Ukraine is an eastern European country which gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Recent decades have seen the country of some 40 million citizens continue to balance between the spheres of Russia and Europe. A 2014 revolution favored a more western-facing administration before Russia annexed the territory of Crimea later that year. The country elected former actor and comedian Volodymyr Zelensky as its president in 2019. Ukraine was invaded by Russia in February 2022, in a sizeable conflict which has had considerable repercussions for international relations and the global economy.

Putin's border dilemma

Pro-Ukraine Russian fighters are causing trouble in Belgorod, and Moscow is forced to choose whether to prioritize those incursions or Kyiv's planned counter.