Russian-Ukrainian Conflict

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Russian-Ukrainian+Conflict

Maggie Clark, Writer

As Russia has mounted an attack on Ukraine, many are left wondering what Putin’s motivation is. According to Putin himself, Ukraine was a threat to Russia’s security. Putin has also said that he wants to conduct the “demilitarization and de-Nazification” of Ukraine. According to the Ukrainian Government’s website, Putin has attacked Russia because “since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has continued to harbor significant resentment against Independent Ukraine, the country it[Russia] still thinks of as a critical part of  ‘Mother Russia’”. This conflict did not begin with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 though. 

While social media has presented the world with clips of Russian soldiers laying down their arms and Ukrainian civilians attempting to defend themselves, the reality of the situation is much darker. If you scroll long enough, you will see videos of whole buildings collapsing. One morbid video has gone viral; it depicts the death of a fourteen-year-old girl who was riding her bike when she was struck by a missile. On March 2, Maxar Technology, a self-described “leading space technology and intelligence company,” released satellite images that show a Russian convoy that is approaching Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv. The convoy spans forty miles. As of March 7, the United State Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner reports that there have been 1,207 civilian casualties. 

As of March 1, according to the UN, at least 1.3 million Ukrainians have left the country. These people have left their homes knowing there is a chance they may never be able to return. This means that somewhere around 43 million people have remained in Ukraine. To enter Poland from Ukraine, refugees have to access 1 of 8 border crossing points. Refugees have also fled to Moldova, Slovakia, Romania, and Hungary. A small number of refugees have escaped to Belarus which has taken Russia’s side in this conflict. Putin has repeatedly asked Ukraine to surrender, yet Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has said that the nation “will not give up to any enemy.”

Sanctions from the United States and other countries have made the Russian Ruble worth less than a U.S. penny. More than a few TikToks have featured the information that the currency for the game Roblox is currently worth more than a Ruble. While sanctions may be constricting the Russian government’s ability to wage its war, they have also had a strong effect on the ordinary Russian people. In comment sections across the internet, people urge Russians that are posting about the conflict to rebel against their government, but it isn’t that easy. TikTok user @inesadnoire posted a video of Russian police stopping citizens to go through their text messages. As the invasion of Ukraine has progressed, the rampant totalitarianism in Russia has become more apparent. 

Sources:

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/article/russia-and-ukraine-the-tangled-history-that-connects-and-divides-them

https://www.britannica.com/place/Ukraine/The-Orange-Revolution-and-the-Yushchenko-presidency

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/24/world/europe/putin-ukraine-speech.html

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-56720589