Home » today » World » War between Russia and Ukraine

War between Russia and Ukraine


Are there power-nationalist arrogance or realistic compromises behind Putin’s threat of war against Ukraine? The threat has its roots in long historical lines.

RUSSIAN FORCES: The satellite image from Maxar Technologies allegedly shows Russian military activity in Crimea. Photo: Maxar Technologies / AFP / NTB
view more

Internal comments: This is a comment. The commentary expresses the writer’s attitude.


President of Russia Vladimir Putin has launched his demands to NATO, and thus his real justification for the build-up of forces on the border with Ukraine, where 100,000 Russian soldiers are now marching. He demands legal guarantees from NATO that they will not expand further east, and he demands it in direct talks with the United States, which will take place in January.

“IN GOOD PHYSICAL FORM”: Russian President Vladimir Putin took a two-day vacation to Lake Baikal in Siberia. Among other things, he fished underwater fishing there. Video: AP DV / NTB
view more

The starting point is the ever closer contact between NATO and Ukraine. In the summer of 2020, Ukraine gained status as a so-called preparatory member of the alliance. This does not mean that membership is imminent, because it is inconceivable that NATO will include as a member a country that is in military conflict with Russia. But this means that it opens up for more formalized political and military cooperation with Ukraine. For Russia, the worst-case security scenario is for Ukraine to join NATO, but it is almost as bad for NATO to join Ukraine as it is now.

Thus, Russia is and the West in a vicious circle in a constantly escalating conflict, where Russian aggression is met with political statements of support for Ukraine, and weapons supplies such as American Javelin rockets, which bite on – Russian – armor. It is a vicious circle that is also an armor spiral. For what is Russia’s next possible move if Putin does not get his security guarantees? Yes, it is the threat of deployment of short- and medium-range missiles that will again point to European capitals, which was banned under the INF agreement from 1987, but which is no longer part of any armaments agreements, after the US first left the agreement in 2019.

With the extensive cooperation with Ukraine, NATO has crossed a red line for Putin. Yes, more than that, they wave a red cloth in front of his eyes. And as is well known, that kind of thing rarely comes out of it. Neither for Ukraine nor for Russia. A Russian military adventure in today’s Ukraine will be a disaster for the country. But it will be an almost equal disaster for Putin. For a new military adventure is an adventure no Russians want. But Ukraine is a difficult nut for Russia, both in terms of security because of NATO, and emotionally.

For seen from Moscow Today’s Ukraine still has its three identities, which coincide with its historical epochs. First there was “Ukraine”, the border country – as it means – between the Catholic Poles in the west, and the Muslim Tatars in the south. It was here that the largely stateless Orthodox Cossacks lived, in the border country itself. Then there was “New Russia” in connection with Catherine the Great leaving the land east of the Dnieper River, and down to the Black Sea and Crimea, under her at the end of the 18th century. That was when Russia really became a European superpower. Then there was the administrative unit “Little Russia”, as Ukraine was known, until the Russian Empire collapsed in 1917.

«Borderland», and diminutives of Russia itself, such is the derogatory and historical understanding of Ukraine among most Russians. This has consequences for the current policy formulation. Not least because it is also a perspective that President Putin himself shares. Seen from Moscow, Ukraine is the poor cousin they have always controlled, not least because both peoples are predominantly Orthodox believers. But then suddenly the poor cousin starts playing with much more powerful and richer friends, and turns away from his more powerful relative, as Ukraine did after the revolution in 2014. For this difficult relationship is as much identity history as it is security policy.

The Soviet Union ceased to exist in Christmas 1991, Ukraine was not an independent state other than on paper. The national freedom came like Christmas Eve on the old woman. The nation-building process has been bumpy and difficult, with large parts of the country identifying with Central Europe, and large parts – historically – with Russia. No less than two revolutions were needed for the country to lean to the west. Putin has contributed greatly to Ukrainian nation-building with the annexation of Crimea and support for the pro-Russian uprising in the east. Ukrainians are now much more united than ever before in their exceptionally motley history. The Russian war threats are now further welding the Ukrainians together. In this sense, Putin has made a significant contribution to making “Little Russia” an adult.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.