A Closer Look at Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine


Photo courtesy of Felipe Dana/AP ABC News

Sathya Chaib, Reporter

On February 24, Russia invaded Ukraine and sent missiles toward the capital city of Kyiv, launching their attack after being monitored by NATO and the US for days. This was the latest step in the conflict between the two countries that had been going on for many years prior. This attack made many US citizens wonder how NATO and our country could be involved in the war, and many people began to debate if it would be the right decision to get involved.

According to a Vox article, the conflict began after 2013 when Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych rejected the Ukrainian-European Association Agreement that would have created an economic and political bond between Ukraine and European countries. That rejection, which was influenced by Russia’s government, caused many protests to break out throughout the country and became known as the Revolution of Dignity.  The protests forced Yanukovych to be removed from office and were seen as a threat by Russia, who decided to invade and take over Crimea in an attempt to retake control and influence over the country. 

According to what Putin has told the media, the invasion aimed to “demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine,” with a “special military operation.” The Russian government has limited the media’s freedom and has been accused of spreading misinformation to its citizens. Russia has made it a crime for citizens to spread what is determined to be “fake news” according to their government. The punishment could be up to 15 years in prison. These “fake news” claims are nothing but information that goes against Putin and his government. Any type of news that could cause a riot and show the truth of what is really happening in Ukraine has been condemned. Coverage of the recent Bucha Massacre was buried, along with any other information that might lead people to believe there’s an actual war with war crimes happening. 

Throughout history, the US has been involved in multiple proxy wars. There is a large debate among American citizens whether we should fight, stay neutral, or just givesupport (and resources). Today, the country is divided on whether President Biden’s effort toward the Russian-Ukraine conflict are sufficient. The opinions are very divided. 

“There’s lot of controversy on what is the US going to do,” explained Junior Erika Leung, “like are they only sending resources, or are we getting really involved sending troops, like will it get so bad that they have to enter, and that leads to a lot of people who are pro-war wanting to get involved and saying bad things about Biden not getting involved.” 

 After Russia launched its invasion, the US and Europe began to place economic sanctions on Russia, something that could hurt their participation in the global economy and potentially put them in financial ruins. Cutting a country from the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) hasn’t happened in a war before, which makes some nations concerned that it could lead Russia and China to create their own financial system, although this is not a major concern yet. 

“Their economy is already being hurt very badly and will continue to decline,” explained AP US History teacher Tim Mahoney. “I think this is what will ultimately get the Russian people to topple Putin. In this modern era of globalization, you can’t simply function when the rest of the world won’t do business with you. Russia has few options left, as most western countries have sanctioned Russia.” 

One of the main reasons Russia decided to invade Ukraine was because they saw Ukraine’s connection with NATO and Europe as a threat. When Russia first launched the invasion, Putin announced publicly that “No one should have any doubts that a direct attack on our country will lead to defeat and dire consequences for any potential aggressor.” This message was directed to NATO countries, but that didn’t prevent them from sending resources and weapons to Ukraine. According to NATO’s website, “NATO is helping to coordinate Ukraine’s requests for assistance and is supporting Allies in the delivery of humanitarian and non-lethal aid. Individual NATO member countries are sending weapons, ammunition, medical supplies and other vital military equipment to Ukraine, including in such areas as cybersecurity and protection against threats of a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear nature.” 

Russia has used the threat of chemical weapons to prevent the West from becoming involved, but there is still a chance that Russia will escalate their attacks.

On March 3rd, The International Criminal Court (ICC) began to investigate potential war crimes in Ukraine. In the areas that Russia took over, there have been reports of torture, executions, and raping of civilians. Beside the Bucha Massacre, it was also known that Russia targeted churches, maternity hospitals, schools, orphanages, and many other civilian buildings. Russia’s denial of every accusation likely ruined any chance of the countries coming to an agreement for a cease-fire.