6 Questions to Understand Russian Attacks in Ukraine

The recent few hours of events on Ukrainian territory are the culmination of months of tension between the two countries.

The tension between Ukraine and Russia is not new. For about a decade, the two former Soviet nations have fought a war that was interrupted by diplomatic provocation. In 2014, Moscow invaded the Crimean Peninsula in southern Ukraine. The Crimean Peninsula will later belong to Russia because the result of the referendum has not been recognized internationally.

A few weeks later, the War in Donbas began, and pro-Russian separatists clashed with Ukrainian troops against the backdrop of the illusion of leaving Kiev and joining Russia. Incidents have accelerated in recent weeks after years of stagnation in the region where trench warfare began.

• Why did Russia attack Ukraine?

At the end of 2021, Vladimir Putin decided to put pressure on Ukrainian neighbors by moving hundreds of thousands of soldiers to the border. According to Moscow, these operations are necessary to ensure Russia’s security, and Vladimir Putin believed that Ukraine had the purpose of joining NATO.

On Monday, when tensions increased, Vladimir Putin announced in a television speech that he planted the first Bandilla and described Ukraine as a “doll” country, supporting the independence of the two Donetsk and Lugansk republics. ..

To everyone’s surprise, the Russian president, despite the announcement of sanctions by the West in the meantime, from Wednesday to Thursday night in a “military operation” to protect these separatist areas in eastern Ukraine. Announced the start.

“I made a military operation decision,” he said in a surprise statement on television shortly before 4 am (French time).

• What military forces are involved?

It is still difficult to estimate the number of soldiers involved in the operation. But in support of Russia, the second-largest armed force in the world, the balance of power already looks more than imbalanced.

First of all, for geographical reasons. Russia can surround Ukraine’s enemies not only by its few kilometers of borders, but also by the borders of its Belarusian allies. In Transnistria in the west, Russian troops have deployed troops in a small Russian-speaking exclamation in Moldova. Its independence is only recognized by the Kremlin. In the South Black Sea, Russians have an advantage over water.

As for the military, nearly 190,000 men on the Russian side will have gathered at the Ukrainian border and will be ready to intervene from Russia, Belarus, and Crimea.

On the Ukrainian side, the number of troops is quite large, but modern equipment is much less. The armament of President Zelensky’s men dates back partially from the end of the Cold War, when the country was still part of the Soviet Union.

Further west, the United States also has troops present in NATO allies, including 9,200 in Poland, 34,300 in Germany, and 1,900 in Romania.

The army involved in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
The army involved in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. © BFMTV

• What is France’s position?

After acting as an intermediary with Vladimir Putin for the past few weeks and trying to avoid the spread of the crisis, Emmanuel Macron is now forced to abandon his diplomatic line.

In a speech to the country this Thursday, the head of state promised that France and its allies would decide sanctions “without weakness” against Russia “at the military and economic levels as much as the field of energy”. ..

“The events of this night are a turning point in the history of Europe and our country. They will have lasting and serious consequences for our lives” and “to the geopolitics of our continent”, I warned the President of France by gravity. Emergency Defense Council Meeting. “We will not hesitate to support Ukraine and take all responsibility to protect the sovereignty and security of our European allies,” he added.

Elysee pointed out that the “military” measures mentioned by the Head of State meant sending additional troops to Romania with the support of NATO and would be the subject of discussions at the NATO summit on Friday.

• What can Westerners do?

If international criticism is unanimous in the face of Russia’s attack, Western nations remain relatively limited in maneuverability.

“Our maneuverability is very narrow. I’m just outraged so far because Joe Biden said it was out of the question to send American troops to Ukraine,” said teacher BFMTV Patrick. -Sciences Po, described in Martin Grunier’s set, a specialist in European and international affairs.

Poland, which is a member of NATO and shares the eastern border with Ukraine, is seeking the entry into force of Article 4 of the NATO Treaty, even if it seems that military solutions are actually excluded. Was announced. Of a threat to the safety of one of the parties.

Regarding economic sanctions, the G7, including the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as France, will meet this Thursday, as will the European Council, which brings together the various leaders of the European Union. ..

In particular, Russia’s exclusion from the Swift financial system, which has been identified as a “nuclear weapon”, is shown in the table because it affects the Russian economy.

• What is the impact in France?

Inevitably, tensions between the two countries will affect the daily lives of the French. With the invasion of Ukraine over $ 100 this Thursday, Russia is one of the world’s leading producers of gas and oil, panicking investors about potential energy supply disruptions.

“Moscow’s intention to launch a military attack on its neighbors has been announced in recent weeks,” Ricardo said. “The supply shortage has widened, helping oil prices rise.” “Once a full military assault has begun and we see the most feared scenarios, oil supply shortages can be exacerbated and further price increases are expected,” he continued.

Analysts and brokers told AFP again this Thursday that wheat prices reached record levels in the European market Thursday morning and reached an unprecedented peak of 344 euros per ton at Euronext. rice field.

In addition, many French companies such as Total, Auchan, Renault and Decathlon have been established in Russia, and there is a risk that the Ukrainian crisis will threaten the business.

The Russian invasion also had a direct impact on the European stock market, which collapsed on Thursday. At noon, the Frankfurt Stock Exchange fell 5.17%, Milan 5.10% and Paris 5.02%. Eurostocks 50, the European benchmark index fell 5.20%.

• What are the possible sanctions?

The European Union condemned Russia’s “unbearable” actions on Thursday and warned that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s administration must face “unprecedented isolation.”

These will be added to those taken at the beginning of the week. Several first sanctions were actually adopted by the EU after Moscow approved the substance of pro-Russian separatists in Lugansk and Donetsk, including individual sanctions. Authorized persons are deprived of access to EU territory, their property is frozen there, and it is forbidden to fund them. 351 members of Duma, Russia, who voted on February 15, aim to appeal to President Vladimir Putin in support of the approval of the two self-proclaimed “republics.”

The EU has also introduced “limits” on the funding capacity of the Russian state, its government and central banks. By restricting “access to European financial and capital markets”, this measure would be detrimental to refinancing Russia’s debt.