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World Responds to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

Jeremy Andrew, contributor

Photo of Anti-War rally in support of Ukraine taken on Feb. 26 2022, obtained from Wikimedia Commons

On Feb. 24, shortly before 6 a.m. Moscow time, Vladimir Putin announced the launch of a “special military operation” in eastern Ukraine. Since then, an estimate of between three and five thousand people, including at least 352 civilians, were killed, in the largest military conflict in Europe since World War II.

Putin laid out his rationale for invading Ukraine in a text published in July of 2021 titled “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians,” where he claimed that Russians and Ukrainians are “one people,” and that the creation of Ukraine after the fall of the USSR was a mistake. Putin has also claimed that the invasion is a response to rising far-right nationalism, Nazism and aggressive, even genocidal, Russophobia in Ukraine. 

Currently there is a convoy of Russian tanks and military vehicles sitting twenty miles north of the Ukrainian capital city Kyiv, raising the possibility that Moscow will try to encircle the capital. Senior US defense officials have also speculated that the convoy near Kyiv could be part of a “self-determined sort of pause in operations.” However, this pause does come after the Russian defense ministry threatened to strike security service facilities and a special operations unit located in Kyiv, and after a deadly strike on Kyiv’s main radio and TV tower.

The recent aggressions in Ukraine can be seen as an escalation of Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, which empowered pro-Russian Ukrainians in the Donbas region. This led to Russia recognizing Luhansk and Donetsk as breakaway states. The United States and its allies responded to the annexation with the largest array of sanctions since the fall of the USSR. 

In 2014, the sanctions imposed by the west were largely political and targeted individuals, whereas the sanctions imposed by the U.S. and its allies following the most recent aggressions in Ukraine have been aimed at inflicting as much damage to the Russian economy as possible. Russia’s key role is providing oil and natural gas to Europe could cause the pressure the west is exerting on Russia to return home and many western firms and investments are suffering too. In addition to sanctions Biden has promised to aid in Ukraine’s resistance by supplying weapons, supplies and humanitarian aid.

Many anti-war protests sprung up across Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other Russian cities, in response to Russia’s attack and now war on Ukraine. As many as 4,000 people have been arrested by Russian forces for protesting the war. According to AP News, many Russian officials are justifying these arrests by saying the protestors are only caring “about momentary problems.” 

Information in this article has been updated as far as Thursday March 3, 2022. As this conflict continues to develop daily, the Echo encourages all readers to stay up to date with this conflict as it progresses.