What You Should Know About Russia and Ukraine

What+You+Should+Know+About+Russia+and+Ukraine

Arianna Nahim

 

For thirty years, tensions have been high between Russia and Ukraine since Ukraine split from the Soviet Union. But in this past month, Russia has been after Ukraine more than ever. As a generation that revolves around the internet and media, we’ve all witnessed it in real-time. But what is happening? How does it affect us? 

 

THE LEAD UP TO THIS ISSUE

 For 120 years, Ukraine was initially a part of the Russian empire until Ukraine voted for independence in 1991. Since then, Russia has not been happy with Ukraine. They feel Ukraine will always belong to Russia. Tensions have been steadily rising since 2014 during the Russo-Ukraine war. In April of 2014, Russia seized government buildings in Eastern Ukraine. 

Fast forward to the current situation; a lot has happened in the past week. Many countries warned Russia not to invade Russia, but ultimately it did happen. At first, Russia dangled its military in front of Ukraine’s face but argued that they would not do anything. His justification is that Ukraine belongs to Russia and is not really independent. His goal is to restore Russia to its ultimate greatness and access Ukraine’s resources.  

 

What set Russia off is that Ukraine is moving forward as a country. They are westernizing themselves and becoming confident in their statehood. Ukraine has been interested in joining NATO. An organization between countries like America, France, and Canada has agreed to come to each other’s aid, especially in active duty in the case of an attack. This is alarming to Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia because he does not want his country to be next-door neighbors to a NATO country. This worries him because Russia is not a part of NATO, and it makes them susceptible to weakness being so close to a country on an opposing side. Ukraine was also interested in joining the UN, which would’ve given them protection against Russia’s iron fist. However, Ukraine is not eligible to be a part of the UN since Russia has invaded. This is because a country occupied by another cannot participate in the UN. Despite Russia’s warning Ukraine continued to try and join these two organizations.  

 

THE INVASION AND OTHER EVENTS

 

On February 24th, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. Missile strikes were sent across the country, including the capital Kyiv. Russia attempted to take over Konotop but was unable until later that day. Anto

Ukrainian hospital patients leave while the establishment crumbles around them.

nov Airpot was also taken under Russian control. In addition, Russia captured the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and the abandoned city of Pripyat. The president of Ukraine announced by the end of the day 137 casualties and 316 wounded.

 

Ukrainian citizens look at once was

The following day Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy deployed the army for 90 days. He also banned all males ages 18-60 from leaving the country. A missile hit another airport in Rivne but luckily was only impacted by minimal damage. Russia entered Meliltolp and succeeded in taking control. In the next few days after this, multiple reportings flooded in. On the 27th, a gas pipeline was blown up outside of Kharkiv. On February 28th, Ukraine attempted to discuss with Russia a possible cease-fire. Right after that, Russia bombed a holocaust memorial, which happens to be responsible for the second-largest mass killing of Jewish people. Ten civilians were also killed in a shelling attack in residential neighborhoods in Ukraine. As of now, it seems Russia does not plan to slow down anytime soon. So how are other countries responding?

 

An airstrike attack on March 9th from Russia struck a maternity hospital in Ukraine. This *gruesome attack has killed three and wounded 17. These victims included doctors, women in labor, and children buried under the rubble. But this isn’t the first time Russia has involved and ambushed civilians. The WHO has confirmed 18 attacks on medical facilities since their invasion two weeks ago.

 

OTHER COUNTRIES RESPONSE 

 

A protest showing support for Ukraine

The United States and many other countries have come forward and stated their support for Ukraine. They have also provided support and aid. The United States has put Sanctions on some countries. These are restrictions on things like trade, tariffs, and financial transactions. This is meant to hurt the other country’s economy. However, it was later revealed that Putin did plan for this and was somewhat prepared. 

Most recently, though, President Joe Biden has banned all energy imports from Russia. This is an effort to hurt Russia’s economy enough to get them to rethink their moves against Ukraine and hopefully get them to stand back from their plans. However, Americans will be paying for this significant economic strike. Gas prices have shot up, a full tank of gas costs in the $50 range. So how will Biden combat this new issue? The Biden administration traveled to Venezuela over the weekend to discuss the potential to have Venezuela’s oil to be put on the international market. This would be a big move for Venezuela as it’s been in an economic crisis since the early 2010s. Biden may also travel to Saudi Arabia to discuss the possibility of the country increasing its production.

 

But besides the US, France has also tried to mend the situation. The president, Emmanuel Macron, has attempted to act as a mediator between the two countries. In a phone call announced on February 28th, Macron demanded that Putin implement a cease-fire. He urged Putin to follow humanitarian and international war laws when this didn’t work. But right now, the casualty count of Ukrainians due to this war is 6,000. And as we saw earlier, Russia will go as far as charging hospitals filled with innocent civilians.

 

WHAT OUR OWN STUDENTS HAVE TO SAY ON THE MATTER

 

Aside from an international standpoint, there are also opinions from our students. Many students have been getting their news from social media. Three upperclassmen, Tina Pham(12th), Shawn Tariq(12th), and Owen Arenheart (11th), all say they appreciate the access and privilege of being up to date on the issue because of the easy access. “I’ve been able to discuss this topic with friends, which I really like because it makes me feel like I’m digesting this important information,” says Owen Arenheart. Many of our older students are steadily approaching  18, which inspires one to take responsibility. This has influenced their decision to pay attention to current events. “Turning 18 has definitely impacted my views on the news. Having the opportunity to vote makes me feel responsible for how these events play out,” says Shawn Tariq. 

 

Seeing how these events play out is essential, especially when comparing them to similar events in the past. Many have taken to social media platforms to point out the different reactions towards the Ukraine issue compared to similar problems to the past. Because of the fast pace of these world events, news reports have been coming in live and unfiltered. With this has come many slip-ups from news reporters. Many have said things like, “This is something that doesn’t happen to people that look like them,” “Blue-eyed, blonde-haired people don’t go through this.” And viewers have noticed. “Watching this feels a bit surreal because it’s great that other countries are offering aid, but it also seems there is a bit of a double standard to who gets help. Many people from countries with a higher percentage of POC aren’t offered this same support,” says Tina Pham. 

@femalefemboy Compilation of western media being racist and making excuses on why Ukrainians are “good” refugees. #ukraine #news #leftist #media #fy #fyp #russia ♬ original sound – Femalefemboy

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HOW WILL THIS CONCLUDE? 

 

We cannot see the future or predict how this will end. There are many conspiracy theories out there on how this will end, but the unpredictable nature of Russia makes it difficult to tell. As high schoolers, it may feel like this is an issue that does not concern us but in reality, there are many ways to educate and participate in discord over this issue. All we can do as viewers are offer support and wait and see.    

A child poses with a sign against the conflict against Ukrainians