All speculations that Russia won’t invade in Ukraine were proved wrong on Saturday whenVladimir Putin demanded and won his parliament's approval to attack, where the new government warned of war, putting troops on high alert and appealed to NATO for help, Reuters reported.
“Putin's open assertion of the right to send troops to a country of 46 million people on the ramparts of central Europe creates the biggest confrontation between Russia and the West since the Cold War.”
After Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk took control of the government from pro-Moscow Viktor Yanukovich last week, pro-Russia protesters clashed with opponents, spreading unrest throughout Ukraine.
In order to deal with the “extraordinary situation” in the country that “threatens the lives of citizens of the Russia’s compatriots", Putin asked his parliament to approve the use of force in Ukraine.
“This is probably the most dangerous situation in Europe since the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968," said a Western official on condition of anonymity.
Short version: after the removal of his ally Yanukovych, Putin wants to take action against the present Ukrainian government – which obviously – is strongly anti-Russia.
In November last year, the former Ukrainian President Yanukovych accepted a $15 billion loan from Russia while the opposition wanted to trade and establish closer ties with the European Union (EU).
The decision infuriated all those who wanted to get rid of Russia’s political and financial influence for good. Though initially peaceful, the protests and demonstrations that followed ultimately led to death and destruction this month.
February 18 was recorded the bloodiest day in its post-Soviet history just when it looked like the unrest between the two conflicting parties.
The “Gas” Connection:
One of the biggest reasons why Kiev cannot afford a war with its seemingly and comparatively powerful neighbor is gas.
Ukraine is the largest importer of Russian gas.
“With the growing Crimea issue — a pro-Russia Ukrainian region — gas appears as a threat in the resolution of the crisis. Ukraine highly depends on Russian energy. Rising gas prices decided by Moscow could lead, at any moment, to the country’s collapse,” the Huffington Post reported.
“As of today, Ukraine owes about $4 billion to Gazprom. The country also needs to find $35 billion to pay its debts over the next two years. These are reasons to fear a third ‘gas war’.”
There are people who want Russia to invade:
As Max Fisher of The Washington Post explained earlier this month:
“Ukraine is divided. Deeply, deeply divided by language, by history and by politics.”
While the pro-European Union and pro-democracy protesters were successful in removing Yanukovych, there is a large amount of people in Ukraine who prefer relations with Russia.
“Half of Ukrainians say they want the European Union deal. But another third say they'd prefer integrating with the Russian-dominated Eurasian Customs Union. So it's more split than you'd think,” Fisher stated.