Continuing Conflict Between Russia and Ukraine

Russia invaded Ukraine in an attempt to stop western influence in the country.

Ukraine gained independence from Russia after the Cold War in 1991. Now in contact with NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and the European Union, Ukraine is making an effort to move its attention west. President Vladimir Putin of Russia sees this as a threat to his country’s power.

The United States is ready to defend its allies in Europe in response to Russia positioning over 100,000 troops on its western border with Ukraine. Ukraine is not currently part of NATO, although they’re in close talks. NATO operates on the principle of collective defense, meaning an attack on one country is an attack on all of them. 

After the change in leadership in the German government and the American failure in Afghanistan, Russia sees the west as being weak. Social Science teacher Mr. Richard Balas states, “It’s an attempt to show strength by Putin. They see the world in a weak place, which perhaps they believe would support their claim in world affairs.” 

Russia and Ukraine differ in important ways. “Russia has an old fashioned worldview while Ukraine is moving towards a new worldview. If democracy takes off in Ukraine, it will become more popular in Russia,” states Social Science teacher Mr. Matthew Talboo.

In the face of this threat, life went on as normal. Local Market employee from Ukraine Arjan (last name not stated) said, “America is exaggerating the threat. There won’t be a war, it’s only Biden who thinks this.” 

CNN Chief International Correspondent Clarissa Ward remarked that, “it’s interesting talking to people here, nobody seems to be concerned about the prospect of an imminent invasion.”

In Mariupol, Ukraine, the city is filled with remnants of villages destroyed by fighting between Ukrainian forces and Pro Russian separatists. This country being no stranger to war and conflict, was trusting that history wouldn’t repeat itself.

Despite positive mindsets, the worst came to pass on February 24th, 2022 when Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine. Many countries, including those not part of NATO, are sanctioning Russia in hopes to put an end to this invasion. Russia has responded with threats of serious consequences while ordering nuclear forces into “special combat readiness.”  

As battles continue to rage throughout Ukraine and its major cities, many countries are doing their best to support Ukraine without escalating the conflict into a world war.