每日英語跟讀 Ep.K333: Enemy at the gates: The background to the Ukraine crisis
At the core of the Ukraine crisis is a puzzle: Why would Russian President Vladimir Putin push Europe to the brink of war to demand the West not do something that it has no plan to do anyway? Russia says NATO, the American-led alliance that has on its hands the biggest European crisis in decades, must never offer membership to Ukraine, which gained independence as the Soviet Union broke apart about 30 years ago. Ukraine has long aspired to join NATO, but the alliance is not about to offer an invitation, due in part to Ukraine’s official corruption, shortcomings in its defense establishment and lack of control over its international borders.
Putin’s demands go beyond the question of Ukraine’s association with NATO, but that link is central to his complaint that the West has pushed him to the limits of his patience by edging closer to Russian borders. He asserts that NATO expansion years ago has enhanced its security at the expense of Russia’s.
Why is Putin worried about Ukraine joining NATO? The stated reason is that a further eastward expansion of NATO would pose a security threat to Russia. Washington and its allies deny this is a valid worry, since no NATO country is threatening to use force against Russia.
More broadly, Putin wants NATO to pull back its existing military presence in Eastern Europe, which includes a regularly rotating series of exercises in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, all former Soviet states.
Putin also opposes NATO’s missile defense presence in Romania, a former Soviet satellite state, and a similar base under development in Poland, saying they could be converted to offensive weapons capable of threatening Russia.
Ukraine has deep historical and cultural ties to Russia, and Putin has repeatedly asserted that Russians and Ukrainians are “one people.” He has said that large chunks of Ukrainian territory are historical parts of Russia that were arbitrarily granted to Ukraine by communist leaders under the Soviet Union.
Putin’s own actions, however, have served to strengthen Ukrainians’ sense of national identity. After Russia seized the Crimean Peninsula and instigated a rebellion in eastern Ukraine in 2014, Ukraine’s desire to align itself with the West and join NATO only grew.
然而，普京自己的行動有助於加強烏克蘭人的民族認同感。在俄羅斯佔領克里米亞半島並於2014年在烏克蘭東部煽動叛亂后，烏克蘭與西方結盟並加入北約的願望只會增長。Source article: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2022/02/15/2003773113