Russia Declares War & Invades Ukraine
Just a few hours ago, Russia invaded its neighbor to the west, Ukraine. Certainly, this has been a long anticipated invasion. Historically, the relationship between Russia and Ukraine has been contentious at best since 2014, when Russia invaded and annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea. According to reports, there are three main areas of invasion from Russia, Belarus and Crimea. To understand why Russia is invading Ukraine, we first must look at the history of the region.
Russia has felt threatened for many years since Poland and Romania (both nations border Russia) joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO. NATO was created in on April 4, 1949 as a military pack designed to deter future Soviet (Russian) aggression in Europe. After the former Soviet Union broke apart in December of 1991, NATO remained.
It is important to note that, while NATO and the United Nations often work in tandem, they are two completely separate groups. An easy way to think of them is that the United Nations handles the diplomacy. NATO, on the other hand, handles the military operations when that diplomacy breaks down. Since 1991, NATO has grown to 30 member states.
Recently Ukraine has been making moves to join NATO as the 31st member state. Above all, this would directly threaten Russia’s position as the dominant regional power and grow western influence in the region. As such, as Russia began to build up its military on its border with Ukraine, and made demands that the Ukraine not be allowed into NATO. Important to note, this demand was refused. Ukraine was allowed to continue their actions towards joining NATO. Therefore, Russia believed it was left with no other option than to declare war on Ukraine.
President of Russia Vladmir Putin has adopted a no-nonsense unyielding attitude about Ukraine. It is clear he will use whatever means he deems necessary to occupy Ukraine and absorb it into Russia.
“Whoever tries to stand in our way or create threats for our country and people should know Russia’s response will be immediate and lead you to consequences you have never encountered in your history.”Vladmir Putin, President of Russia
As of now, casualty numbers are unknown. However, there are already reports of fighting along the border and missile and artillery strikes in major Ukrainian citIes like Odessa, and its capital Kyiv. Consequently, according to President Biden, there will be no U.S. military response, but rather heavy sanctions on Russia, and on Russian President Vladimir Putin himself. It is highly doubtful that these sanctions will have any success in changing Putin’s decision to declare war and invade the Ukraine.
“President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering. Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way. The world will hold Russia accountable.”President of the United States Joseph Biden
Subsequently, the attack has also drawn strong rebuke from leaders around the world.
“Russia’s attack on Ukraine is tantamount to an attack on the [United Nations] and every member state in the chamber tonight.”Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
This is a developing story, and Elk Grove Tribune will continue updates on this.