Russia and Ukraine: What has happened and What’s Next

Smoke+rises+in+Kharkiv%2C+the+northeastern+city+of+Ukraine

Twitter/ahmerkhan

Smoke rises in Kharkiv, the northeastern city of Ukraine

Miles Yui and Rowan Stock

Events Leading up to the Invasion

In November 2021, Satellite images show 100,000 Russian troops building up on the Ukrainian border along with other military weapons. This alarmed Joe Biden and sparked a theory that Russia might be planning to invade Ukraine. Biden warned Russia that there will be economic sanctions if they start an invasion. On December 7, NATO ceased all military activity in eastern Europe and Ukraine and said that they will never accept Ukraine or any other former Soviet nations as members. Also, NATO put forces on standby and reinforced their troops in eastern Europe, as well as the United States, in total putting 8,500 troops on alert. On January 27, 2022, Biden warned of a likely Russian invasion in February, and China backed Russia up by telling the US that their legitimate security concerns should be taken seriously. On January 28, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that The Russian Capital, Moscow, has not received its security demands, and the Ukrainian President requests that the West avoid creating panic. This is because large-scale panic could negatively affect Ukraine’s economy.  3 days later, The U.S. and Russia fought over the Ukraine situation at a UN security council meeting. US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the council a Russian invasion of Ukraine would threaten security all around the world. Despite the rest of the world’s opinion, Putin still denied planning an invasion of Ukraine even as he continued to build up troops on the border. On February 6, Russia had 70 percent of the troops stationed at Ukraine’s border that they would need to launch a full-scale invasion. Soon after, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Russian FM Sergey Lavrov spoke to each other during a meeting. Lavrov described this meeting as a conversation between a “mute and deaf person.” During the following days, supplies were shipped to Russia and many of U.S. president Joe Biden’s advisors believed a full-scale invasion of Ukraine could begin in days. Then, on February 24, 2022, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of eastern Ukraine and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky cut all diplomatic ties with Russia. 

Events After the Start of the Invasion

Ukrainians flee from a bombed building in Chuhuiv (ALEX LOURIE OF REDUX PICTURES)

On February 26, some of Ukraine’s western allies announced new sanctions, including restrictions on Russia’s central bank. As of March 1st, more than 400 missiles have been launched on critical infrastructure like airports. Efforts to stop the fighting have so far failed, and Russia has continued to insist that a cease-fire would require demilitarization. So far, more than 2,000 civilians have been killed, according to Ukrainian officials and 11,000 Russian troops have been killed. 

Thousands of Ukrainian civilians of all ages are enlisting to fight the war, and 1.5 million citizens of Ukraine have fled to Poland and other neighboring countries. The invasion has impacted millions of civilians and will increase oil and food prices in the United States, causing rapid inflation.