By: Viharika Penmetsa
On Thursday, February 24, 2022, the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, launched a large-scale invasion of Ukraine. He claims the Russian military seeks “demilitarization and denazification” but not occupation. But many believe the reason for this war is that Russia does not want Ukraine to join the NATO forces as it will pose a threat to their country.
Russia claims that the former president Gorbbachev was promised by NATO that they would not move to the east of Europe. But European countries such as he Baltic Republics, Poland, Romania and Lithuania who used to be associated with the Soviet Union joined NATO. Russia believed the treaty was broken and this was imposed as a security threat to their country. Addition to this they feel that Ukraine, a country that can exert its influence, will join NATO, which has not happened. Putin is trying to do everything in his power to make sure this does not happen.
Since the start of the attack at least 67 towns and cities in Ukraine have been hit with fighting and bombings. They have yet to capture Kiev, the capital of Ukraine or any other major cities. The Ukraine army is not holding back and has created a strong defense against Russia.
“It’s amazing to see that Ukraine has held on for this long and has fought back for their country. It’s empowering to see so many men and women not give hope for their country’s future,” said Tanisha Panda (‘23).
Many Ukraines have decided to stay in the country and fight back. President Zelensky has also refused to evacuate from Kivy to a safer location. Many people around the world are applauding his demonstration of bravery and courage. According to CNN, President Zelenksy turned down offers to evacuate from Ukraine offered by the United States stating “The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride.”
“I think the people in Ukraine are showing immense bravery by not giving up and staying to fight in the war even though they aren’t trained to do so. President Zelensky especially is showing true courage by staying in his country and not abandoning his people to fight even though he knows he might be killed if they capture the country,” Dharana Alilaikannan (‘23) said.
Zelensky has asked NATO and other countries to aid Ukraine in this war by implementing harsh sanctions on Russia and providing them with arms and military aid. Countries such as the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Poland, and all the NATO countries have imposed harsh sanctions on Russia to try to cut them off economically.
According to the United Nations, almost 3 million people have fled Ukraine. Refugees are crossing to neighboring countries such as Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary and Moldova.
Tetyana Vlasenko and her family were trying to escape Ukraine to the border in their car when Russian troops stopped them and repeatedly shot them. She had 12 bullet wounds to her legs and had begged nearby Russian officers to help her. She claims that the Russian army believe that everyone in Ukraine were Nazi’s. “I’m sorry for doing this but we have an order to shoot everything that is moving, and you cannot imagine how many cars like this we have full of Nazis who are trying to bomb us,” said a Russian officer to her. Her husband and daughter were both shot in the legs also. Miraculously the entire family had survived this horrific incident and were taken to the hospital to recover. Many people trying to flee were killed on the streets in Ukraine. People say they see dead bodies all over the streets.
Everyone around the world is raising money to help people in Ukraine. Medical supplies and direct financial assistance are largely what the Russian government is seeking.“This is a horrific situation. I don’t think anyone believed a war like this would actually happen. I pray and hope that this ends soon and the Ukraine people finally get the peace and independence they deserve”, said Kamila Brito (‘23).