In the Post-Cold War period, Russia, who entered rapprochement, has considered the expansion of North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) expansion towards the east as a threat; therefore, has started to give reactions. The strongest reaction was in the Russia-Georgia War in 2008. In that period, by recognizing the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Russia tried to punish Georgia due to inclusion to the West.
The most significant point affecting this policy is ‘Near abroad policy.’ This doctrine is based on Moscow’s aim to continue its influence in the Post-Soviet region and preventing rapprochement of the countries of the Soviet geography towards the West. However, despite of this doctrine, Ukraine and NATO has entered rapprochement period. However, Moscow administration has given a strong reaction to this policy and in 2014 she has annexed Crimea violating international law. Later, Kremlin administration has started to support Russian-sided separationist in the Donbass region. In 2022, with the escalation of tension in the region, Russia has intensified military activities and as a result the number of military increased to 200 thousand.
After those developments, Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed in his speech on February 21, 2022 that they recognized so-called independency of Donetsk and Luhanks regions. The significant point of Putin’s declaration is that Russia’s security-based approach.
Besides the approach of security perturbation, Moscow administration also signed cooperation agreements on securitizing Luhansk and Donetsh regions. In that sense, it can be said that Ukraine’s most significant reaction is that dominating the two regions again. However, Russia has sent military powers again to Donbass region in terms of the signed treaties while recognizing those structures.
Moreover, the night of February 23, 2022 to 24, Russian Army has started military operation against Ukraine. While it was expected that Ukraine to start a military operation, the first step taken by the Russian, caused discussions on Russia’s ultimate goal. So, what is Russia’s aim?
Besides, Putin stated in his speech that Ukraine could acquire nuclear weapons. Looking at Russia’s attacks on Ukraine, it can be understood that it is trying to seize the nuclear power plants.
Therefore, Russia is trying to eliminate the possibility of seeing a country with nuclear weapons by eliminating the possibility of Ukraine obtaining nuclear weapons. It is possible to say that the President of Russia, who gave a message over the nuclear weapons in his hand in various speeches addressed to the Western World, thought that the nuclear weapons that Ukraine would have would limit Moscow’s maneuvering space.
In addition, Putin stated that Ukraine is under the control of foreign powers and that NATO is holding various military exercises with Ukraine. With this step, Russia wanted to convey the message that there is no gain or guarantee for Ukraine, which is not supported by the West. Discursive support statements, on the other hand, remained far from deterrent. Therefore, Moscow is trying to seize the psychological superiority against both Kiev and the Western World.
Finally, it can be said that Putin is trying to give a message to the domestic public. Because, after the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk states were recognized, it was predicted that the Western World would impose various sanctions. In this context, for example, Germany’s suspension of the Nord Stream 2 Project will negatively affect the Russian economy. Since the Russian Army’s operation in Ukraine will strengthen the idea of ”war” in the Russian public, it will ensure the continuation of the public support behind Putin, despite the economic sanctions and the problems that will follow.
After all, it would not be correct to talk about an occupation situation in Ukraine, at least in the current conjuncture. Because, by carrying out point operations, Russia is trying to break the capacity of the Ukrainian Army to resist; therefore, to operate against separatist structures. When the official data and recent developments are examined, it can be said that the Ukrainian Army does not have the capacity to counter the Russian Army. However, Moscow wants not to leave anything to chance and to see a weak Ukrainian state on its western borders, even if it gets closer to NATO. In this way, it will be able to ensure the security of Donetsk and Luhansk. However, it is obvious that the Kremlin’s attacks on Ukraine are a violation of the United Nations (UN) Charter and therefore international law. Because Russia violates Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. The UN, on the other hand, is giving an unsuccessful test once again.