Why is Ukrainian-Russian War Happening and What It Means for All of Us
Ukraine, a peaceful European democracy, was attacked by air, land, and sea in the pre-dawn hours of February 24. Russia launched its military forces from its own borders, allied Belarus, and the occupied Crimean Peninsula, targeting residential and administrative areas of big cities and aiming to encircle the capital of Ukraine – Kyiv. Within the first hours, thousands of civilians took flight to safety into the West.
This shook Europe and made countries fear for the security of the entire continent. Judging from the fact that not only major news outlets but also people on social media and even college essay writers have temporarily forgotten about COVID, climate change, and social justice issues, this war is indeed perceived by many as a dangerous precedent and a major global threat.
Why Has Russian-Ukrainian War Started?
For months, at the Russian border with Ukraine Russian troops have been gathering under the pretext of “maneuvers” and “drills.” The European Community has been concerned, but Russian President Vladimir Putin denied he would attack.
However, not everyone was optimistic. Ukraine has been suffering from a slow-burn war for 8 years. It started back in 2014 when the pro-Russian President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, was dethroned by people unhappy about him stalling the Euro-integration. Russia reacted by annexing Crimea and backing separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, allowing them to proclaim their self-styled “republics” and enter into an armed conflict with Ukrainian Armed Forces. Many feared it was only a matter of time when Putin would recognize the entities and send troops to “protect their sovereignty.”
This is exactly what happened. Mr. Putin has recognized the areas as independent. However, his pretext for the war was even more bizarre than protecting those regions. He declared that the power in Ukraine was seized by the Nazis, subjecting the ethnically Russian population to oppression and genocide. He also claimed that Russia cannot “be safe, develop, and exist” because it is threatened by Ukraine.
For anyone not wholly enthralled by Kremlin propaganda, the absurdity of these statements is evident. Ukraine’s democratically elected President Volodymyr Zelensky is Jewish and has ancestors who fought Nazis in World War 2 and died in the Holocaust.
Meanwhile, the Russian-speaking population of eastern Ukraine showed fearless resistance to the invaders, stopping advancing tanks with Molotov cocktails, farm equipment, and even their bare hands and telling baffled Russian soldiers to go home in their native tongue.
As for the threat to safety, Ukraine has no nuclear weapons. In 1994, it gave up what weapons it inherited from the Soviet Union. It signed Budapest Memorandum in return for security assurances from Russia, Britain, and the United States. Meanwhile, Russia has remained a nuclear power. So, what kind of threat could Ukraine pose?
Why Does Russia Want Ukraine?
It’s evident that the Russian-Ukraine war, persistently dubbed by Mr. Putin as a “special operation,” has a different purpose than the “demilitarization and de-Nazification of Ukraine.” The insight might be found in an editorial piece published by the RIA News agency on February 26. It prematurely congratulated Putin with victory and was quickly taken down, but its copy is still available on the Internet Archive website. The pompous article lauded Putin for finally “solving the Ukraine problem” and “returning Ukraine to Russia through military action,” thus restoring Russia to its “historical fullness.”
As linguistic analysts from WowEssays have pointed out, the rhetoric of the article by one Piotr Akopov echoes the lengthy essay penned by no other than Vladimir Putin himself last year. In that piece, Russians and Ukrainians are called “one nation” that was tragically disintegrated with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Putin also claimed that modern Ukraine was the invention of the Bolsheviks and “not a real country.”
Putin dreams of resurrecting the Soviet Union (or rather Russian Empire). His objective is either to absorb the territory of Ukraine completely or install some kind of pro-Russian puppet regime. This sentiment isn’t necessarily shared by everyone in Russia that has seen a wave of protests in reaction to the war. Thousands have been detained, and the last independent media shut down in the state’s attempt to continue controlling the narrative.
How Far Has Been Russia Invading Ukraine?
As for Ukraine, it has shown its fierce resolution to fight for its freedom and self-determination. The blitzkrieg planned by President Putin has obviously failed meeting unprecedented and courageous resistance from Ukrainian Armed Forces and the local population alike.
When the plan to seize Kyiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city Kharkiv, or any significant town in several days has failed, Russian command has stooped to terrorist tactics. They have been shelling residential blocks, hospitals, and schools, cutting cities from water, power, and heating, in a bid to break the spirit of resistance. This, however, was met with even more ire and defiance, as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed to avenge every innocent victim and every child.
So far, the advancement of Russian troops at the East, North, and South of Ukraine has been stalled. However, the bombing of civilian objects and infrastructure continues. Ukrainian President and the people have been pleading NATO to close the sky and prevent further casualties among the peaceful population.
However, what is particularly disturbing for everyone in Europe and the entire world is that Russians have gained control over two nuclear power stations in Chornobyl and Zaporizhzhia. They have used bombs and artillery fire without even flinching at the risk of triggering a massive catastrophe. Now they use the objects as bargaining chips in cynical blackmail attempts. According to the PaperHelp review of the situation published in their blog, damage to any of these facilities “could result in a global-scale disaster.”
It’s evident that Russia wages war in Ukraine against the wider “West” it perceives as the enemy. If Putin isn’t stopped in his tracks right now, every democracy in Europe and beyond could be the next target.
You can do your bit in this fight for freedom. If you want to know more, follow the latest developments on the official Ukrainian website dedicated to the ongoing war. If you wish to support the valiant effort of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, you can donate here to the “Come Back Alive” charity fund. For contributing to humanitarian causes and other charities in support of Ukraine, head to this page. It is a fundraiser organized by Ukrainian business leaders to help the Ukrainian army and civilians suffering from the war.