The political actors in the Ukraine-Russia geopolitics are Ukraine and Russia. The dispute is between the two sides as Russia tries to fight for political power by occupying Ukraine. On the other hand, Ukraine is resisting the dominance of Russia and tries to liberate itself by fighting for sovereignty and retain its territories (PBS NewsHour 00:10:55-00:11:10). Ukraine does not want to be ruled by Russia; thus, through its effort to resist, the fight has been increased between the two, leading to massive loss of lives. Since the start of the conflict, ten thousand people have died, infrastructure has been destroyed while education put on hold due to massive destructions (PBS NewsHour). The Russians have already taken hold of a piece of Ukraine, the Crimean region (PBS NewsHour 00:09:40-00:09:44). Moreover, they are trying to take control of southeast Ukraine, but they have not been successful. However, some of the pro-Russians, the Donetsk people’s republic, are fighting on behalf of the Russians to make Donetsk independent of Ukraine (PBS NewsHour). This has caused the battle between the Donetsk people’s republic and the Ukrainian soldiers to continue for three years as both hold their frontlines.
The conflict between the two sides, Russia and Ukraine, is fostered by the existing complaints that have made them not come to terms. Among the existing conflicts is religion whereby the Kyiv patriarchate (Ukrainian orthodox church) and Russian orthodox church disagree on whom they support (PBS NewsHour 00:00:59- 00:01:33). This has led to fights between the two dominations as the Ukrainian orthodox church tries to preserve its religion and protect its people from the influence of the Russians (PBS NewsHour 00:01:38- 00:01:54; 00:02:06- 00:02:18). Another complaint that exists is Ukraine aligning with Europe and not Russia. This has led the supporters of Russia, the rebels in the east, to put up a fight with the Ukrainian army as they try to make their home, Donetsk, a part of Russia (PBS NewsHour). In addition, according to Russia PBS NewsHour, Russia has continuously supported the rebels by providing them with resources such as food. However, since Ukraine is not for the idea of letting Donetsk separate itself and join Russia, it has created a dispute that has claimed the lives of many people.
Among the actors outside the region that have influence is the west, specifically the U.S. The U.S. has been a significant influence on the geopolitical dispute as it backs Ukraine and provides the country the military aid it needs to fight against Russia. The U.S. influence is birthed from several factors, including Ukraine’s contribution to the coalition force that aided the U.S. in the Iraq war (PBS News hour 11:29). As a result, the country has been backing Ukraine in its geopolitical conflict with Russia. The U.S.s influence is visible in its consideration of withholding support from Ukraine during Trump’s presidential run.
The international relations theory that best describes the Ukraine-Crimea dispute is realism. The theory argues above all else that power is the key in understanding relations between different countries. This implies that nations seek and exercise their power to attain relative gains in power despite the international rules and institutions. In this case, Russia continues to seek and exercise its power by expanding its control in Ukraine. Through expansion, Russia will become a bigger superpower than the United States and European Union. On the other hand, Ukraine is in a bid to seek power by seeking support from the U.S. In this way, the country hopes to become a sovereign state.
“How Ukraine’s involvement in U.S. politics could affect its long war.” YouTube, uploaded by PBS Newshour, 2019, Web.
“Ukraine stuck in a tug-of-war between Russia and the West.” YouTube, uploaded by PBS Newshour, 2020, Web.
“Ukraine-Russia conflict doesn’t stop at the church door.” YouTube, uploaded by PBS Newshour, 2014, Web.
PBS Newshour. “Desire to Break Free from Ukraine Keeps Devastated Donetsk Fighting.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 2016, Web.
PBS Newshour. “Ukraine Fighting against Russia, Corruption Simultaneously.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 2016, Web.