Sydney experts explain the Russia-Ukraine conflict


“Globally, there are more than enough fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) for the world and Europe to use. The real problem is that if we continue to get most of our energy from fossil fuels, CO2 emissions will continue to rise, which is by far the bigger long-term problem.”

“No doubt; as renewable energy becomes more mainstream into everyday consumption, fossil fuel dependency will decrease in the coming years and with it dependency on ‘old world’ energy systems. Despite our long dependence on fossil fuel exports, Australia is already in a much better position than Europe.”

“We have plenty of renewable energy (solar energy) and can use these sources much more efficiently than in Europe. We need to solve two technical problems: (1) how to store renewable energy more efficiently so it can be better used locally, and (2) how do we find a cost-effective way to export our renewable energy to other countries.”

What will the long-term effects be?

dr Olga Boichak is an expert on the role of the media in military conflicts. She says the invasion will have dangerous precedents over the long term.

“Allowing Russia to break away from its international obligations and re-enter a sovereign state sets a dangerous precedent for newly independent states seeking democratic government and NATO membership,” said Dr. Boichak.

How do Ukrainians feel about Russia?

Anastasiya Byesyedina, a PhD student researching Ukrainian identity and revolutions at the University of Sydney, said: “Ukraine is a diverse society with different experiences and different political opinions.”

“Activist Ukrainians have protested locally and overseas (diaspora). There is an overarching sense of fear and a will to fight for sovereignty. Ukraine has a complex relationship with Russia, dating back to the Russian Empire. Ukraine has experienced cultural and sovereign oppression from the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union and present-day Russia.

“If we look at the history of the revolutions in Ukraine in 2004 and 2013-14, we can see the resilience of the Ukrainian people demanding democracy internally. The events of 2013-14 demonstrate Ukraine’s ability to hold its own against corruption and Russian influence. We see this dynamic of righteousness in the actions of volunteers and volunteer fighters today,” said Ms. Byesyedina.

“Russia sees Ukraine as part of itself, ie as an ‘imaginary’ state. This historical rhetoric suggests Russia’s desire to rebuild the Soviet legacy and oppose US and NATO hegemony.”

Never Forget: Memories of a Russian Empire

dr Marco Duranti, senior lecturer in modern European and international history, says Putin’s ambitions may be fueled by long-held resentments and a desire to reinstate the great Russia of yore.


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