OPINION: Russia’s Invasion On Ukraine: Explained

By: Kyle Williams

On the 24th of February 2022, Russian troops crossed the south, north, and east of Ukrainian borders, causing it to be the biggest escalation of military advancement since World War 2. As of the writing of this article, at least 23,000 civilians have been killed from bombings, causing over 4 million people to migrate west of the Ukrainian border in search of refuge and safety. 

With the invasion going on for weeks now the only question that seems to be looming over us is, what is Putin’s end goal?

And is it so important that it can be at the cost of his own country and possibly the beginning of the third world war?

Still, there are no definitive answers for the reason for this invasion as Putin continues to bombard civilian areas and tighten his grip on mass media and protests. What we are seeing as of now is the continuation of the Russo-Ukrainian War that started in 2014. Ukraine was once a part of the Soviet Union, a communist state until 1991. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and calls for independence, 92% of Ukrainians voted in a national referendum to secede from the fallen Soviet Union.

Since then, Ukraine has struggled with a weak economy and foreign policy that often wavers between pro-Russian and pro-European agendas with the internal divides between the more pro-European population of western Ukraine and the relatively more pro-Russian east.

After furthering tensions between Ukraine and Russia, Putin invaded and annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. Then, Russia-backed separatists captured the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk declaring them republics, independent of Ukraine. Fearing the likelihood of Ukraine joining NATO and the European Union,  Putin sees the current government as a Western puppet that serves Russia’s geopolitical rivals; he has previously emphasized his view that Ukraine is part of Russia, culturally, linguistically, and politically.

While some of the mostly Russian-speaking population in Ukraine’s east feel the same, a more nationalist, Ukrainian-speaking population in the west has historically supported greater integration with Europe. 

Since the invasion of Ukraine, anti-war protests have broken out around the world, including in Russia, despite the risk of arrest, as neighboring nations such as Poland open their borders for over 4 million refugees attempting to flee Ukraine from the risk of bombardment. Due to a fear of further escalation by Russia, NATO’s response force has been activated for the first time in history as the US sends additional troops to Europe. But many countries are treading carefully regarding responding to Russia’s invasion as Putin controls one of the world’s largest arsenal of nuclear weapons, and is already threatening to actively use them if any foreign nations interfere.

DISCLAIMER: This article is a student’s opinion. It is not necessarily an opinion that is representative of the Golden Falcon editorial team or Forest Hill Collegiate as a whole.

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