Russia Invades Ukraine

Nicholas Cohen, Staff Writer

It has been a little over thirty years since the dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR/Soviet Union) with the Soviet Socialist Republics breaking away and going their own way. The main two of interest for the purposes of this article are the former Russian SFSR, now the Russian Federation, and the Ukrainian SSR, now the Republic of Ukraine. They have often found themselves against each other in recent years especially when the Ukrainian Government has considered aligning themselves with the European Union, as well as NATO. The Crimean crisis, in which Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014, a region that had previously been part of Ukraine, did not help improve those relations.  This is exemplified by the Ukrainian Government fighting separatist movements in the eastern part of the country that are likely supported by the Russian Federation, which leads us to the current situation.

On February 24, 2022 the Russian army launched an invasion of Ukraine, intensifying the eight-year conflict citing multiple justifications for their invasion, most of which have been met with criticism by many people in the world. The Russian Armed forces tried to target major or strategic cities in regions throughout Ukraine, most notably the Ukrainian capital Kiev, or major airfields throughout the country. These also led to the capture of the old nuclear power plant, Chernobyl, a site infamous for an incident that had caused major environmental damage in the regions around the power plant, as well as in other places throughout Europe. Although they were able to control large amounts of territory in that region early on, they slowed down, which caused the Russian Army to leave the region and focus on taking control of the southeastern part of Ukraine.

After the initial invasion, many western-aligned states condemned the war, especially European nations, and countries closely aligned with the west like Japan and South Korea. In addition, they threatened heavier economic sanctions against Russia. Many nations In Europe also began increasing their military budget, the most notable one being Germany, who have traditionally kept a small military in recent years. The current Chancellor, Olaf Scholz has been critiqued for their slow and timid response to the conflict, while the United States of America Congress has approved of a bill worth $40 billion to Ukraine. In addition to these responses, the People’s Republic of China has also promised to send humanitarian aid worth around 5 Million Yuan or around $747 thousand USD, as well as an additional 10 Million Yuan which is around $1.5 million USD. These countries, along with many other nations around the world, have provided Ukraine with humanitarian and military aid.  

But despite the assistance from foregin powers, many people have suffered from the conflict whether it be through displacement, serious injury, or death; many non-combatants and combatants have been killed in the conflict and  to the United Nations, approximately 3,974 civilians have been killed and around 4,654 have been injured all together, adding up to 8,628 casualties. More than 10 million Ukrainains have fled their homes, which makes up a little under a quarter of the Ukrainian population, with many fleeing to bordering countries like Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, and Moldova. 

Sadly there doesn’t seem to be a clear end in the near future, and as the conflict continues, casualties will increase. The effects of conflict will be felt in many places, for years going into the future. How much longer will the conflict continue?