Recently we’ve seen Russia’s role in Syria pick up from directly arming the Syrian Government to full air-support and limited troops on the ground. The reason behind this is stated anti-terror operations in the region. Their airstrikes have currently targeted ISIS strongholds near Palmyra and other key regions within Syria. The US State Department has claimed Russia is only bombing about 25% of targets of what they say they have. On top of this, the US State Department has claimed Russian airstrikes have carried out attacks on moderate rebel positions. The Russian Defense Ministry has labeled these anti-terror activities, not targeting just one rebel/terrorist faction inside of Syria. Currently Russian troops are stationed on the ground in Syria, but little evidence has been given that shows them in combat roles. From what the Russian Defense Ministry has claimed that Russian troops have not engaged in combat, but are actively involved in the training of Syrian combat troops, much like US soldiers inside of Iraq.
There’s also a great deal of misinformation surrounding the airstrikes. Western Media claims Russia has hit civilians, citing a twitter post as a source…. Of course, twitter is always an accurate source. Russia also claiming they’ve only hit ISIS targets, while it’s widely known moderate rebels are targets of the Syrian Government and Russia. Overall, both sides have been responsible for either putting commas in the wrong places, or claiming false information.
EuroMaidan was the revolution which took place in Ukraine, and started on November 21st, 2013. This was caused when Yanukovich declining to sign the EU Association treaty. Of course, Yanukovich didn’t sign a border alliance with Belarus and Russia. Ukraine has always been closer to Russia, rather than the EU. This revolution ended with Yanukovich being ousted by the people of Ukraine, and replaced with a more temporary pro-Western government, which has opted to become closer to the EU. The temporary government was replaced with Petro Poroshenko, who assumed office on June 7th, 2014.
Currency: Ukrainian Hryvnia (UAH) before EuroMaiden was 8UAH to 1USD. Yanukovich got quite pressured from letting it go from 5UAH to 8UAH. Many claimed he was hurting the economy by getting closer with the Russian Federation. After Yanukovich was ousted, and fled to Russia. The UAH fell to 41UAH to 1USD. Since then it’s stabilized to 25UAH to 1USD.
Unemployment, and corruption within employment: Since the value of the UAH plummeted, it’s resulted in companies laying off employees and overall unemployment of Ukraine going up. Some of this due to the result of refugees coming from the war torn regions of the country. During 2013 unemployment in Ukraine has been at it’s lowest. 7.4%-7.5% of the population was unemployed. Since the new Government has been in power it’s gone from 8.6% to 11.3%, and now back down to 10.2% as of January 2015. The switch caused a big dip in unemployment, which now has people looking for jobs constantly. This now gives companies the excuse to hire people for much lower amounts of money, say… 5,000UAH a month. That’s vastly below minimum wage, and it’s not even being enforced.
The rise of the ultra-nationalist party (Правый Сектор): They also were the ones allegedly responsible for the acts of senseless violence in Maiden protest. Currently you may read nationalist military groups are one of the big proponents of the war against the DPR and LPR. These nationalist would be the American equivalent of skinheads, and tend to be very anti-Russians. Many even calling for the removal of all Russians from Ukraine. Just recently these nationalist got into brawls against riot forces in Kiev over the constitutional amendment. They were also a big force against the Minsk treaties, which brought some silence on the Ukrainian front before both sides started to shell one another. They’re responsible for the volunteer battalions, which make up a good majority of the fighting force for the Ukrainian army.
Police: The police situation in Ukraine has somewhat improved from corrupt police to untrained recruits. While these men are untrained, they’ve shown heir passion for their work. Giving some hope that the police situation could get better.
Recently it has come out that Russia has sent military instructors and hardware to the Syrian Government, and unconfirmed reports on combat troops adding Syrian forces in combat operations. The west claims this is an act of aggression or worrying. Let’s look at some facts?
1. Syria has always had close ties with Russia and the former Soviet Union.
2. It’s had it’s naval base in Tarsus since 1971, and doesn’t want to lose it’s easy access to the Mediterranean.
3. ISIS/ISIL has declared war on Russia, and militants in Chechnya have sworn allegiance to ISIS.
4. Russia has had a long time problem with Islamic Extremism in Chechnya.
5. Russia has stated it’s given hardware and instructors to Syria.
America has even suggested Russia join the other thirty seven country coalition in the fight against ISIS/ISIL. America doesn’t want Russia supporting an regime which uses chemical weapons and has a dictator. Sadly, when it comes to picking your allies in Syria it has become a lesser of the two evil situation, and it’s implied by the Russians that Assad held a much more stable Syria together. He protected religious minorities, such as the christians. So. To the mind of the Russian government, Assad is a lot better choice than Al Nusra or ISIS.
Russia has voiced its support for the Syrian Government since the early days of the conflict. Russia was also the one to work out the chemical weapons deal in Syria, after it was alleged Assad used chemical weapons on his own people to fake an attack from the Syrians. Assad and Russia claim it was a rebel faction using the chemical weapons.
Ukraine broke away from Russia in 1991, and emerged as a formidable European power. It has a huge economy, the second biggest country in Europe. Though Ukraine has always had a history on who to align itself with militarily and economically. The Western half of Ukraine generally aligns itself with the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Security Organization (NATO), while the Eastern Ukrainians generally align themselves with the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Of course, the world has watched the Ukrainian crisis with great interest as much of Ukraine tried to align itself with Europe. This was quickly halted by pro-Russian sentiment in the East of the country. This was started by groups of pro-Russians taking Ukrainian Government buildings, and claiming to be independent states. Ultimately just two of these survived, which are now the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR). DPR being the most known of these two was declared on April 7th, 2014, while LPR declaration was on April 27th, 2014.