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MOSCOW, Russia – In response to the ongoing conflict with Ukraine, Moscow has announced further security measures aimed at safeguarding civilian infrastructure from potential Ukrainian attacks. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made the announcement during a high-level meeting with defense ministry officials on Monday.

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has deep historical roots, characterized by territorial disputes and geopolitical tensions. Understanding the historical context is crucial to comprehend the reasons behind the prolonged hostility between the two countries.

History Behind the Russia-Ukraine Conflict:

Ukrainian T64 tanks move towards Bakhmut direction, in Donetsk Oblast region, on March 20, 2023. – The head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group said on March 20, 2023 that his forces control more than half of the embattled eastern Ukraine town of Bakhmut, the stage for the longest battle of Russia’s offensive. (Photo by Aris Messinis / AFP) (Photo by ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images)

The history of the conflict dates back centuries, but some key events have played a significant role in shaping the current state of affairs:

Catherine the Great’s Expansion: In the late 18th century, the Russian Empire, under Catherine the Great, expanded its territory into present-day Ukraine, leading to the incorporation of Ukrainian lands into the Russian Empire.

The Soviet Era: Ukraine became part of the Soviet Union in 1922. The Soviet policies, including forced collectivization and the Holodomor famine in the 1930s, resulted in millions of Ukrainian deaths and instilled a sense of historical animosity.

The Dissolution of the Soviet Union: With the Soviet Union’s dissolution in 1991, Ukraine declared its independence, marking the beginning of a complex relationship between the two newly formed states.

The Crimean Peninsula Issue: One of the earliest post-Soviet conflicts arose over the status of Crimea, which was transferred from Russia to Ukraine in 1954. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Crimea’s predominantly Russian-speaking population led to tensions over its identity and allegiance.

The Orange Revolution: In 2004, Ukraine experienced the Orange Revolution, a series of protests that brought a pro-Western government to power. This shift was perceived by Russia as a challenge to its influence in the region.

Russia’s Annexation of Crimea: In 2014, following political upheaval in Ukraine, Russia annexed Crimea after a controversial referendum. The move was widely condemned by the international community and further exacerbated tensions between the two nations.

The Donetsk and Luhansk Conflict: In eastern Ukraine, the Donetsk and Luhansk regions declared independence in 2014, leading to an armed conflict between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists.

Allegations of Russian Involvement: Ukraine and Western nations have accused Russia of providing military support to the separatists, escalating the conflict and prolonging the war.

Mistrust and Perception of Threats: Historical grievances, conflicting political ideologies, and perceptions of security threats contribute to the mutual mistrust between Russia and Ukraine.

NATO and EU Expansion: Russia opposes Ukraine’s potential membership in NATO and the European Union, fearing it would encroach upon its sphere of influence.

Geopolitical Power Struggle: The conflict also involves broader geopolitical dynamics, with Russia seeking to maintain its regional dominance and counter perceived Western encroachment.

Energy Disputes: Ukraine serves as a crucial transit route for Russian gas exports to Europe. Disputes over gas prices and energy dependence have further strained relations.

Language and Cultural Divides: Linguistic and cultural differences, particularly between Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine and Ukrainian-speaking western regions, contribute to internal divisions.

Cyber Warfare and Disinformation: Both countries have engaged in cyber warfare and information operations, adding a new dimension to the conflict.

Humanitarian Concerns: The prolonged conflict has led to a significant humanitarian crisis, with numerous casualties, displaced persons, and human rights violations.

As the conflict continues, it is essential for both nations to find a peaceful resolution that addresses the root causes and paves the way for a stable and cooperative future. However, until then, the security measures taken by Russia to protect its civilian infrastructure illustrate the ongoing challenges in finding a lasting solution to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.