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Topic – 2014 Annexation of Crimea

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2014 Annexation of Crimea

Overview

An annexation is when one country takes a part of another country or takes the whole country and takes it over. In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea. Crimea is a part of a country in Europe called Ukraine. Ukraine is one of Russia’s neighbours.

Independence for Ukraine

Russia and Ukraine have a very long and complicated history. Ukraine used to be part of the Soviet Union. When the Soviet Union ended, Ukraine became its own country. The government in Ukraine let people vote on whether or not they wanted to be a country on their own. When a country lets its people vote on one important thing, it is called a referendum. Most people in Ukraine voted to be their own country. Ukraine also became a democracy. This means people vote for who their leaders are. In 2010, Viktor Yanukovych was elected President of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Revolution

Even though the Cold War ended, the United States and Russia still did not trust each other. Viktor Yanukovych wanted Ukraine to stay close with Russia. Many of his opponents wanted Ukraine to become closer to Western countries like the United States and the United Kingdom. Many people in Ukraine even thought their country should join NATO. In 2013, Yanukovych refused to sign an agreement with the European Union. He wanted his country to stay close to Russia. The Ukrainian Revolution began.

People started to protest on the streets of Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital city. The government did not like this at all. Ukrainian police beat and arrested protesters. About 80 protesters died in 2014. Yanukovych fled Kyiv and moved to Russia. The Ukrainian parliament voted him out of office. He was no longer the President of Ukraine. Most of the rest of the world recognized the new government in Ukraine. However, the Russian government said it was illegal and that Yanukovych was still the proper leader of Ukraine.

Annexation of Crimea

Crimea is a part of Ukraine in the south. In some ways, Crimea is different than other parts of Ukraine. For example, many people in Crimea speak Russian as their first language. Crimea is also a part of Ukraine which wanted to stay close to Russia.

After the new government was elected, many people in Crimea started to protest. They were upset with the new government. Many said they wanted to be part of Russia. Shortly after, Russian troops invaded Crimea and took control of important government buildings. The government of Crimea had a referendum. They wanted to know if they should become part of Russia or stay with Ukraine. Most people voted to become part of Russia. However, many people did not believe this referendum was illegal.

Response from United Nations

In 2014 the United Nations voted that the annexation was illegal. Most of the countries in the United Nations said the annexation was illegal. However, many countries also abstained. When a country abstains, that means they refuse to vote for or against something. A few countries also voted that the annexation was legal. Many of the countries that support the annexation are close to Russia. Most countries in the world still believe that Crimea belongs to Ukraine.

Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, called the annexation an ‘invasion.’ Canada stopped all military exercises with Russia. They also ordered all Russian military in Canada to leave. Since the annexation, Ukraine is trying to join the European Union and NATO.

Sanctions

When one country wants to punish another country, they will use sanctions. Sanctions are when a country limits the money that people or a company have. For example, Canada sanctioned Russia in 2014. The United States and the European Union also sanctioned Russia. This means that people or companies in Russia cannot use the money they have in these places. It also means that the Canadian government will punish Canadians if they do business with certain Russian people or companies monarchies are Sweden and Norway.


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