As of late February, Russia has officially launched a large-scale invasion of Ukraine. This update will serve to inform you of general events. First, Ukrainians have stalled Russian forces, but they have continued to push to the capital of Kyiv from the north and east of the nation. The Russian military has been recorded using weapons against the Geneva Convention, and have put their nuclear arsenal on alert. Casualties have occurred on both sides but the numbers have yet to be determined.
The U.S, United Nations, and NATO member states, as well as other countries have imposed harsh sanctions on Russia; as a result, the Russian stock market was down an estimated 33%. Extreme sanctions by the U.S, E.U, Japan, Australia, Canada, and more have been directed at Putin and his inner circle, including the banks.
Many civilians have started fleeing, but many volunteers have also stayed to fight. Ukrainians in surrounding countries have even come back to help. It was recorded that at least a dozen U.S. and UK soldiers have joined them as well. Additionally, ever since Russian forces took over the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, an inn down the river reported higher radioactivity in their water, according to a CNN reporter’s entry in their journal. Reason for the spike has yet to be found.
More information has yet to come. In the meantime, several sources for providing aid and information about the conflict will be mentioned next.Donations for humanitarian efforts here and here. Live updates for the crisis in Ukraine can be found here.
Origional Article Posted 1/22/22
Over the past week, tensions have been rising over a possible invasion of Ukraine between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Russia seems to be coming to a boiling point. Throughout four hours of talks between both parties, NATO has made clear they are willing to follow serious diplomatic talks with Russia, but has outright denied the demands Russia has made. Over the past decade, tensions have slowly been rising with different events making things exponentially worse. It reached a climax when Russia stationed around 100,000 troops on its border with Ukraine.
NATO’s, with the United States in particular, strategies with the potential war were threats to impose serious sanctions on Russia. The main goal being to economically harm Russia enough to make pursuing a war unreasonable. However, this isn’t as strong a threat as in the past, as a New York Times article pointed out, with the rise of authoritarian governments around the world trade and economic aid still occurs among these countries.
Many members of NATO hope Putin won’t start another large-scale European conflict, but with Russia’s demands standing in such stark contrast to NATO’s core beliefs, it’s a tense standoff. Especially as Russia pursues control over Ukraine, and therefore doesn’t want it to join NATO, it’s becoming increasingly harder to ignore its threats and provocations. That being said, the discussions held seemed to have a positive outcome as the Russian delegation left an impression of having a positive opinion of ending things peacefully. However, no promises were made and it came across that many diplomats in the Russian government didn’t know what Putin’s intentions were entirely.
Putin’s threats and interference with Ukrainian politics isn’t anything new. Throughout the past years, Putin has been pushing an agenda of control or submission from Ukraine, citing Ukraine and Russia’s past history and cultural ties, which Ukrainians don’t believe strong enough to warrant such advocation. In 2014 alone, Ukraine had an overthrow of a Putin-backed president - the invasion and taking of the Crimean Peninsula, skirmishes with Russian-backed separatists, and cyber attacks throughout past years. A more overarching demand from Russia is for NATO to stop military activity in Eastern countries like Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Ukraine, most likely in a bid for NATO activity to look similar to that of Europe post-collapse of the Iron Curtain.
At the very least, Russia isn’t totally closed off to diplomatic measures, as many people know President Biden met with Putin for a 4-hour video call in recent news, and while tense, topics like terms, solutions, and demands have been discussed between the two leaders. Still, these talks change little for those that have boots on the ground. A video from The Guardian depicted messy trenches, minefields, and the Russian separatists taking shots at Ukranians as provocation. Overall, we Americans should keep up-to-date on these important events in Europe as events progress.