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Russia, Ukraine, and Crimea: An eventful history

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The modern history of Crimea is a complicated one. In 1921, following the Russian Revolution, the Crimean Autonomous Republic of South Ukraine was created. During World War II, the entirety of one of its indigenous populations, the Crimean Tatars, were deported to Central Asia — an act recognized as a genocide by Ukraine and three other countries.

The Crimean Autonomous Republic of South Ukraine was absolved in 1945 when it became an oblast (political administrative territory) of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, a constituent part of the Soviet Union. Then, in 1954, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev transferred Crimea to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, another of the Soviet Union’s constituents.

In 1991, with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Ukraine became an independent state. The Autonomous Republic of Crimea was established as part of Ukraine the same year.

For an imaginary parallel, let’s suppose that the US and Mexico were to merge to become The Unites States of Mexican America. Then, for administrative purposes, California is made a part of the Mexican constituent, and finally, after some time, the constituent parts of Mexico and America once again separate.

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Putin’s calculation

Crimea Russia Ukraine
Military exercises have long been used to mask invasions. Russia did just that before the war in Ukraine. (

Using “little green men,” Russia illegally annexed Crimea on 18 March 2014, incorporating the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol as the 84th and 85th federal subjects of the Russian Federation.

Putin went forward with the annexation because he saw Crimea as Russia and wanted to reincorporate it into Russia.

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Crimea Russia Ukraine
Russian special operations forces fast-roping during a training exercise. (

In addition, Crimea is a very attractive peninsular region because of the large military port city of Sevastopol on its southwest tip, and the city of Simferopol to the northwest.

Russia also wanted to annex Crimea to establish a large buffer of land between Russia and the NATO countries to the west.

Putin’s decision to illegally annex the peninsula in 2014 was fueled in part by unsuccessful U.S. interference in Ukrainian politics but mostly by his own cold calculating mind.

It should be noted that Luhansk and the Donetsk, two Ukrainian oblasts that border Russia to the east, were occupied by many thousands of separatist Russian sympathizers before the 2022 invasion. This made Russia’s job easier.

Despite its annexation, Crimea is considered by most countries and by the UN to remain part of Ukraine.

“A hero is a man who understands that he is risking his life by taking certain actions in combat. Little does he know that he is actually sacrificing his life by the action he is taking, and there will be an overriding spike of deep sorrow.”

By Almighty God and with honor,

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George Hand

Master Sergeant US Army (ret) from the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, The Delta Force. In service, he maintained a high level of proficiency in 6 foreign languages. Post military, George worked as a subcontracter for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on the nuclear test site north of Las Vegas Nevada for 16 years. Currently, George works as an Intelligence Analyst and street operative in the fight against human trafficking. A master cabinet-grade woodworker and master photographer, George is a man of diverse interests and broad talents.