces in eastern Europe. In this first year of President Trump’s term as President, US aid to Ukraine dips to $446 million.
- April to July 2019 – The series of famous calls takes place between President Trump and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. It is alleged that President Trump threatened to withhold continued US aid until Zelenskiy provided dirt on Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden.
We mention this in the podcast, but there is a big gap in the mainstream literature on Ukraine between the 2014 crisis and the impeachment hearings of today.
These are some of the best resources we recommend for learning the background of what is taking place in the situation today. We deliberately avoided listing links related to the impeachment. That part is simply not too complicated to grasp and we (specifically our American audience) should recognize there is a lot of important stuff going on in Ukraine beyond the US impeachment stuff.
- Everything You Need to Know About the Ukraine Crisis (Vox)
- Summary and Explanation of the Ukraine Crisis (The Balance)
- Conflict in Ukraine (Council on Foreign Relations)
- US Aid to Ukraine and How it Changed Under Bush, Obama and Trump (Fox Business)