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No easy answers to Russia's invasion of Ukraine

Ukraine-Russia Tension
Posted at 7:02 PM, Feb 28, 2022

COLORADO SPRINGS — Any diplomatic negotiations between Ukraine and Russia will be complicated because there is no simple answer to why Russia is invading Ukraine. Politics, power perceptions, military strategy, economics, religious origins, also history are all possibly in play.

It is another country, another continent, yet it is a reason for the United States and its allies to pay attention.

"The Ukrainian crisis is not just about Ukraine,” said Colorado School of Mines, History and Foreign Policy Professor, Kenneth Osgood, “It's also about NATO allies." He said part of Russian President, Vladimir Putin’s motivation could be to test reaction of other nations like the United States and its NATO allies Poland and the Baltic States.

History shows Russian leaders have long lobbied for the position of a power player in that geographic region.

"Russian foreign policy has been really consistent over the past 120 odd years, and going back further in that it has identified the priority of maintaining dominant influence over the countries along its border with western Europe."

Osgood said Putin likely wants a return to more compliant neighbor states.

“But the people of those parts of the world, the people who live there have no interest in being part of the vassal of the Russian empire."

There are also geographic advantages to consider. Ukraine's border along the Black Sea offers potential military benefits for Russia.

"Historically, Russia has wanted access to warm water ports, so their Navy isn't stuck," said Osgood.

Russia is also a major provider of natural gas to Western Europe.

"Gaining control over the country would give him more economic leverage,” said Osgood.

Putin may see financial benefits with more control over gas pipelines that go through Ukraine.

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