I had insomnia last night and was awake around 4am, so I checked my news feed and saw that Russia had invaded Ukraine.
This reminds me of Russia’s invasion of Georgia in August 2008 on the pretext of aiding the Russian-backed self-proclaimed republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. And in 2014 Russia invaded and then annexed the Crimea region of Ukraine. This time Russia was aiding the Russian-backed self-proclaimed independent states of DPR and LPR in Ukraine.
To this day, Georgia is seeking to join NATO and the EU. And Ukraine has made overtures in recent years that indicate they are also interested in joining NATO. Having former Soviet states as NATO-controlled countries is simply unacceptable for Russia. This provides a direct security threat to Russia. Putin is a ruthless autocrat who seeks to expand the Russian empire.
I can understand Putin desiring to maintain Russian hegemony in these Balkan states, but Russia must recognize sooner or later these are independent and yes, now, Westernized states which Russia no longer controls.
Historically Ukraine was part of greater Russia, so Putin’s claims are not entirely without merit. Just what is Putin’s end game? Will we see another conflict in Georgia, will Russia now keep a permanent occupying force in Ukraine? Does Putin have plans to invade other former Soviet states?
I think Russia’s timing in invading Ukraine now is very interesting. I think Putin sees America, led by a weak and easily manipulated leader, that is President Biden, and figures now are the time to capitalize on our weakness. I fear China may see this weakness and lack of response to Ukraine and become emboldened to invade Taiwan. Russian and Chinese power is definitely rising.
I think this invasion of Ukraine will send already high natural gas prices in Europe even higher. Ukraine has vast natural gas reserves as does Russia. Russia can squeeze the supply to Europe. This will send global markets down.