KIEV, KOMPAS.com – The reason why Russia invaded Ukraine in Crimea in 2014 was the domestic crisis in the region.
The Crimean crisis then invites conflict between European Union countries and Russia.
The situation was made worse by the announcement by then Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, that his country was withdrawing from the European Union agreement in November 2013.
Also read: The History of the Russo-Ukrainian War, from the Era of Kievan Rus to the Annexation of Crimea
Crimea is a peninsula in the Black Sea region. During 1921-1945 Crimea belonged to the Soviet Union and was subsequently occupied by Ukraine.
However, Crimea’s strategic geopolitical location wants to be used by Russia to strengthen its influence in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
Quoted from BBC (11/3/2014), Crimea is the center of pro-Russian sentiment which at that time can turn into separatism.
Crimea is home to 2.3 million people, the majority of whom identify as ethnically Russian and speak Russian.
Russia has been dominant in Crimea since annexing the territory in 1783. When the peninsula was ceded by Moscow to Ukraine in 1954, many ethnic Russians there saw it as a misstep.
Also read: Why are Russia and Ukraine at war, including fighting over Crimea?
Meanwhile, Crimean Tatar Muslims, the largest minority there, claim to have been the majority population but were largely deported by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin in 1944.
The reason Stalin deported the Crimean Tatars was that they conspired with Nazi infiltrators in World War II.
The Tatars returned to Crimea after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, and since then relations have been strained with ethnic Russians over land ownership rights.
In the 2010 Ukrainian presidential election, the majority of Crimeans voted for the pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych, and when he stepped down many people there believed he was the victim of a coup.
Separatists in the Crimean parliament voted to join the Russian Federation on 6 March 2014 and hold a referendum on secession scheduled for 16 March 2014.
The move was praised by Russia, but widely condemned by Western countries.
Read also: Ukraine accuses Russia of destroying the indigenous languages of Crimea
Quoted from Encyclopaedia Britannicaas pro-Russian protesters became increasingly violent in Crimea, a group of gunmen in unidentified uniforms surrounded the airports in Simferopol and Sevastopol.
Masked gunmen occupied the Crimean parliament building and waved the Russian flag.
Pro-Russian lawmakers then dissolved the incumbent government and appointed Sergey Aksyonov, leader of the United Russia Party, as Prime Minister of Crimea.
Voice and data networks between Crimea and Ukraine were cut off. Russian authorities later admitted they had deployed troops to the region.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called it an effort to protect Russian citizens and military assets in Crimea.
Aksyonov then stated that it was he who led the Ukrainian police and military forces in Crimea, not the government in Kiev.
Russia’s annexation of Crimea was completed on March 21, 2014 following the ratification of the treaty by the Russian parliament. Putin signed a law formally integrating Crimea into Russian territory.
The Russian-Ukrainian war in Crimea killed 14,000 people, including 298 on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which was allegedly shot down by separatists on July 17, 2014.
However, Russia’s annexation of Crimea is not recognized by the United Nations, which calls it illegal.
Read also: Why Russia-Ukraine war and what is Putin after?
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