Crimean Annexation and War in Eastern Ukraine
According to Andyeducation, the one on the Crimean peninsula The dominant pro-Russian forces opposed the new Ukrainian central government with political and military support from Russia. On March 11, 2014, the Crimean Parliament declared the peninsula’s independence. In an unconstitutional referendum, according to the Crimean electoral authority, around 96.8% of the voters were in favor of joining Russia. On March 18, 2014, a treaty was signed on the annexation of Sevastopol and Crimea to Russia (approved by the Russian legislative bodies on March 20 and 21). Politically, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea became two administrative units of the Russian Federation. The Russian government responded to the traffic, water and electricity blockade imposed by Ukraine with extensive economic aid. The Ukrainian Central Government, the EU and the USA viewed the annexation to Russia as an annexation contrary to international law and imposed sanctions. Russia allowed the Kerch Strait to pass through the Kerch Strait until 2019 Build Crimean bridge for rail and car traffic to mainland Russia. Moscow also tightened controls on cargo ships entering the Sea of Azov.
Anti-government activities (including the occupation of state institutions) by pro-Russian activists subsequently destabilized the Donbass -Area in eastern Ukraine. The de-escalation measures agreed by the EU, the USA, Ukraine and Russia in the Geneva Declaration of April 17, 2014 (including non-violence, evacuation of occupied buildings, disarming irregular units) were not implemented. On May 2, 2014, over 40 people were killed in riots in Odessa. On May 11, 2014, the separatist forces in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions held a referendum on the state independence of these areas. In April 2014 the separatists proclaimed so-called »People’s Republics« there. The Ukrainian army’s efforts to regain control of the Donbass were prevented by massive Russian support for the separatists. To end the conflict the separatists and the Ukrainian central government reached an agreement with the participation of the OSCE and Russia in the so-called Minsk Protocol on September 5, 2014 (“Minsk I”) and in the Minsk Memorandum of September 19, 2014, among others. to an immediate ceasefire, the creation of a special regional status for the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the withdrawal of heavy weapons and an OSCE observer mission. In the period that followed, the clashes between the separatists and the Ukrainian army intensified.
On July 17, 2014, a Malaysian Airlines passenger plane crashed over eastern Ukraine (flight MH17). All 298 inmates were killed. The ongoing fighting in the region made it difficult to investigate and recover the victims. The request of the Ukrainian parliament to set up an international tribunal to clarify the shooting failed on July 29, 2015 in the UN Security Council due to a veto by Russia. An International Investigation Team (JIT) came to the conclusion by May 2018 that the shooting down with a BUK missile from the holdings of a Russian military unit had taken place in an area that was largely under the control of the separatists.
The military clashes between government troops and the Russian-backed separatist forces in Donbass continued. After renewed negotiations in Minsk, the heads of state and government of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine finally agreed on an agreement (“Minsk II”) on a ceasefire for eastern Ukraine and the implementation of the one in September Measures decided in Minsk in 2014. Immediately afterwards, the previously contested city of Debaltseve, located between Donetsk and Luhansk, became the focus of attention. After their capture by the separatists, the Ukrainian armed forces began to retreat on February 18, 2015. In the period that followed, the course of the front on the “contact line” did not change significantly.
In an effort to find a solution to the conflict, some of the heads of state or government, some of the foreign ministers of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany met several times (»Normandy format«). On August 31, 2015, the Ukrainian parliament passed the constitutional reform to decentralize the country in a first reading in order to give the eastern Ukrainian areas more self-determination. On October 25, 2015, local elections were held in Ukraine, with the exception of the separatist areas. The separatist leadership in Donetsk proclaimed a new state called “Little Russia” on July 18, 2017, which made peace efforts even more difficult. There were also internal power struggles within the “People’s Republics”.
The implementation of the Minsk Agreement did not progress; the discussions in Normandy format were interrupted for 15 months in 2017/18. The ceasefire, monitored by OSCE observers, has been continually broken by the separatists as well as the Ukrainian armed forces. International non-governmental organizations accused both sides of serious human rights violations. By 2016, the clashes had caused more than 3 million people to flee eastern Ukraine. A UN report dated April 24, 2018 assumed 3.4 million people in need of humanitarian protection. 2,500 civilians were among the 10,000 or so war dead.