As the rest of the world sleep peacefully in their quarters, the people of Kyiv, Ukraine's capital, have all their senses working; many families lie awake in fear that at any moment, a siren would come off signalling yet another tension.
The most devastating blow of Russian President Vladimir Putin's attacks were felt by mere spectators who had nothing to do with any state conflict—a student who was finding the safest place of refuge, a newly-wedded couple who had no choice but to grab rifles on their honeymoon, 14 innocent children, almost 5,000 civilians and soldiers , and even the actress who felt sorry she wasn't Putin's mother.
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Both Ukraine and Russia were members of the defunct Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The union, which consisted of 15 socialist republics, were all under the power of Soviet Russia. When the Soviet Union disbanded in the early 90's, Russia's control over other nations, including Ukraine, was severed.
Russia and Ukraine have a long history which colours and defines today's conflict. For people to picture the intensity of their relationship, all they need to do is make the clock reverse: both Russia and Ukraine have common ancestry, in the 9th Century, these nations belong in one Slavic and Baltic federation called Kievan Rus'. In the 10th and 11th century, Kievan Rus' was one of the most powerful federations across the globe until they were occupied by the Mongols in the 13th century. When the Soviet Union was established, Ukraine and Russia were already separate countries.
In 1991, after the USSR was abolished, Ukraine was left with one third of the Soviet nuclear arsenal, this made it the third largest Nuclear power next to United States and Russia.
Through a series of diplomatic agreements, the United States and Russia denuclearised Ukraine; Kyiv eventually gave up hundreds of its nuclear weapons back to Russia in exchange of security assurances.
So what EXACTLY is Russia's 'beef' with Ukraine?
Post-Soviet Europe influences today's conflict. Putin has long made it evident that he wants to reclaim the empire and Ukraine is essential to this vision. The Russian President has stated that Ukrainians and Russians were "a single whole".
When the Soviet Union was disbanded, Russia's backup against North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), came along with it. NATO, which now consists 30 of countries including Italy, Spain, France, Portugal, Germany, Denmark, and more, was the country's enemy during the Cold War.
In the past two decades, several Soviet allies have started joining the NATO and Ukraine seeks to come with them. This move on Ukraine's part did not sit well with Putin. As an aggressive approach, the President sent in 150,000 troops, military gears, and medical units near Ukrainian border.
Russia fears that Ukraine's eagerness to join the NATO would mean that the federation is slowly stepping in its borders. This is the reason why Russia threatens Ukraine and demands the NATO to honour its past agreement [that it will not have an eastward expansion].
In the map below, people can vividly see the remaining divide between NATO forces and Russia: