Why would Russia invade Ukraine (Explain situation)

It looks more and more like Russia might invade Ukraine.
(Probably) Russian troops without identification as being Russian were already seen patrolling aggressively in the Crimea.

Now explain this situation to me. Why would Russia invade?

Simplified, this is what I get, correct me if Im wrong.

  • Since USSR fall, Ukraine has up to now been Russian satellite state. (more or less)
  • 2014 protests basically make that Pro Russian regime fall democratically. The protests were mostly instigated by Ukrainian Nationalists and Pro-EU / Nato guys.
  • Russia sees this as NATO encroachment and intervenes.

Am I wrong here?
Basically Ukraine along with Eastern Europe since 1940 is backyard of Russia. It was entirely run by USSR. Now its indirectly run by Russia (USSR people still run Russia). So basically Ukraine having a regime not aligned with Russia/USSR is unacceptable.

And basically since there is no more strong power in West Europe since Nazi Germany, and USA has no intention to intervene (Asia pivot), Russians will do as they please and swiftly “clean up Ukraine” (NKVD style like they did in Poland 1940)

Am I far off-base?

I think a split of the Ukraine into two countries is Russia’s goal, with the ethnic Russians in one part. For an analogy read about the Russia-Georgia war:

Angry mobs aren’t democracy. Unfortunately, the regime in Ukraine didn’t fall democratically.

Russia’s goal was to have Ukraine under their influence. With the pro Russian government out they might have to settle for a divided Ukraine with the more Russian part under their influence.

Why would the Russian colossus be intimidated by a recently formed ragtag government of Ukrainian anti-russians?

Why would the Russians even bargain with them?

Would the Russians even risk a pro-Nato nation so close to their homeland, probably a nation that might even join the EU eventually.

And 70-80% of the votes cast in Crimea were for the regime that just got tossed.

Another key point is that Crimea is majority Russian, was historically part of Russia, and was transferred from Russia to Ukraine in the 50s, when they were both the same country. It was an autonomous part of Ukraine and was already fairly independent. They were pissed about the protests and likely would have resisted attempts by Kiev to exercise control. So this move is one of the classic “protect your ethnic peoples in another country” things that countries have been doing for centuries.

Russia’s major Black Sea naval base is in Crimea, and Russia sees retaining that as vital to its security.

In the larger picture, it seems likely that Russia will not allow any of its major military bases to fall under the control of any government that is deemed not compliant.

Will Russia take some 20,000+ captured Ukrainian officers into a forest, and slaughter them all? No. No, they won’t.

So yes, you are far, far, far off-base.

Yes, those Sudetenland Germans really needed to be protected.

I haven’t seen any threat of termination of the Sevastopol naval base lease from the Ukraininan government. Have you seen that somewhere? Cite?

Am I correct that pre-Stalin, it was a Tatar region, i.e. part of the Russian state but neither Russian nor Ukrainian nor really even close? I know the Tatars were forcibly removed, but I don’t know what the balance was historically.


In 1897 Tatars were the biggest ethnic group at 36% (Russians at 33%).
In 1939 Tatars were at 19% and Russians at 50% (that was pre-expulsion)
Today Tatars are around 12% and Russians 58%.

Thank you.

The assertion from Russia seems to be that Russia isn’t intimidated by an anti-Russian government in Ukraine but rather that Russia feels a responsibility to protect the Russians living in Ukraine, i.e. Russia’s government doesn’t want to see Russians killed.

One possibility is that the Russian government would negotiate with the anti-Russia government for the latter to allow the former to send troops to protect Russians in Ukraine and thus save Ukraine’s government that trouble. Now, I’m not saying I personally believe this or the assertion above is the whole truth or even partially the truth; I’m saying they’re possibilities.

Huh? Russia already has actual NATO nations on its borders and Russia itself could even be considered at least somewhat pro-NATO given that Russia is engaged in a partnership with NATO. See here and here for verification.

I’m simply making the point that the base is important to Russia. Nobody knows what the new government will do in the future, including the new government.

What few facts we know are that the lease agreement expires in 2017 and that the official position of the government was that the lease would not be renewed. A probable fact is that deposed president Yanukovich would have been more likely to try to get an extension than anyone currently in power. That same article indicates that Russia was never going to look kindly on any failure to renew.

I’m putting 2 and 2 together, not citing facts or predicting the future. But I think this is an important factor in any discussion of a reason for Russia’s action,