By Bridie Strowe – Bolger ’25
Diplomatic tensions continue to build as Putin’s desire to rebuild the old Russia threatens Ukraine. Many of us have heard the words ‘Ukraine’, ‘Russia’, and ‘invade’ in the news, but what do they actually mean? What is their significance? Although he hasn’t outwardly said his full intentions, most likely out of strategy, Putin fears the west’s influence over certain modern republics in eastern Europe, such as Latvia, Estonia, and Belarus. Many of these countries enjoy the freedoms of speech and elections, things that are deprived from Russian citizens. This fact, combined with Putin’s track record of being a nostalgic revisionist, is very dangerous for Ukraine.
There are currently 130,000 Russian troops waiting for action on the Ukrainian border, their intentions unconfirmed. The west is scrambling to maintain relative peace in the area, with talks hosted primarily by Germany, France, and the US. After talks with Putin in the past week, the Biden Administration has made several warnings against Russia’s possible weaponization of energy. This action would aid their untouchability by the west in the context of an armed conflict with Ukraine.
What would the invasion of Ukraine achieve? Putin believes Ukraine to be a central piece of the old soviet union, which analysts believe he is attempting to rebuild. With the military power of Russia hanging over their heads, the west is left with no choice but to attempt a de-escalation via diplomacy. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stated how it is a “Damned duty to prevent a war in Europe”, acknowledging Putin’s desire to expand Russia into the west along with its government style.
The French ambassador to Russia claims diplomatic relations in the effort of peace have been “Completely successful”. However, Ukrainian citizens remain diligent, even going so far as to create a civilian army in an attempted preparation for the Russian invasion. Civilians have been using wooden cutouts as place-holders for guns for the duration of their training.
There are many differing Ukrainian opinions on this crisis, but the majority believes war is unnecessary. Some civilians are willing to enlist if another world war is on the way (A sentiment several experts believe to be a real possibility). Many believe peace to still be possible, it is certainly the most desireable, but with Putin’s recent orders to advance troops, the situation doesn’t look very good.
Update, February 24, 2022: A lack of airspace activity over Ukraine was observed by ADS-B Exchange indicates a European preparation for dangerous armed conflict in the area. In addition, almost 400 instances of Russian shelling have been reported by Ukrainian authorities. Moscow residents woke up this morning, met with extreme confusion regarding the beginning of the most recent serious war in world history. The European Union expects to hit Russia and the Kremlin with more sanctions, but as of right now, further actions are unknown. This conflict is expected to be equivalent to a modernized version of World War II.
Further updates are provided by CNN via this link.
*Note: This article was written in late February 2022, the situation may have changed since this time.