Writer: Sarah Kapesa
Editor: Veronica Yung
Graphic Designer and Illustrator: Heidi Wong
Although February 21st is marked as the official start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Russia’s involvement and attempts to overthrow Ukrainian democracy can be traced back as far as their annexation of Crimea in 2014. Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, was quoted saying that the potential of Ukraine joining NATO was “a hostile act toward Russia,” as Russia would essentially be completely encircled by NATO forces both geographically and in terms of military strength. However, despite the misinformation and fear-mongering within the media, there is one clear piece of information: this invasion was not a surprise attack. According to many U.S. intelligence reports, Vladimir Putin had likely been planning this attack for months.
Many have heard the phrase “NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] will not be helping Ukraine.” Though this phrase is horrifying and heartbreaking, it is a necessary step to ensure that this conflict does not bleed into a much larger and deadlier Third World War. A hypothetical war could prove disastrous as, unlike other wars raging across the globe, this one would include nuclear powers. This is especially tangible through Russia’s constant threat of nuclear warfare and other “serious military consequences'' in the case of international intervention into their invasion of Ukraine. Moreover, Ukraine not being a NATO nation means that there is no actual need for NATO forces to get involved. Article 5 of NATO States that “if a NATO Ally is the victim of an armed attack, each and every other member of the Alliance will consider this act of violence as an armed attack against all members and will take the actions it deems necessary to assist the Ally attacked.”
Internationally, there has been a clearly pro-Ukraine sentiment in nations and their leaders. The EU, despite not being able to physically engage in the conflict, has donated 500 million euros to the Ukrainian military in order to fund better arms and other military equipment or development. The banks of both Russia and its ally Belarus, have been blocked from accessing the SWIFT international payment system, meaning they have been financially cut off on a global scale and are no longer able to withdraw money. Some Asian nations such as Japan and South Korea have placed harsh financial and military equipment sanctions, as well as a tightened control of exports that could benefit the Russian agenda.
The UN representative of Kenya, Martin Kimani, delivered an electrifying speech on this issue, memorably stating:
“At independence, had we chosen to pursue states on the basis of ethnic, racial, or religious homogeneity, we would still be waging bloody wars these many decades later. Instead, we agreed that we would settle for the borders that we inherited, but we would still pursue continental political, economic, and legal integration. Rather than form nations that looked ever backward into history with a dangerous nostalgia, we chose to look forward to a greatness none of our many nations and peoples had ever known.”
Clearly, the international community stands behind Ukraine, perhaps not in terms of physical fighting, but their military aid as well as their economic sanctions on Russia have served to apply more pressure on the Nation and hopefully aid Ukraine to stand against Russia.
Since February 24, there have been anti-war protests within Russia as well as a growing civilian rebellion in Ukraine. The protestors in Russia were arrested and detained. Nevertheless, civilians are still taking to the streets in order to protest Russia’s war on Ukraine. However, it is also important to recognize that the protests stated are simply one in a few, and may or may not accurately reflect the emotional feelings of a majority of the Russian population during this time.
Kyiv’s vitality against Russian attacks gives hope that they will be able to withstand the Russian invasion. Domestic rebellions in Ukraine serve to slow down the Russian invasion and also contradict Putin’s claims that many in Ukraine want to be reattached to the state of Russia.
Nevertheless, we must all be proactive in aiding Ukraine and its citizens during this tough and trying time. Here are 9 nonprofit organizations that are already engaged in relief efforts in Ukraine and are known for being financially efficient and transparent, according to CNBC:
Providing medical supplies and services:
International Medical Corps
Providing non-Medical Supplies:
Save the Children
Getting clean water and sanitation:
Convoy of Hope