Russia Attacks Ukraine

T-72B3+Tanks+of+the+Tank+Force+of+the+Russian+Western+Military+District+Conduct+Field+Firing+at+Kadamovsky+Range%2C+Russia%2C+Feb.+3%2C+2022

T-72B3 Tanks of the Tank Force of the Russian Western Military District Conduct Field Firing at Kadamovsky Range, Russia, Feb. 3, 2022

Jason Sherpa

Previous to the Russian full scale military invasion of Ukraine, there had been lots of tension in Eastern Ukraine. The annexation of Crimea, and the Russian backed Donbas region of Eastern Ukraine that had seen lots of fighting since 2014. This fighting resulted in the deaths of 14,000 of Both Separatist and Ukrainian forces, and Civilians due to indiscriminate artillery shelling. NATO and Russian militarism did not help ease tensions either. After the U.S and Ukraine signed a Charter on Strategic Partnership on November 10, Russia became very agitated since this meant that it was very likely for Ukraine to join NATO. 

NATO or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed in 1949 after the end of WW2, and its main goal was to protect the U.S and its European allies from the threat of Soviet expansion with article five, which is the rule that “If a NATO member country is invaded then it will be seen as an invasion of all member countries and henceforth, action will be taken against it.” (BusinessToday.in). NATO has 30 members, some of them are the US, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, France, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey. After the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, its 12 former Republics Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan declared their independence. Now that Ukraine, one of the Soviet Union’s largest former republics, expressed interest in joining NATO. Russia, which was the most powerful state in the former Soviet Union, was angered. Vladimir Putin the President of Russia said “We won’t move one inch towards the East they told us, and what happened they deceived us they brazenly tricked us.” Although this statement’s validity is questioned, Putin was referring to NATO and the West’s expansion into the East. Russia sees NATO as the expansion of U.S power and influence in the East and the depletion of Russian power and influence. If Ukraine joins NATO the West’s overwhelming military strength will be on Russia’s borders and Russia will be encircled. The same month Ukraine and the U.S signed the Charter on Strategic Partnership the world became aware of the Russian Military buildup on the Ukrainian Border, Russia continued to amass its troops and moving heavy equipment to the border creating lots of fear and tension in Europe and around the world. After many failed attempts to de-escalate the situation diplomatically. Putin declared on February 24 that Russia could not feel “safe, develop and exist” because of what he claimed was a constant threat from modern Ukraine ‘(BBC). Russia then launched a full scale military invasion on Ukraine to  “demilitarize” and “deNazify” Ukraine.

As Russian troops continue their advance into Ukraine they are facing very heavy resistance from the Ukrainian army, as a result the Russian military has now started to become more brutal. Artillery strikes and bombings have become ever so indiscriminate, resulting in the destruction of hospitals, schools, residential buildings, etc (PBS).  Russia’s main goal is to get rid of the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zeleznskyy that is close with the west and place a Russian friendly or Pro Russian leader in power, but “Even if he can put one in place in Ukraine, there will be uprisings,” says Mai’a Cross (Financial Review), and it is hard to imagine controlling the seconds largest country in Europe with a population of over 44 million people, it would require a massive military presence that would face constant guerrilla style warfare. This is all an attempt by Russia to increase their declining influence and stop NATO expansion into Eastern Europe.