By Patrick Brogan
Officials from Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France are due to meet to discuss the ongoing turmoil in Eastern Ukraine next week. This will take place as part of the Munich Security Conference, the global security event that takes place every February. France and Germany might not be the most objective of observers as they would like to see Ukraine be more Europeanised.
The conflict has resulted in the deaths of over 10,000 people since it started in February 2014. Although an agreement was signed in Minsk a year later, tensions have never died down and this has led to further violent clashes.
The conflict is far more complicated than it is generally depicted in the West. Three groups claim Crimea; Russians, Ukrainians and Tartars. Although it was part of sovereign Ukraine prior to the invasion, it was part of Russian territory from 1783, when claimed by Catherine the Great, until 1954 when Nikita Khrushchev handed control of it over to Soviet Ukraine.
The Tartars have been here since the 15th Century when the Ottomans ruled the lands. They were deported under Stalinist USSR as he felt they were collaborating with the Nazis. When the Ukraine became a republic after the Soviet collapse, many thousands of Tartars moved back, but unemployment was high and the standard of living low. Tensions between them and the Ukrainian Government have persisted ever since.
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