Putin Invades Ukraine – Part 1

On February 24th the world watched in horror as the Russian military started its invasion of Ukraine.

In this episode we are discussing all the things that led to Putin’s war on Ukraine, the west’s lax attitude and response, and Ukraine’s fight for freedom and acceptance in the EU over the past three decades. Latest developments at the time of recording are of course discussed as well.

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Historical and geopolitical context is key to understanding the current tragedy unfolding under our eyes. We start off with The Budapest Memorandum of 1994 when, after the fall of the USSR, Ukraine was assured by the US, UK and Russia that its territorial sovereignty would be protected as long as they gave up their nuclear warheads. 1

Next we discuss The Orange Revolution of 2004, when the Ukrainian people organized nationwide protests in support of fair elections after Russian tampering, and the poisoning of candidate Viktor Yushchenko by Russian intelligence. He almost died and remained disfigured. We also discuss how the protest movements of this time in led to similar uprisings in support of elections in other countries in the region such as Moldova and Belarus, and how all of this led to similar protests within Russia itself in 2011, and Putin's personal feud with former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. 2

Then we discuss the Revolution of Dignity following the elections of 2010, in which the Russian-favored candidate, Viktor Yanukovych, was elected to the presidency of Ukraine, leading to another round of protests and a violent response from the state police and military. We also go over the subsequent Russian annexation of Crimea, and failure (again) of western countries and NATO to live up to their assurances made in the 1994 agreement that saw Ukraine stripped of nuclear weapons. 3

In addition to all of this we discuss the specifics of no-fly zones and how Russia has evaded them in the past, for example during the recent Syrian conflict. Also the firings of Ukranian officials at the behest of US presidents, such as the "Trump phone call" from 2019 to current Ukranian president Volodymyr Zelensky, and the overlap between GOP and Ukranian right-wing campaign advisors, Paul Manafort for example. We also discuss the persecution of Russian dissidents Boris Berezovsky, Alexander Litvinenko, Anna Politkovskaya who were all killed by Russian intelligence agents while living in London. 4

This is a multi-part series, in the next episode we'll discuss the devastation from the invasion in Mariupol, Kharkhiv, Kherson. Irpin, Kyiv and other Ukranian cities, and the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 17 incident.

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