According to Kimberly Amadeo, the president of WorldMoneyWatch.com, Putin’s attack responded to the February 23 overthrow of his ally Viktor Yanukovych. The pro-West faction of Ukraine’s Parliament took over the government. The crisis occurred because Yanukovych mismanaged the budget. He forced Ukraine to ask for financial help. It appealed to the EU, then Russia. The political unrest occurred at this point. Those who wanted to be closer to the EU objected when that solution was abandoned. Russia’s military strike supported Yanukovych’s return to Kiev and closer ties to Russia.
In April 2014, Russia supported local rebels who took over city halls and police stations throughout eastern Ukraine. That area is home to ethnic Russians who don’t want to be part of the EU. Those Russians were moved there 50 years ago by Joseph Stalin, who intended to strengthen the Soviet Republic’s hold on the area.
Earlier that month, NATO revealed satellite photos showing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine’s eastern border. An EU emergency meeting added further sanctions on Russia’s oil and banking sectors. That occurred shortly after Russia sent a convoy of trucks over the border. They were bearing aid to Ukraine’s eastern cities, held by pro-Russian rebels. Several of those trucks entered without approval.
Ukraine had also destroyed a convoy of Russian military vehicles. They were bringing arms to the rebels. It was the first time that Ukraine attacked Russian forces directly.
A few days later, Ukraine reported that several military vehicles were near the Russian border at the Crimean port of Azov. It claimed that Russia was creating a second front for the rebels. Russia also wanted land access through southern Ukraine. It wanted a shorter route to Crimea.
In July, Russia built up its military force on the border. There were 19,000 to 21,000 troops, 14 advanced surface-to-air missile units, and 30 artillery batteries. It was a battle-ready force that could launch an attack into eastern Ukraine at a moment’s notice. Russia had already launched rockets across the border in support of Ukrainian rebels.
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