Ukraine: United front against Russian aggression needed to combat autocracy

After weeks of rising tensions on Ukraine’s borders and clashes on the ground, on 21 February Russian President Vladimir Putin announced he was recognising the rebel-controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states and ordered troops into the country.

As many as 200,000 Russian soldiers had reportedly been deployed along Ukraine’s borders in recent days, making the threat of a Russian invasion dangerously imminent. World leaders threatened to impose tough sanctions on Moscow. But as diplomatic negotiations show no sign of overcoming an impasse the influx of Russian troops, under the pretext of ‘peacekeeping duties’, suggests a full-scale invasion is now inevitable.

Following Russia’s incursion and subsequent annexation of Crimea in 2014, there were growing concerns that President Vladimir Putin would use the escalating situation in eastern Ukraine as a ‘false flag’ attack to justify invading the two separatist territories. Parallels have also been drawn with the 2008 Russo-Georgia war, when Russia invaded Georgia after violence broke out between Georgian troops and South Ossetian separatists.

Published on 22-02-22. Read on here.

Kazakhstan: Unrest unseats oligarchy amid human rights concerns

Deadly unrest ripped through Kazakhstan in early January. Peaceful demonstrations against fuel price hikes galvanised outrage at three decades of leadership that has widened the chasm between the ruling elite and the general population.

As clashes between protesters and the authorities intensified, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev declared a state of emergency and took the extraordinary step of seizing control of the Security Council and removing its chair, his predecessor the former president. Nursultan Nazarbayev had ruled the country from 1990-2019 and his family and allies still control a large proportion of the oil-rich nation’s economy.

Tokayev also called on the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization to send in 2,000 soldiers to act as peacekeepers, bolstering Moscow’s military presence in a country where Russian influence is already significant. Nazarbayev later appeared on video denying claims that he had been forced to flee the country.

Published on 04-02-22. Read on here.