A little history
A few decades ago the Ukraine was a part of the old Soviet empire, bit by bit it has been given to independence by the Russians. Suffice to say some communities in the Ukraine still feel strong ties to Russia.
How it all started
Over the past few years there has been growing discontent in Ukraine about it’s Former President’s actions and dealings with Russia. What finally sparked the protests was in November 2013 when the former president refused to sign a deal between the Ukraine and the European Union which would have lead to closer ties with the EU and ultimately breaking down of ties with Russia. Instead the former president chose to increase ties with Russia.
After the former president’s decision to move closer to Russia protests began in Ukraine’s capital city of Kiev (and smaller protests elsewhere in the west.) In an attempt to disperse these protests the Ukrainian government passed laws which effectively outlawed protests. Obviously the protesters were fairly unhappy about this and disregarded the new laws gathering in greater numbers.
The Ukraine’s police force attempted to disperse these protests with force, initially with non-lethal force (e.g. water cannons & rubber bullets.) As a result of this protesters began riots. The government escalated allowing lethal force, in response the rioters did the same, beginning to use fire grenades and marksmen of their own. Clashes of security forces and protesters resulted in loss of life on both sides.
On the 22nd of Feburary 2014 the former president of Ukraine flee’d from his luxury home with the intent of seeking refuge in Russia. It is known he passed through the town of Kharkiv before moving on to Russia. With the former president now disposed, the Ukrainian parliament voted in a new, temporary, president (who is pro-EU relations.)
As said earlier, a portion of the Ukraine still feels ties to Russia, in interviews some of them have described themselves as “Russian without a Russian passport.” This portion of Ukraine feels the forced removal of their elected leader and instatement of a new one is illegitimate. Indeed they themselves feel the move to bring closer ties with Russia was the correct move for Ukraine. (The map isn’t exactly accurate but it’s a good approximation of the divide)
Russia moves in
First some backstory: In 2010 the former president renewed a deal with Russia to allow a Russian naval base (the HQ of the Russian Black Sea fleet) to remain on the Crimean peninsula in return for (very) cheap natural gas supplied by Russia. What’s happening now: Protests and clashes between Pro-Russian and Pro-EU supporters begin in the eastern regions of Ukraine, in particular the Crimean peninsula has become the focus of the news. Russia announced that (in its own words), in order to protect its national interests in the Crimean area and to protect the large number of Russian citizens living in the Crimean area it was moving troops in to Ukraine in order to to reinforce and secure it’s bases and reassure the large Russian and Pro-Russian population there. Initially this was done with no such announcement from Russia, several airports were secured and airspace was closed. Several Russian heavy transports landed at these airports carrying what is thought to be several thousand troops. It should be noted these troops have so far not confirmed they are Russian, nor carry any identifying insignia (bar the Russian camouflage pattern they are wearing.) for reasons only Russian military commanders know for sure. On the 2nd of March (2 days after officially moving forces into Ukraine) President Putin received authorization from the Russian parliament to begin deploying troops inside the Ukraine.
The rest of the world
The western world has been quick to denounce the actions of the Russian military calling their movement of troops an invasion. The US & European countries have announced severe political and economic penalties for Russia should they continue with an advance into Ukraine or start a war. In response to the Russian parliament authorizing military engagement in Ukraine the temporary Ukrainian government has put it’s military on “full combat readiness” recalling reservist forces to active duty and preparing for war.
Raising Russian flags in the east
Since the installment of a temporary president large crowds number in the thousands (5000 to 20000 depending on who you ask) have been gathering and taking over official buildings and raising Russian flags in several large population centers on the east of Ukraine. These crowds are calling for more autonomy, sometimes independence. From the Ukrainian government in Kiev Breaking news: T8he top naval commander of the Ukrainian navy declared allegiance to the Crimea and Pro-Russian forces.
What happens next nobody can say with certainty, one gung-ho platoon commander misinterpreting his orders can mean the difference between peace and war. What we do know for certain is nobody WANTS this to turn into a war, one which would be very bloody and very messy for everyone involved. Escalation & World War 3: The US and Europe are very unlikely to get involved should a war start, open war between superpowers will only end with MASSIVE loss of life on both sides. Should a conflict begin, the west will most likely begin to put massive economic pressure on Russia to cease the conflict. I’d put a picture of my dog last but he’s asleep so I’ll leave you with a final statement. Don’t take anything I’ve written here for 100% fact, go out and read about what’s going on from multiple sources and form your own opinion. A well informed public is 100x better than one that parrots what they see on the news.