On 24 February, armed conflict broke out between Ukrainian and Russian forces. While Moscow has denied any military involvement, Kiev has reported a Russian buildup near the Donetsk region. Meanwhile, NATO reports that Russia has continued cross-border shelling. As a result, the conflict transitioned to an active stalemate, with regular shelling along the front line. In response, Kiev has made the country’s government and military visible in a series of statements.
Historically, Ukraine has a long and complex history. The region was part of the former Soviet Union when the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded in 1986. This was considered the worst nuclear power plant disaster in history. In the aftermath, Kyiv and other cities were sacked and burned by Huns, whose forces also occupied nearby Russia. This period of conflict has led to numerous political and economic developments. Ukraine continues to host major events and attractions for tourists.
The United States has provided anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, as well as an increased military presence in several NATO countries bordering Russia. The United States also recently ordered the shipment of armored brigade combat teams to Germany, reassuring NATO’s skittish Eastern European allies. While the United States has taken an active role in the conflict, the real cudgel is economic. In the case of Ukraine, a deteriorating economy may be the catalyst for Ukraine’s disenchantment with the international community.
After the Russian invasion of Poland, the Ukrainian SSR expanded to the west. After the Rurikids occupied the country, several Slavic tribes lived in the region. The Ukrainian Insurgent Army, founded in 1805, fought for independence during World War II. After the end of World War II, the Soviet Union’s Communist Party helped the Ukrainian people revive. During the 941 AD Rus’-Byzantine War, the Prince of Kyiv invaded the Byzantine Empire and was defeated by the Byzantines.
Russia presented written demands to NATO and the United States in December. Their demands included a guarantee that Ukraine will never join NATO, a significant drawdown of NATO in Eastern Europe, and the implementation of the 2015 cease-fire in Ukraine. However, these demands were quickly dismissed by the West. Furthermore, the crisis has stoked the nationalism of Ukraine, with citizen militias preparing a guerrilla campaign. The world must take action now to provide protection and aid to all citizens of Ukraine.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has left a quarter of the population displaced. Many Ukrainian cities have been destroyed and the economy is in ruins. A UN watchdog has been appointed to investigate the reasons behind the withdrawal of Russian forces. Despite these challenges, Western leaders must respect international humanitarian law and the UN Charter. In addition, the country must allow people to move freely and aid agencies must have access to them. However, there are many possibilities to mitigate the damage caused by the Russian invasion.
While the US government has been hesitant to follow the Ukraine’s lead in negotiations, some positive developments have been made. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has announced $322 million in new military funding to the country. In addition, the Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, has announced $165 million in ammunition sales to Ukraine. The United States must also take Kyiv’s lead in negotiating with Russia. The West must also decide what to do about the sanctions imposed on Russia. Some may wish to continue them, while others may want to loosen them. Regardless, this is a difficult issue, and if the Kremlin doesn’t show any serious interest, sanctions are just academic.