To understand what’s happening between Russia and Ukraine, we need to take a look at the past. The USSR or Union of the Soviet Socialist Republic also known as the Soviet Union was the largest country in the world. It is comprised of fifteen current-day countries including Ukraine. The Soviet Union was formed in 1922 and collapsed in 1991. After that Russia and Ukraine have never been on good terms and the situation started getting worse in early 2021 when the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky asked Joe Biden, the President of the United States to let Ukraine join NATO.
What is NATO?
NATO stands for North Atlantic Treaty organization which is also known as the North Atlantic Alliance. It was founded in 1949 in the aftermath of World War Two. Its purpose was to secure peace in Europe, promote cooperation among its members, and guard their freedom. The threat that the Soviet Union posed was a major factor that lead to its creation.
Ukraine and NATO
Ukraine is not a part of NATO but has been waiting to become a member since 2008. Ukraine seemed to be forming a relationship and becoming friendlier with the Western part of the world through NATO and the European Union. This instilled fear in Russia as they could be surrounded by a hostile force of NATO.
Ukraine started developing and transforming its government on the lines of other European countries. In a television address on 24th, January Putin stated his country could not feel "safe, develop and exist" because of what he said was a constant threat from modern Ukraine.
In December 2021 itself, thousands of Russian troops had been deployed to Ukrainian borders. The Russian government issued a list of demands which included a guarantee that NATO will not make Ukraine a member country. This demand was denied by the United States. Donetsk and Luhansk of the Donbas region were a part of Ukraine but decided to break away in 2014. The Ukrainian government said that these two regions were being led by Russian-backed terrorists. President Putin recognized the two as independent territories and first sent troops to these areas and claimed to do that only to maintain peace. Days after recognizing the territories Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The invasion began in the eastern Ukrainian territory of Donbas. Zelensky declared martial law in Ukraine and officially broke all ties with Russia.
Russia has an overpowering advantage when it comes to military power. The Ukrainian army wasn’t going to be able to protect their country.
President Zelensky announced that all citizens capable of handling firearms would be provided with one and would be allowed to fight for their country. Other NATO countries have also come to Ukraine’s aid and have been sending weapons to Ukraine. These countries have condemned Russia’s actions and have imposed sanctions that will impact Russia’s economy making them financially unstable.
Impacts of the invasion-
4,500 Russian soldiers have been killed according to Zelensky.
Moscow stock exchange did not open on 28th February.
Many Ukrainians have had to flee from their homes to countries like Ireland and Poland have opened their borders.
US, EU, UK, Japan, Canada, Taiwan, and New Zealand imposed sanctions against Russia that targeted banks, military exports, and oil refineries.
The value of the Russian ruble has been weakening and is constantly fluctuating along with its stock market.
European countries have started banning Russian planes from entering their airspaces. Virgin Atlantic and British Airways rerouted their flights around Russia after London and Moscow banned each other’s airlines after Ukraine’s invasion.
On 28th February Russian and Ukrainian delegates met at the border between Ukraine and Belarus. If the war seems to escalate, disaster and human suffering will increase. The world hopes that these two countries will reach an agreement and that peace will be restored diplomatically.
Authored by: Vedika Bajaj
Edited by: Shivani Arvind