War in Ukraine: Providing Context


A couple weeks ago, the world and Europe sat in peace until Russia, led by Vladamir Putin, invaded Ukraine. The first couple days of the invasion were numbing and no one could actually believe the post-WWII peace in Europe had been disrupted. Now, most if, not all have accepted the reality that Russia has invaded Ukraine, and it seems like–at least right now–-the end is far from over. 

The reasons behind the conflict in Ukraine are complicated. Some argue that it started with Russia invading and annexing Crimea back in 2014, but, in reality, the conflict goes far deeper than that. It all starts with the aftermath of WWII; by the end of the war, the Soviet Union had occupied and annexed all of modern day Ukraine, causing resentment by the Ukrainian people who resisted assimilation and largely kept their own culture. 

After the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine declared its independence.  Since that point, over the past 20 years or so, Ukraine has drawn closer to the US and Europe–meaning the country’s ideologies are further away from Russia. These events lead up to what is happening now: Russia wants  the land that they feel was lost and taken away from them. 

If they attempt to take away our country, our freedom, our lives, the lives of our children, we will defend ourselves. Not attack, defend.”

— Volodymer Zalensky

“By breaking his word, by refusing the diplomatic route, by choosing war, President Putin has not only attacked Ukraine.” French President Emmanuel Macron said in a public service announcement. “He has decided to carry out the most serious attack on peace, on stability in our Europe. To this act of war, we will respond without weakness, with composure, determination and unity.”

About three or four weeks ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed he was invading Ukraine on the reason of denazification, and he wanted Ukraine to be freed from the nazism and tyranny of the west. In response to this, Ukrainian president Volodymer Zalensky proclaimed that “if these forces attack us,if [they] attempt to take away our country, our freedom, our lives, the lives of our children, we will defend ourselves. Not attack, defend.

Over the course of the invasion, Russia has continued to bomb Ukraine to submission and has tried to occupy major population centers including Kyiv, Odessa, and Mariupol. To Russia’s surprise, Ukraine and their heavily-armed people are fighting back. Ukrainian citizens are making home-made bombs called Molotov Cocktails to throw at Russian soldiers. Also, what is fueling the war effort is every aged man from 18-60 is required to stay in the country while most women and children evacuate. Due to this, Ukrainian people and Europeans alike are uniting under one banner to stop Russia in its tracks. 

 The events of this ongoing war will change very quickly, whether it’s within days or hours. The world watches to see what is ahead. What is known already, however, is that no matter who “wins” this war, the consequences of this crisis will be seen for years to come.