The Russia-Ukraine Conflict Explained


What happened?

February 24th marks the day when Russia started to attack their neighboring country, Ukraine. Russia has been at Ukraine’s border since the beginning of October 2021, but a full-scale attack from the north, east, and south was totally unexpected. Sanctions (financial/commercial penalties) were recently imposed by many countries across the world in an attempt to stop further destruction. 

In 1991, the Soviet Union (USSR) collapsed, and 15 different republics emerged from the remains of the once powerful empire. Among them were Ukraine and Russia. Vladimir Putin has always claimed that Ukraine should be part of Russia.

Before the attacks, he told Russians, “Ukraine is an inalienable part of our own history, culture, and spiritual space. These are our comrades, those dearest to us – not only colleagues, friends, and people who once served together, but also relatives, people bound by blood, by family ties.”

In 2014, Russia took back the peninsula of Crimea, a former Soviet Union territory, that has been a part of Ukraine since 1954. The people of Ukraine are extremely supportive of the idea of being an independent country, and the takeover of Crimea from Russian troops has continued to cause them to wonder what would be next. That same year, pro-Russian supporters created a stronghold in the Donbas region. The Ukrainian government gave the separatists of the region self-rule in the Crimean peninsula. The militants were never given full rule and independence that they had wished for, and fighting between Russia and Ukraine continues to this day.

In a public speech, Putin addressed that Russia could not feel “safe, develop and exist” because of what he claimed was a constant threat of the growing modern life in the neighboring country, Ukraine.

Putin is mostly concerned about Ukraine’s intention to perhaps join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or simply, NATO. The purpose of the group is to keep the 30 countries a guarantee for the desire of freedom and security of the countries participating in the treaty. President Putin believes that Ukraine’s acceptance into NATO would threaten Russia’s borders and its sphere of influence.

What is the world doing to stop the invasion?

Because Ukraine is not a part of NATO, the members can’t send in troops to support them. One way other countries are helping them is by sending in supplies such as ammunition, tanks, and materials. Sanctions, or a penalty imposed by a country against another for disobeying a law or rule, have been imposed on the Russian government to further stop Russia from continuing its conquest by not allowing it to get its money that it has left in banks across the world.

What can be done to help/support Ukraine?

Many of you have seen the posters being hung up in the hallway about protecting Ukraine. A few ways to support them are:

  1. Donate money to organizations who can direct them to people in need.
  2. Participate in Dollar Dress days that support Ukraine. This can also include other community or school events.
  3. Show support by purchasing a Ukrainian flag or make a poster to hang in the hallway.
  4. Read and share verified information and use trustworthy news sources.
  5. Bring awareness by telling others how to help.