A Ukrainian resident standing over his home after a missile attack. (Associated Press)
A Ukrainian resident standing over his home after a missile attack.

Associated Press

Russia Begins Full-Scale Invasion of Ukraine

"Putin chose this war, and now he and his country will bear the consequences," President Joe Biden.

February 24, 2022

On Thursday, February 24, 2022, at 4:50 am Ukrainian time, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced he decided to conduct a “special military operation” in order to protect the people that have been “abused” by Kyiv regime for the past eight years.

In actual terms, Russia began the full-scale Ukrainian invasion.

In less than 24 hours, 57 Ukrainians have reportedly been killed, with another 169 wounded. The UN refugee agency estimates 100,000 Ukrainians have fled their homes. Russia has also taken control of Chernobyl.

In the aftermath of this devastating initial assault, the question weighing heavily on the minds of many people, including many of our fellow students is “Why?” While the question seems simple enough, the complicated history between Russia and Ukraine lends itself to a more complex explanation of how we got to this point.

A Sordid History

A map showing places in Ukraine hit with Russian missiles.

New York Times

A map showing places in Ukraine hit with Russian missiles.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union back in 1991, Ukraine had finally gained the independence they were looking for after suffering at the hands of the dictatorial regime. In the past 30 years, the country has been filled with corruption scandals, economic mismanagement, and Russian interference.

Once Putin came into the picture, he had his eyes set on Ukraine.

Ukraine has always historically been a country that Russia wanted to take a hold of. Its geographic location and fertile soil allow for Russia to be able to expand its economy and gain more land.

In 2014, Russia successfully seized Crimea, a region of Ukraine that is mostly ethnically Russian. Later that same year, Russia backed Donbas, a region filled with pro-Russian separatist groups. Earlier this month, Russia officially recognized these regions in Ukraine.

What Happens Next?

Picture showing a trafficked highway in Ukraine with people trying to Flee the country.

New York Times

Picture showing a trafficked highway in Ukraine with people trying to Flee the country.

For the past fifteen years, Ukraine has tried to join NATO by obtaining a Membership Action Plan. But, because of the fact that Russia is a powerful member of the organization, NATO has rejected the admission of Ukraine multiple times. Ukraine being a NATO member would allow for more protection, as NATO members are forced to defend another NATO member if another country chooses to invade it.

Because of this, NATO and other countries don’t have to get involved in the Ukrainian invasion, as long as Russia decides not to invade a neighboring NATO nation, such as Poland.

“It’s terrible how countries will most likely choose to sit back and watch the conflict from afar instead of helping in some way,” one student says.

President Joe Biden has stated that the US has “no intention of fighting Russia,” but will support Ukraine in this conflict. The US has sent troops to countries bordering Ukraine, countries that are a part of NATO, in case Russia threatens to violate their sovereignty, as well.

“The situation is certainly frightening to witness,” one teacher says. “The world has cause for alarm with regard to Putin’s suppression of freedom, use of propaganda, and expansionist goals.”

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