Russia Launches Another Missile Attack On Ukraine
Russia has launched yet another major missile attack on Ukraine for the second time in a week. This time, the attack targeted Mariupol, a city of nearly 500,000 people in the southeastern part of Ukraine. The influx of refugees that have flooded into Europe since mid-2015 is not the only reason for this renewed aggression by Russia.
Russia’s Military Response
Since the beginning of the crisis in eastern Ukraine, Russia has been accused of engaging in multiple military maneuvers near the border with Ukraine. On July 17, 2016, Russian forces launched a missile attack on Ukrainian territory. This attack came just days after another missile attack on Ukrainian soil that was later blamed on Russia. In response to these attacks, the United States and NATO condemned Russia for supporting separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.
Since the start of the crisis, Russia has heavily criticized Western countries for supporting Ukraine. Moscow has claimed that Kyiv cannot handle the situation independently and that outsiders are trying to destabilize the country. Russian President Vladimir Putin has also said that he does not believe a military solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine exists.
Evidence of Russian Involvement
The Russian government has been consistently denying any involvement in the current conflict in Ukraine, despite mounting evidence to the contrary. Recently, however, Russia has launched missile attacks on Ukrainian territory, seemingly trying to bolster pro-Russian separatists.
This latest attack occurred on July 17, when a Russian missile allegedly destroyed a Ukrainian military installation near Mariupol. This comes just days after another Russian missile attack on another Ukrainian military installation near Donetsk. International organizations have widely condemned both attacks as acts of aggression.
In response to these attacks, the United States and European Union have imposed sanctions against members of the Russian government and civilian sectors. This punitive measure is likely only to reinforce Russia’s resolve to continue its involvement in the conflict.
What is Happening In Eastern Ukraine?
Since it annexed Crimea in March 2014, Ukraine has been embroiled in a civil war. Russian forces have helped the rebel militias gain control of large parts of the eastern region. In the past few weeks, fighting has intensified as Ukrainian troops try to take back more territory.
On Thursday, July 17, 2017, Russia launched another missile attack on Ukraine. This time they targeted a military airbase in Kharkiv. The attack killed at least five people and injured dozens more. It was the fourth time this year that Russia attacked Ukraine with missiles.
Russia’s History of Aggression
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia has been struggling with economic and political instability. This has led to a rise in nationalism and isolationism within the country. In addition, Russia has been increasingly aggressive towards its neighbors, including Ukraine.
This aggression began with the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Since then, Russia has destabilized eastern Ukraine by supporting separatist rebels and sending troops and weapons. Russian forces have also targeted civilian infrastructure and hospitals to create fear among Ukrainians.
This aggressive behavior has cost Russia dearly. Ukraine’s economy is much more robust than before the crisis, and other countries have increased their support for Ukraine in response to Moscow’s aggressions.
America’s Possible Responses
The United States has several possible responses to Russia’s latest missile attack on Ukraine. Washington could impose additional sanctions on Moscow, send more military support to the government in Kyiv, or increase its presence in NATO. However, any such response will be largely symbolic, given the limited capabilities of America’s military and its waning global influence.
Washington could also negotiate a settlement between the warring parties in Ukraine, which is likely to be difficult given Russia’s military strength and support from separatist groups in eastern Ukraine. In the long term, America may need to find a way to cooperate with Russia if it wants to solve global problems like climate change or nuclear proliferation.
One Final Thought
Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said that the latest Russian missile attack on his country is a “direct invasion” and that the European Union must do more to help Ukraine defend itself.
Yatsenyuk also accused Russia of violating Ukraine’s sovereignty, saying that Moscow has been arming the separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine since early 2014.
This latest Russian attack comes after weeks of escalating tensions between the two countries. In response to earlier Ukrainian strikes against pro-Russian separatists, Moscow announced a ban on all flights to and from Ukraine. This move has severely limited access to relief supplies and international staff working in eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine is now looking for support from the European Union, which has so far been reluctant to get involved in the conflict. The bloc has condemned Russia’s annexation of Crimea but has not taken any direct action against Moscow.