MOORE — Over the last several months, the world has watched an unraveling situation between Ukraine, Russia and the peninsula of Crimea. The struggle reached a boiling point last month when protestors overthrew the corrupt leadership of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who was collaborating with Russian President Vladimir Putin and intending to force greater ties between the two countries — in direct opposition to the majority of Ukrainians, who prefer closer ties to the European Union. Because of this preference for westernized society and the value they place on their country’s membership in the EU, developing a close relationship was rightly viewed as dangerous for Ukraine, leading to indebtedness and dependence on Russia, especially for natural gas.
Putin doesn’t support the ideals of westernized culture, and his actions have shown that he is out to claim, destroy or bring down countries leaning or associated with the West. In December, in an attempt to strengthen ties to Ukraine through Yanukovych, Putin approved the Russian purchase of $15 billion in Ukrainian government bonds and just happened to lower the price of natural gas exports around the same time. Supposedly this was done with “no strings attached,” but considering Ukraine heavily relies on natural gas as its source of energy, this purchase would indicate Putin’s intention to keep the country at his and Russia’s mercy.
Not too long after protestors seized the Ukrainian capital of Kiev and Yanukovych was voted out of power by the parliament, Putin approved military action in the region. Seeing himself as the protector of the “Russian world” (otherwise known as any Russian speakers) and justifying his actions with that sentiment, Putin violated Ukrainian sovereignty and sent Russian troops to invade Crimea, a peninsula off the coast of Ukraine. This Russian military occupation undoubtedly strongly persuaded or coerced officials in the Crimean peninsula to call a referendum on Sunday—resulting in residents voting to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. With rumors of ballot fixing and Russia’s presence in the area, the resulting vote of 97 percent in favor is suspicious.