From 2014 there was a long stalemate in Ukraine, with intermittent conflict along the front-line separating Russian- and Ukrainian-controlled regions in the southeast. On 21 April 2019, Voldomyr Zelensky was elected president in the second round of the presidential election. The drift toward the west continued with an intent to join the EU in the 2030s, a policy directly opposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin who wish for an expansion of Russian influence if not outright conquest. In October 2021 Russia began to move substantial armed forces to the border regions, reigniting concerns about a possible invasion. In December 2021 Russia’s foreign ministry issued a set of demands, calling for NATO to desist from any further action against Russia, and to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO in the future. These demands were rejected by the various NATO leaders who warned Putin that any Russian aggression would be met with economic sanctions. A period of intense diplomacy ensued, and Russian backed up its threats by the moving substantial armed forces to the border. On 21 February 2022 Russia recognised the breakaway states, Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic, as independent states, the first UN members to do so. Three days later, on 2 February, Russia launched a full-scale armed invasion of Ukraine in the face of determined Ukrainian resistance.
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