Dear Singaporeans and international readers,
there has been much conflict going on lately in the world, and I feel that it is necessary for all of us to understand what major events are happening in 2014. It is simply naive to think that life is currently all beautiful and perfect, and world peace is happening (because it’s not).
In fact, so much news and articles are flooding your social media feed to the point where almost no one knows what exactly is going on in Ukraine-Russia. Maybe If I’d talked to 10 people in my university, only 2 of them can say that they know Crimea just got captured, and that’s about it.
I believe it is important to keep updated with current events which are happening around the world. It might not be so important especially if you’re below 21, however, I am sure this will improve your conversational content in a group setting.
I will give a short version summary, and a detailed summary. The short one will be good enough to let you know briefly what is going on with just a minute of reading. If you are interested in global political issues, read on the detailed one.
What exactly is going on between Ukraine and Russia?
An ‘Orange’ revolution happened in 2004, where ukraine’s people were unhappy with corruption, lousy management, poverty in Ukraine.
Because of this, President Viktor of Ukraine wanted to get closer to the European Union (EU) so that they can help Ukraine have a better economy. In 2014, he decided, nope, he will ditch the EU deal and seek Russia’s help instead.
Things escalated quickly, people were unhappy with this Russian deal, and a mass revolution was held in Kiev, capital of Ukraine, to throw out the president.
A new “temporary” president Oleksandr, came, with US and EU approving this. Russia does not like this idea of a “temporary president”. Beginning February 26, Russian forces went into Crimea (a state of Ukraine) and overtook the parliament building. The people of Crimea also voted to officially join Russia, and thus the Crimean government signed a treaty with government to signify that it has officially joined them.
Following this crisis, “rebels” or “separatists” in Ukraine also wanted to join Russia, and they started to take over key government buildings in Ukraine, and demanded independence from Ukraine.
Simply put, just imagine what it would be like if rebels in Singapore started to “takeover” places like, Jurong, and demanded that the area shall be independent of Singapore’s government, and it will either become a nation of its own or join another country.
(Of course, the above-mentioned paragraph is just a rough analogy of the situation. Don’t take it in literal and academic terms!)
For past decades, Ukraine’s local population was already unhappy with the government because of corruption issues, lack of management, a poor economy. That’s where the major revolution a.k.a. Orange Revolution of 2004 began in Ukraine. Now because of this, the president Viktor of Ukraine decided that it should be best for Ukraine to join hands with the European Union (EU) so that Ukraine can have a brighter future! Afterall, we are aware that the EU is made up of key power players like Germany and France and many more.
What exactly did the agreement entail? One of the key requisites is that Ukraine must sever all economic ties with Russia, and join the European Union’s side. President Viktor ultimately decided that it is not worth it to cut ties with Russia, and, in the end, he rejected the EU deal and signed a deal with Russia instead. This deal would mean Russia will fund Ukraine with $15,000,000,000 , and supply gas to Ukraine at much cheaper prices.
The people of Ukraine went into an immediate outburst of anger, protests broke out in the capital Kiev. (This refers to the Ukraine protests you saw on TV or the news, during February 2014)
As a result, President Viktor fled the country. Ukraine established a temporary government, with a temporary president Oleksandr. Russia condemns this temporary government and accused the US and EU of funding this “illegal” government. Ukraine also went ahead and signed the original EU deal, seeking economic help from EU so that the country can have a better future.
Russia is not happy with this and started to amass troops at the borders of Ukraine. On February 26, Russian forces started to takeover Crimea (a state of Ukraine). Many people have speculated that Russia chose to takeover Crimea because it’s location is very important for its military warfare and strategy; Crimea is the perfect place for Russia’s Navy presence in the Black Sea.
There’s more! Once Russian troops have taken over the Crimean parliament building, the Crimea parliament voted to reform the government, sack their prime minister, and ask its people to vote on whether they should officially join Russia. The results of the poll was over 90%, and as a result, Crimea signed a treaty to officially join Russia. Currently, the US, EU and United Nations do not recognize Crimea as a part of Russia. Ukraine classifies Crimea as a “territory under the temporary control of Russia”, in hopes that one day they can take back Crimea.
Another fact to take note is that in 1987, Ukraine signed a deal with Russia with the condition that if Ukraine gave up all its nuclear weapons and research, Russia will promise never to invade Ukraine and take away their land. In 2014, Russia took over Crimea without any regards to the 1987 treaty at all.
Our Minister of Defence Ng Eng Hen has emphasized that this is the reason why Singapore cannot heavily rely on “treaties” and “promises”, because ultimately, promises can still be broken.
A very quick and brief summary of the MH17 crisis:
Basically, MH17, who was presumably shot down by Ukraine rebels, crash landed in a rebel-controlled territory. It is a potential warzone where bullets and shells can come down at anytime, which makes it very hard for investigators to do their job and find out the main cause of the MH17 crash. It was also extremely hard to recover all the dead bodies due to it being a warzone area.
Jackie Loh Writer The Influencer Media