A Brief Timeline of Ukraine’s Relations with Russia and NATO

1650-1917: Some or all of present Ukraine under control of Russian Empire.

1918-1945: Major political struggles within Ukraine over the workers’ 1917 revolution in Russia. A significant part of Ukraine joins newly formed Soviet Union. With the bureaucratization of the Soviet Union, Stalin’s collectivization of agriculture in early 1930s kills millions. Germany’s invasion of Ukraine kills millions.In 1945, Soviet forces defeat Germany, Ukraine remains in Soviet Union.

1945-1991: Ukraine a member of the Soviet Union.

1949: North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military alliance created by U.S. and western European capitalist states to oppose Soviet Union.

1991-2004: Ukraine declares independence from Soviet Union. Soviet Union ends, capitalists retake Russia, but NATO military alliance remains.

Ukraine shifts between “pro-Russian” and “pro-western” presidents. “Pro-Russian” candidate wins 2004 election amid claims of corruption.

1999: Despite Russian protest, Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic — all former members of the Soviet bloc — join NATO.

2004: Seven more nations in eastern Europe join NATO, including two directly bordering Russia.

2004: “Orange Revolution” protests condemn election fraud, bring down pro-Russian president-elect, and promote anti-Russian sentiments.

2008: NATO promises Ukraine will enter NATO.

2014: “Maidan Revolution,” large protests over pro-Russian president Yanukovych’s refusal to sign political and free-trade agreement with the European Union, leads to his overthrow and heightens anti-Russian sentiment and Ukrainian nationalism. U.S. and western European governments support the protests. The new Ukrainian president signs the agreement with the European Union. In response to Maidan Revolution, Russia invades and annexes Crimea from Ukraine and supports Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

2021: Recently-elected President Zelensky appeals to President Biden to allow Ukraine to enter NATO. Russia begins amassing troops on Ukrainian border.