Russia and Ukraine: The Run Down

Why Does Putin Want Ukraine?

In 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed. In 1991, Ukraine declared itself an independent country. And in 1991, “one of the greatest catastrophes of the 20th century” (New York Times) occurred, according to Vladimir Putin.

There were fifteen Soviet Socialist Republics, and the dismantling of them collectively “robbed Russia of its rightful place among the world’s great powers” (New York Times), again according to Putin.

Post-Soviet Union, nations that were once members began to join the North Atlantic Trade Organization (NATO). This organization was advancing Eastern in Europe, closer and closer to Russia, and you can only imagine how that would make them feel.

The last thing Russia wants is to be bordered by countries who are joined by a treaty that’s overall goal is to “safeguard the Allies’ freedom and security by political and military means” with the most powerful forces in the world. It is safe to say that Russia wants to prevent Ukraine from becoming a part of NATO.

In December 2021, Russia was bold and decided to give a list of demands to the United States and NATO, ones that were claimed to be necessary to protect and ensure its security. How bold you may ask? Bold as in they demanded “a guarantee that Ukraine would never join NATO, and that NATO draw down its forces in the Eastern European countries that have already joined” (New York Times). As you can imagine, these demands were waved away.

Putin is power hungry; he does not want to share power, nor does he want it to coexist so close to his reign and not benefit him. What he wants is not known directly from him, rather indefinitely. It seems that he wants the Soviet Union to re-emerge, and his efforts in attempting to secure Ukraine that officially began on 24th February 2022 make that increasingly clear.

It seems as if all of Putin’s moves regarding Ukraine have been in his play book to step on the democratic government next door and intertwine once again with communist ideals.

Why Has the US and Other Major Powers Refrained from Sending in Troops to Ukraine to Help?

Long story short, World War III. Which is also why Putin has refrained from taking war to any surrounding country, specifically former Soviet states, at least for now.

For instance, if an airstrike were to crossover into Poland, a NATO tied country, “it would trigger Article 5 of the Western treaty, which would necessarily provoke a military response from the U.S.” (Mai’a Cross). And that “It’s likely that would spark a conflict between the West and Russia on the order of a world war, as it would involve most of the world’s superpowers” (Mai’a Cross).

President Biden has stood ground against US soldiers going to Europe in purpose of fighting this war, obviously due to the complicated nature of this whole situation.

But that is not to say the United States as well as other major powers have not taken serious measures to take down Russia, especially financially.


When in doubt, sanction it out!

All over the news you can see the extent that countries have chosen to respond to Russia without infiltrating direct military involvement, sanctions. Economic sanctions are penalties imposed by one country on another, to stop it acting aggressively or breaking international law.

There has been major financial measures in sanctions to Russia in the past few weeks. Most major powers quickly began to freeze Russian assets to limit the government from accessing billions of dollars. As well as having Russia removed from the international financial messaging system Swift, to delay payments to Russia for any energy exports.

Russia is a major supplier of oil and gas, which the government benefits greatly from. Countries such as the US and UK have chosen to restrict imports of these things. The European Union has even begun drawing out plans to become completely independent from Russian supplied energy. Altogether halting the supply chain so that Russia cannot financially benefit.

These sanctions as well as many more all have the main goal of making Russia suffer financially, thus, to try and force them out of Ukraine as that I the purpose of the sanctions.

Why is everyone complaining about gas prices in response to this conflict?

As we all know, gas prices are soaring in direct relation to the sanctions being put onto Russia in response to their war on Ukraine.

The US barely uses Russian oil, most of Russian oil goes to Europe and China. But Russia is still one of the biggest oil suppliers in the world. Which is important to note as oil supply should be thought about globally, rather than country to country. “The commodities world is a heavily interconnected one, and oil is priced through a global market. So, what happens in one area of the world can affect another.” (Julianne Pepitone, CNN Business) Gas price inflation is often pointed straight to political influence, but it is rather Influenced by economic drivers and basic laws of supply and demand. There is no one person or political party to blame.

Oil is shipped and bought all around the world through a global commodities market, so the lack of oil being supplied everywhere means that global prices will be affected no matter what.

What It Comes Down to

Essentially, the fate of this war comes down to Putin. He started it, he makes the calls, he is in control (unfortunately.) Ukraine will continue to fight and continue to shock Putin with their ability to refute. But what Putin does, is up to him.

There are many factors as to why Putin can do all that he is doing. And we see extreme censorship and prevention to other people in power, blocking them from being able to safely voice against Putin.

Many have been put on house arrest, and there is also a long history of unsolved assassinations of people attempting to speak against him.

Putin, altogether, has always had relatively high approval ratings. But recently they have dropped due to the disapproval of his war. There is extreme censorship in society as well and it is extremely dangerous to protest the government. But as many Russians in Russia have done so, there have been hundreds of arrests and injuries to civilians.

It is an extremely difficult situation, and it is hard to tell what is going to come, even in the near future.

But, as of April 2022, there are accusations of many war crimes committed by Putin. There is also horrific stories about the doings of Russian soldiers in Ukrainian cities, towns, etc.

Putin is not stepping down and only time will tell what will happen.

Resources to help Ukraine

The most we can do now is give to the resources that are helping Ukrainian citizens in this horrific time. Below is a link that provides information about non-profits that help Ukraine directly. Please consider reviewing them and donating to help.

Want to support the people in Ukraine? Here’s how you can help