• Gabrielle Hendricks

Russian Invasion of Ukraine

In the early morning hours of Feb. 24, Russian forces launched a series of missile attacks on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. The Russian invasion in Ukraine then rapidly developed within the first day. The west’s reluctance to act and ineffective punishments in response to the invasion have led to the probable collapse of democracy in the east.

For months prior to the actual invasion, Russian President Vladmir Putin had lined troops on the Ukrainian border. A surprise to very few, Putin eventually followed through, sending troops and launching missiles into Ukraine. Within the first day, Kyiv’s two main airports were placed under Russian control. Missiles struck military bases, and several city complexes were damaged. By the next morning, 57 were dead and 169 more were wounded.

Many Ukrainians are packing to leave their homes and find refuge in Poland and other Baltic States. Ursula von der Leyen, president of the EU, said the Baltic states and Poland have been prepared for months for a wave of Ukrainian refugees. It is in the people’s best interest to evacuate as tensions will only continue to grow and the capital could collapse any day.

Even though many are evacuating, 10 thousand civilians have pledged to stay and fight for their homeland. Ukrainians are in distress, but they are determined to resist the Russian incursion. The Ukrainian people carry bravery in their hearts. A country of 40 million, Ukraine may not be a superpower, but it has a significant enough population to be a challenge to Russia.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries have placed significant economic sanctions on Russia. The reason behind the sanctions is to hinder Russia’s military infiltration monetarily. Stocks have drastically gone down in Russia due to the sanctions, but Putin does not seem deterred at all. He is set on his plan to take over Ukraine.

The sanctions have already backfired on the U.S., as Russia removed the U.S. dollar from its National Wealth Fund in response.

This may not seem like a loss yet, as most of our exports do not come from Russia. China, however, is watching this economic war and will probably follow Russia’s lead in removing the U.S. dollar from their National Wealth Fund. China is also watching to see if Russia can get away with taking back Ukraine as they may have the same goal for Taiwan.

NATO’s insistence to avoid putting boots on the ground in Ukraine has emboldened Putin even more. Ukraine is not valuable enough for western powers to risk troops and a possible nuclear war with Russia. Putin will take any measures to ensure Ukraine is a Russian territory again. He said outside interference in Ukraine will lead to “consequences never seen in history”. Europe does not want to see WW3 and neither does the U.S.

Putin’s vision to collapse Ukrainian democracy and implement a pro-Moscow leader will more than likely be fulfilled before next year. The Ukrainians will try to hold out against Russian terror as long as possible, but Russia is an incredible superpower. Hope is the only thing the world can hold on to in this turbulent matter. The world must try to uphold democracy not only for Ukraine but for other possible victims such as Taiwan, Hong Kong and other eastern nations. We must stay vigilant and hope for the best outcome.