Russia Ukraine Conflict


NBC News

An explosion inside of Ukraine during the Russian invasion.

Sophia Cooper, Staff Writer

   Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 23 going into the early morning of Feb. 24, 2022, and reports quickly piled up claiming that cities were being targeted with missiles and bombs causing mass civilian casualties. 

   The Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba Tweeted to report Russian movements, “Putin has just launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Peaceful Ukrainian cities are under strikes. This is a war of aggression. Ukraine will defend itself and will win. The world can and must stop Putin. The time to act is now.” The attack and violence began with repeated missile strikes and other artillery and has been reported in multiple cities. Russia is attacking Ukraine from three sides, by both land and sea. This invasion may be one of the first major conflicts in Europe since WWII. 

   Ukrainians are fleeing the country or going to shelters anywhere they can find safety. Streets are crowded and there is chaos everywhere. According to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grand over 50,000 citizens have fled the country. Citizens who are staying and planning to fight for their country have been taking up arms and moving to bunkers where they will receive their orders. Over 18,000 weapons have been distributed over Kyiv and men ages 18-60 have been banned from leaving the country. Ukraine has been fighting back. Reports show that Ukrainian forces and Russian forces have been fighting around a bridge and the Ukrainian forces have been successful at pushing the Russians back. In addition, geological reports have shown that a Russian military airfield near the Ukrainian border has been struck with at least one missile.

   Many people in Russia have been arrested after protesting Russian military action in Ukraine. “Under the law, without following the appropriate procedures, these citizens do not have the right to organize protest actions in order to express their point of view,” Russia said on a call with foreign journalists. According to CNN, “The UN Human Rights office said it is also disturbed by the multiple arbitrary arrests of demonstrators in Russia who were protesting against war yesterday. We understand more than 1,800 protesters were arrested. It is unclear whether some have now been released.” Similar protests have occurred in other cities such as London, Paris, Berlin and others. 

   Multiple NATO countries have expressed their concerns and issued warnings and some have even implemented consequences against Russia if this invasion proceeds any further. “Who in the Lord’s name does Putin think gives him the right to declare new so-called countries on territory that belonged to his neighbors? This is a flagrant violation of international law and demands a firm response from the international community,” U.S. President Joe Biden said in a press conference. The U.S. has moved some of its troops to other NATO countries including Poland but has not sent troops to Ukraine. Germany has made it clear that they support Ukraine and they have stepped up air-policing in Romania.

   Pope Francis met with the Russian ambassador to express his concerns over Ukraine. Ukraine has appealed to Turkey and asked its leaders to block Russian warships. Turkey has responded saying that it is unable to meet that request because of a clause in the Montreux Convention that allows vessels to return to their home base. The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv has warned its citizens in Ukraine about the danger repeatedly and called on them to leave immediately. 

   On Feb. 24 the Ukrainian Prime Minister Tweeted, “Horrific Russian rocket strikes on Kyiv. Last time our capital experienced anything like this was in 1941 when it was attacked by Nazi Germany. Ukraine defeated that evil and will defeat this one. Stop Putin. Isolate Russia. [Sever] all ties. Kick Russia out of [everywhere].”

   It became known on Feb. 25 that Russian forces have taken over a nuclear power plant in Chernobyl and have taken its staff hostage. Russia took over the plant on the first day of the invasion. The White House has been notified and is aware of the situation. “This unlawful and dangerous hostage taking, which could upend the routine civil service efforts required to maintain and protect the nuclear waste facilities, is obviously incredibly alarming and greatly concerning,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a press conference Thursday evening.

   After the second day of the full scale invasion, the Ukrainian President announced that 137 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed and 316 soldiers have been wounded. Ukraine has also said that it has inflicted over 800 casualties over Russian forces. Zelinsky said that he is “target number 1” to Russia and his family is “target number 2.”

   Ukraine gained its independence on Aug. 24, 1991 after the Soviet Union was dissolved. Over the years of its independence Ukraine and Russia have had a complicated relationship and have disputes often. In 2014 Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine after Ukraine and Russia reached an agreement.