Russia and Ukraine

Russia and Ukraine: Russia and Ukraine are currently in a major conflict. Russia wants Ukraine because Ukraine is the biggest country in Europe if one takes out Russia, which is applied over Asia as well. Russia has its eyes on Ukraine, having already taken over Crimea in 2014.

USSR history

Ukraine and Russia were part of the 15 Soviet republics that formed Soviet Union which was the largest country in the world. Covering almost 8,650,000 square miles (22,400,000 square km), which was nearly one-sixth of earth’s land.

But unfortunately, Soviet Union collapse in 1991 because of several internal and external factors, Ukraine announced its independence on 24 August. Several countries declared their independence that is shown below:

Countires Independence year
Lithuania March 1990
Latvia, Estonia May 1990
Georgia April1991
Ukraine, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan August 1991
Tajikistan, Armenia September 1991
Turkmenistan October1991
Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan December 1991

The Roots of the Ukraine War

It is like a scene from the Cold War, a scary episode from an ancient era. An unexpected Russian leader was gathering armies and tanks on a neighbor’s border. There was a dread of an East-West blaze.

Later the cold war turned hot: Vladimir Putin instructed Russian forces to annex Ukraine. The consequences were quick and far-reaching.

In the earlier days of the attack, even as Russian forces achieved a calculated strength of 190,000, and even as in growingly threatening tones that a military walkout seemed unavoidable, Mr. Putin was asserting that he was open to prudence, and European leaders were performing desperately to influence the Kremlin to stand down.

On Feb. 24, the Russian president, preaching to his nation, announced the beginning of a special military operation in Ukraine.

Why Ukraine?

Putin worries strategically important Ukraine, controlling Russia’s south-western side, is incorporating into the west. He opposes its growing nearness to Nato. He also objects to Kyiv’s evolving relations with the EU.

Ukraine is autonomy with free speech and unbound media, which voluntarily elects its leaders. Whereas Russians do not enjoy such freedoms. Putin would not last long if they had followed Ukraine’s way.

More broadly, Putin is a reflective revisionist who considers Ukraine as a vital part of historical Russia and its loss as a symbol of Russia’s cold war defeat.

Why did it begins now?

Putin may have a sense of western weakness. Nato was disgraced last year in Afghanistan. Joe Biden, who put an effort to end wars, do not take part in new ones, has focused again on American military resources and foreign policy on China, not Europe.

Putin needs a big success to keep his domestic support, his anti-western policies, excuse overgrown regime corruption and kleptomania, and explain the difficulties Russians endure as an outcome of western boycotts charged after his first invasion of Ukraine, in 2014. That was when he occupy Crimea and took control of the eastern Donbas region.

Where are the people of Ukraine fleeing to?

According to the latest news, more than 2.9 million people have fled Ukraine as Russia has initiated its invasion.

As stated by the UN refugee agency many escaped to Poland and other neighboring states like:

Name of State Number of people fled
Poland 1,791,111
Belarus 1,226
Russia 142,994
Slovakia 213,000
Hungary 263,888
Romania 422,086
Moldova 337,215

Area and Population

Ukraine is the seventh-largest country in Europe with a population of almost 44 million. The country contains 24 regions, known as oblasts. Ukraine’s population has declined since 1990 because of the lowest fertility rate in the world. Its fertility rate was just 1.2 in 2020. To remain stable in population 2.1 fertility rate is required if we see it overall.

After Russia, Ukraine is the second-largest country in Europe, At 603,550sq km (233,031sq miles), Ukraine is slightly smaller than Texas(US state), around three times smaller than India, half in size from South Africa and two and a half size of United Kingdom(UK).

Russia and Ukraine

Military Force Comparison

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Russian military forces rank amongst the top five defense spenders. It is one of the strongest militaries in the world. Russia spent $61.8bn on its military in the year 2020. It is 11.4 percent of government spending.

Whereas Ukraine spent $5.9bn on its military force which is 8.8 percent of government spending.

Military and arms comparison list:

Ukraine Russia
900,000 Reserve personnel 2000,000
208,000 Active personnel 900,000
12,304 Armoured vehicles 30,122
2,050 Artillery 7,572
34 Attack helicopters 544
2,596 Tanks 12,420
98 Fighter/attack aircrafts 1,511

Resources of oil and gas

Both of the countries Russia and Ukraine are very rich in oil and gas. Russia has the world’s highest gas resources of 48,938 billion cubic meters. More than 70% of the country’s gas resources are controlled by Gazprom, a state-owned energy plant.

One-third of Europe is using the natural gas that is supplied by Russia. This supply can be disrupted if the US put sanctions on the conflict. But this can aggravate the energy crisis in Europe.

Germany stopped the certification of Nord stream 2 on February 22. It was an $11.6bn gas pipeline project by Russia that was designed to provide 151 million cubic meters of gas/day to Europe.

Ukraine also has significant gas and oil reserves that are about 349 billion cubic meters and 395 million barrels respectively. Ukraine plays a key role in delivering gas to European markets by Russia because it exists at the crossroads between the West and Russia.


Both countries are very rich in oil and gas. Russia has the world’s highest gas resources of 48,938 billion cubic meters. Ukraine also has significant gas and oil reserves that are about 349 billion cubic meters and 395 million barrels respectively.

Main Exports

Ukraine and Russia are the two main exporters of wheat. Almost one-quarter of wheat is exported by these countries throughout the world. Ukraine exported $49bn in 2019. While Russia exported $407bn in products in 2019.

Russia main export products:

Products Percentage
Crude petroleum 30.3%
Refined petroleum 16.3%
Petroleum gas 6.46%
Coal briquettes 4.33%
Coal tar oil 1.1%
Iron ore 0.54%
Semi-finished iron 1.72%
Raw aluminium 1.28%
Refined copper 1.06%
Raw nickel 0.99%
Copper wire 0.32%
Scrap iron 0.31%
Nickel mattes 0.3%
Hot-rolled iron 0.63%
Mixed mineral or chemical 0.83%
Potassic fertilizers 0.6%
Gold 1.66%
Platinum 1.6%
Diamonds 0.96%
Gas turbines 0.58%
Sawn wood 1.12%
Plywood 0.34%
Wheat 2%
Rubber 0.3%
Non-fillet frozen fish 0.66%
Planes 0.55%
Cars 0.41%
Sulfate 0.26%
Seed oils 0.54%
Textile 0.2%

Top export countries of Russia:

Countries Percentage of export
China 14.3%
Netherlands 10.3%
Belarus 5.0%
Germany 4.6%
Italy 4.1%
Turkey 4.0%
South Korea 4.0%
US 3.5%
Kazakhstan 3.4%
UK 31%

Ukraine main export products:

Products Percentage of export
Corn 9.64%
Wheat 6.27%
Rapeseed 2.76%
Soybeans 2.12%
Barley 0.92%
Iron Ore 6.79%
Electricity 0.73%
Clays 0.4%
Kaolin 0.27%
Petroleum Gas 0.63%
Titanium 0.38%
Insulated Wire 2.87%
Electric Heaters 0.93%
Gas 0.29%
Semi-Finished Iron 5.16%
Ferroalloys 2%
Pig Iron 1.76%
Iron Pipes 1.17%
Raw Iron Bars 1.16%
Hot Rolled Iron Bars 0.8%
Hot-Rolled Iron 4.17%
Cold-Rolled Iron 0.61%
Other Iron 0.29%
Iron Blocks 0.61%
Other Metal 0.2%
Flat Rolled Iron 0.35%
Seed Oils 7.57%
Other Vegetable Residues 2.21%
Rolled Tobacco 1.43%
Soybean Meal 0.5%
Chocolate 0.33%
Baked Goods 0.32%
Aluminium Oxide 1.36%
Sawn Wood 1.21%
Fuel 0.23%
Poultry Meat 1.05%
Locomotive Parts 0.94%
Other Furnitures 0.56%
Seats 0.48%
Sports Goods 0.27%
Toilet Paper 0.24%
Glass 0.3%
Vinyl 0.3%

Top export countries of Ukraine:

Countries Export percentage
Russia 9.5%
China 8.0%
Germany 6.2%
Poland 5.5%
Italy 5.2%
Turkey 4.8%
Egypt 4.3%
India 3.9%
Netherlands 3.7%
Hungary 3.5%

Russian Arms buyer Countries

Russia is the second-largest weapons exporter country in the world. Roughly 20% of weapons are sold by Russia. Moscow sold $28bn of arms to 45 countries between 2016 and 2020.

Nearly 90% of arms are sold to 10 countries by Russia. Russia’s biggest customer of weapons is India. India is purchasing weapons for the past 5 years from Russia for about $6.5bn. 49% of Indian arms are imported from Russia.

Second largest arms buyer country in China($5.1bn), then Algeria($4.2bn), Egypt($3.3bn), Vietnam($1.7bn). Reported by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute(SIPRI).

Frequently Asked Questions

Some related questions are answered below:

1. What part of Ukraine is controlled by Russia?

Crimea is the part of Ukraine which is already controlled by Russia in 2014, areas controlled by Russian-backed protestors in Luhansk and Donetsk.

2. How long has Russia been invading Ukraine?

Russia and Ukraine war started on 20 February 2014 and Russia is still invading Ukraine.

3. Where did Russia invade Ukraine in 2022?

Russian army entered Ukraine through Belarus(north) towards Kiyv and towards Kharkiv(northeast), from DPR and LPR (east), and Crimea from the south.

4. Are our Ukrainian and Russian the same?

Russian and Ukrainian are part of the Slavic language family. This family is related to the central and eastern Europe languages. Czech, Polish and Bulgarian are also included in it.

5. Do people in Ukraine speak Russian?

Most people speak Ukrainian in Ukraine which is written by Cyrillic alphabets. It belongs to the East Slavic language family that is related to Russian but has similarities to the Polish language.

6. Which countries are friends of Russia?

India, Belarus, China, Syria, and Kazakhstan are the top five friend countries of Russia.

7. Are China and Ukraine allies?

Since 2008 Ukraine and China built strong trade ties. China is Ukraine’s biggest trading partner since 2019, they have a trade turnover of 15.9 billion US dollars in 2020.

8. How many Chinese live in Ukraine?

Around 6000 Chinese live in Ukraine, but they are not having instructions to leave the country unlike other citizens because China has allied with Russia and US.

9. Who enslaved the Slavs?

The slavs, who occupied a big part of Eastern Europe, were assumed as slaves by the Muslims of Spain in the 9th century AD.

10. What was Ukraine called before 1922?

Ukraine evolved as a country called the Ukrainian SSR (Soviet Socialist Republic), it was a part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or (USSR).


Russia and Ukraine were basically a part of the Soviet Union which was the largest country in 1991 covering almost one-sixth of the earth’s land surface that formed the USSR. But unfortunately, it collapses due to many factors. Currently, Russia and Ukraine are in a war because Ukraine is the second biggest country in Europe and Russia wants to take over it after it took over Crimea in 2014. Also, Putin does not want Ukraine to join NATO and become more powerful. Putin still considers Ukraine as a part of Russia and sees it as a great loss, and wants Ukraine back at any cost.

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