Russia has reached the point of no return in its conflict with Ukraine

Russia has reached the point of no return in its conflict with Ukraine

Edmonton (Canada: The international crisis created by Russia over NATO's eastern expansion has brought Europe to its most critical moment since the dissolution of the state of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.

On the surface, the crisis appears to be artificial in that there is no obvious NATO threat to the Russians. But why have Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov chosen this moment to send an ultimatum to NATO and its most powerful member, the United States?

There are several, inter-related reasons.

First, the Ukrainian presidency of Volodymyr Zelensky, elected in the spring of 2019, has been a big disappointment to the Russians.

Moscow was happy about the departure of Petro Poroshenko, the president installed after civilian uprisings in 2013-14.

Poroshenko had campaigned in the election on a platform of nation, church and the army, a patriotic stance that was overtly hostile to Russia.

Poroshenko, in Putin's view, had ignored Ukraine's commitment to the 2015 Minsk Accords that ended heavy fighting in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

In particular, he had failed to offer autonomy to the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, currently divided between Ukrainian control in the west and separatist regimes in the east.

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