Russian President Vladimir Putin has authorised a military operation in the Eastern European country. This has come after months of denial by Russia of such plans, whilst troops continue to be seen massing in Moscow.  

The Ukraine is located in eastern Europe and is the second largest country in terms of land area in Europe. Ukraine is the eight biggest country in Europe in terms of population. The Ukraine was formally a Soviet state, however gained independence in 1991.  

It is unclear as to why President Putin has made the decision to invade, as he has maintained that Russia has no intention of invasion for a significant period of time. However, there has been a build up of forces near the Ukraine border, which commenced in approximately March 2021 with an escalation in the last week. 

In December 2021 Moscow issued a number of demands that included the Ukraine never being granted membership with NATO (a military alliance formed after the Second World War), which was accompanied by some vague threats of military response. The demands by Moscow were formally rejected in January. President Putin made a national address on Russian television to recognise the independence of two breakaway republics in Ukraine’s east. In the address he went on to describe the Ukraine as an integral part of Russian history and indicated that areas in eastern Ukraine were ancient Russian land. President Putin criticised the Ukraine saying that neo-Nazis were on the rise.  

Western Countries have responded with sanctions on Russia. This includes the United States blacklisting Russia’s big banks and oligarchs. Furthermore, there have been promises of comprehensive sanctions on Russia’s sovereign debt. President Biden has stated: 

“That means we’ve cut off Russia’s government from Western finance. It can no longer raise money from the West and cannot trade in its new debt on our markets or European markets either.” 

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has indicated the intention to join other Western nations in imposing sanctions.  

The Ukraine is not a member of NATO therefore it is expected that the Ukraine will be on its own in relation to fighting forces. The US have also made it clear they will not get involved in the fighting and will not be sending support in those terms. The Ukrainian military has indicated that it won’t stand a chance against the Russian military forces without significant military support from the West. There are simply not sufficient military resources available to repel a full-scale attack on them.  

The US and it’s allies have made it clear to President Putin that if Russia invades, the US and it’s allies will impose the most severe sanctions that have ever been imposed.   

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