Russia deploys troops into Ukraine

Sydney Kaul, Editor-in-Chief

Up until 2014, Ukraine was led by pro-Russian president, Viktor Fedorovych. He supported Putin and maintained rather good relations. For that reason, there was no conflict between Ukraine and Russia. In 2014, he was overthrown and replaced by Ukraine’s current democratic president, Volodymyr Zelensky. When Zelensky took office in 2014, he established Ukraine as a single party that could common absolute control over the legislative agenda. 

Since Zelensky took office, Ukraine’s relations with Russia have diminished. In attempt to justify Russia’s attempts to invade, Putin has declared that Russia aims to free Ukraine of oppression and cleanse the people of Nazi’. However, Zelensky himself is Jewish, so those justifications have failed to achieve Putin much support.

Late in 2021, Russia began deploying its troops to Ukraine’s borders, while consistently denying any accusations of an attack. Russia has resisted Ukraine’s desire and movement towards European nations as well as the European and the West’s military alliance, NATO. 

Russia is seeking to take over Ukraine and is beginning by seizing large cities, such as Ukraine’s capital Kyiv. On February 24, 2022, Russia launched an attack from the north, south, and east. Russia’s attempt to invade and occupy Kyiv has been stalled due to strong Ukrainian resistance. 

Currently, Crimea, Kherson, Mariupol, Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkivo, the northeastern section of Ukraine are under Russian control. Each and every day, Russia is advancing closer and closer to Kyiv. 

On March 4, 2022, Zelensky accused Russia of intentionally firing at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. The power plant went up unto flames following heavy shelling from Russian forces. The power plant has not sustained any critical or threatening damages, and radiation levels are still normal. 

In a recent Facebook post, Zelensky shared “There are 15 nuclear reactors in Ukraine. If one of them blows, that’s the end for everyone, that’s the end of Europe.”

This startling statement was a part of Zelensky’s greater attempt at trying to prove the severity and urgency of this situation to fellow European leaders. He urges them to “wake up now”, explaining that he feels they must get involved now before this conflict turns into a nuclear disaster for the entire world. 

In response to allegations that Russia intentionally targeted these power plants and shelled evacuation routes, Putin issued a series of threats against Ukraine and Western powers on March 5, 2022.  Ukrainian authorities announced that thousands of civilians remain trapped in southeastern cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha as Russian forces are begin accused of refusing to pause fire to allow safe passage out. 

In a recent meeting with Russian flight crew members, Putin declared that Western sanctions were the “equivalent of a declaration of war” and he would soon consider countries imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine as “participants in a military conflict”. Zelensky pleaded NATO officials to impose this no-fly zone over Ukraine as it would present Russia from carrying out airstrikes. However, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that the NATO alliance was not even considering declaring a no-fly zone as an option. For further reasoning behind this decision, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken explained that establishing a no-fly zone would most likely lead to a full war in Europe.