The world watched with shock as events in Eastern Europe evolved rapidly, leading to an invasion by the Russian military in Ukraine early on February 24. These articles from publications across the world bring some context to the conflict.

Why did Russia invade Ukraine?

On the morning of February 24, the world witnessed a brutal Russian invasion in Ukraine as the cities of Kharkiv and Dnipro were hit by missiles and Chuhuyiv was bombed. Many residents fled the capital Kyiv to seek shelter in western parts of the country.

In The New York Times, Austin Ramzy systematically breaks down the events leading up to the invasion – starting in 1991 with the disintegration of the Soviet Union, through 2008 when the anti-Russian North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military alliance indicated that it would be willing to induct Ukraine and Georgia as members. This angered Russian President Vladimir Putin. In 2008, it sent troops into Georgia, claiming that residents of two regions needed to be protected from their own government. In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea. Last autumn, it began amassing soldiers on Ukrainian border.

Read more here.

A quagmire for the US

In The Indian Express, a former Indian ambassador to Russia, DB Venkatesh Varma, explains that Russia feels the need to assert its power as it witnesses NATO inch closer to its borders. Russia is trying to thwart the expansion by the US and NATO, Varma says: “Which major power would accept unrelenting strategic encroachment in its immediate neighbourhood?”

He predicts that the US will be drawn into the European quagmire.

Read more here.

US President Joe Biden and Russia's President Vladimir Putin meet for the US-Russia summit in June, 2021. Photo Credit: Denis Balibouse / Reuters

India’s dilemma

As Russia wages war on Ukraine, India, which has so far enjoyed a comfortable relationship with both the West and Russia, faces a challenge. On February 24 Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin calling for an immediate cessation of the violence.

But with friends on both sides of the conflict, Delhi is in a tough spot, says C Raja Mohan in The Indian Express. India cannot continue to view Central Europe from Russia’s perspective and needs to make strategic decision soon.

Read his article here.

Gas concerns

Russia is a key supplier of oil and gas, providing nearly 40% of natural gas in Europe. If the Russian imports stop amidst the growing tension, European countries will only have gas to last another six weeks, The Guardian reports.

On the other end, expert argue that if Russia stops export of gas, its own economy will be badly hit. How the current strife may affect European economy?

More here.

Another economic slump?

The Financial Times warns that conflict could trigger the second global recession in three years. It isn’t just “the direct impacts of lower trade with Russia, economic sanctions levied on Moscow by the US and EU, and financial contagion” that are a concern. It’s also gas prices. “A sharp rise would add to inflation and hit consumers,” the paper predicts.

Read the article here.