The Ukrainian Shift Away from Russia and Putin’s Reaction
The background of the war in Syria, the failed Ukrainian negotiations with the EU, and the subsequent protests in Maidan Square, had always been the geostrategic interests of the United States. The Americans wanted completely to remove Russia’s presence from the Black Sea and the Mediterranean by placing puppet governments in Kiev and Damascus, expanding NATO under the mantle of the EU and seizing the naval bases of Tartus and Sevastopol. Putin had made clear this was something he would never allow, but in 2014 the United States nevertheless blatantly shored up and inflamed the protesters in Maidan Square, many of whom were neo-Nazis and ultranationalists. When European countries, hesitant about Russia’s reaction, tried to broker a deal between the Yanukovych Government and the opposition, the agreement was quickly torpedoed by the extreme-right nationalist groups, who quickly escalated the violence and were instrumental in the massacre that occurred on February 20, 2014, and who ultimately provoked the fall of the government. After this conspicuous coup, the extreme right occupied key positions in government, the EU agreement was signed and anti-Russian measures were taken. Putin had no choice but to react.