Russia's Invasion of Ukraine 2022 [UPSC Notes]

In February 2022, Russia launched an invasion of its southwest neighbour Ukraine. The invasion is by land, air and sea and according to many, is the largest conventional military invasion since the Second World War. This is a very important development in international affairs and has ramifications for the entire world including India. In this article, you can read all about the ongoing invasion, its effects on Ukraine, Russia, India and the world, for the IAS exam IR segment.

Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

Russia signed an order to officially recognise the independence of two separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine.

Know more about the background of the Russia Ukraine conflict which has been brewing since 2014 in the link given.

  • Russia launched an all-out attack on Ukraine through land, air and sea.
  • The attacks by Russia are considered as the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since the Second World War.
Russian invasion of Ukraine

Image source: The Hindu

Russia’s reason for the invasion

  • Russia’s President Mr. Putin declared that he has ordered “a special military operation” to protect people, including Russian citizens who had been subjected to “genocide” in Ukraine, “for this we will strive for the demilitarisation and denazification of Ukraine”.

Violations of International Laws by Russia

  • The UN Charter
    • It demands the states to avoid using force or threat of using force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.
  • The UN General Assembly Resolution 3314 (1974)
    • The resolution defines aggression as the use of armed force by a state against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of another state.
    • Also, allowing one’s territory to be used by another state for aggression against a third state, would qualify as an act of aggression.
    • Hence, Belarus can also be held responsible for aggression as it has allowed its territory to be used by Russia for attacking Ukraine.
    • Aggression is also considered an international crime under customary international law and the Rome statute establishing the International Criminal Court.

Consequences of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

On Russia

  • The US termed the action of Russia on Ukraine as aggressive and as a result, introduced strong additional sanctions with new limitations on what can be exported to Russia.
  • Several banks of Russia have been sanctioned along with restrictions on transactions of 13 major state-owned enterprises in Russia.
  • The United Nations Secretary-General at a Security Council meeting asked Russia to stop the attack on Ukraine and to “give peace a chance.”
  • The United Nations General Assembly condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and called upon Russia to unconditionally withdraw its troops.

On the Rest of the World

  • Rise in oil prices – Oil prices surged to over a seven-year high of $103 a barrel. The Brent crude rose to $103.78 a barrel, the highest since August 14, 2014. 
  • Influx of refugees – The UN Refugee Agency said that more than 874,000 people have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion and the figures are rising exponentially.
  • Food supply – Russia and Ukraine are among the top five international exporters for many important cereals and oilseeds such as wheat, sunflowers and corn.
  • Shortage of semiconductor chips – Ukraine supplies rare gases used in the production of semiconductor fab lasers, and Russia exports rare metals like palladium to make semiconductors. Hence the conflict worsened the global chip crisis.

India’s Response

  • India abstained from the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution sponsored by the U.S. against Russia.
  • India, as it did in the UNSC meeting, abstained from voting against Russia in the United Nations General Assembly.
  • India said that the safe exit of Indian citizens from the region is India’s highest priority.
  • India launched “Operation Ganga”, to evacuate stranded Indians in Ukraine.
  • The Indian Prime Minister appealed for an immediate ceasefire and a return to dialogue in a telephonic conversation with the Russian President.
  • Though India has not yet spoken against Russia directly, the usage of statements like “sovereignty and territorial integrity of states” suggests that India is growing tougher on Russia.

Impact on India

  • Economy – Following the attacks, India’s benchmark S&P BSE Sensex dropped by about 2,700 points, the highest drop in two years.
  • Rise in oil prices – India relies on imports for 85% of its fuel requirements.
  • Indian tea and coffee exports Russia and Ukraine are major importers of Indian tea and coffee.
  • Defense imports – Russia has been a military and technology supplier for India and India has signed a separate deal with Ukraine for Zorya-Mashproekt gas turbine engines and four other agreements worth $70 million, which includes the sale of new weapons.

Challenges for India

  • Western countries are said to be unhappy and disappointed with India’s move.
  • India is in a difficult situation with its growing relationship with the US on one hand and Russia on the other hand with which it has a time tested friendship and historic ties. 
  • Moreover, Russia is the primary source of military hardware and technology for India and has backed India’s security concerns at many events in the UN.
  • Further, India’s weak response on the issue will reduce India’s ability to be a “swing state” or a “leading power”.
  • It is envisaged that in the upcoming days, India will need considerable support from Russia on the issue of Kashmir that can be introduced in the world organisation by Pakistan receiving full encouragement from China. 

Also read: India – Russia relations

Way Forward for India

  • India needs friends and collaborators but without bowing before any country.
  • India’s neutral stance on the invasion of Ukraine by Russia has been appreciated and necessitated on the grounds of national security and territorial integrity.
  • India must take a stand by suggesting Russia withdraw its armed forces from Ukraine. 
  • India also needs to re-structure the objectives and the priorities of the Quad and other, multilateral groupings that it is part of.

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Related Links
India-China Relations International Relations Questions in UPSC Mains GS 2
Second World War CAATSA
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