Story by Zach Avery, Editor-in-Chief
More than 700 civilians have been killed and 1,100 injured since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine four weeks ago.
The first week of warfare saw several moments of international uncertainty and fear, not the least of which being an unruly fire surrounding a nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine. While Ukrainian workers managed to extinguish the flames, the area is now under Russian military control.
For historical context, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government have never pronounced a belief in Ukraine’s genuine statehood, despite the country having achieved independence from the collapsing Soviet Union in 1991. Still, Putin’s behavior and actions follow disturbing precedent for Russia’s modern history, from annexing Crimea (the southern peninsula of Ukraine) in 2014 to the Kremlin’s alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Resistance toward the invasion, both violent and nonviolent, has been seen in countries from around the world, one being Russia itself. In over 60 cities across the state, large protests against the government’s version of events in Ukraine led to mass arrests of nearly 5000 people, after Putin signed into law a strict ban on anti-government sentiment and disagreement over the war in Russia’s press and state media. In effect, any form of subversive journalism has been outlawed.
While many international relations experts doubt possible military engagement from the United States (let alone NATO) in this war, a concerted effort from western states has resulted in a devastating level of economic sanctions placed upon Russia. Many American corporations have also pulled online advertising in the state, including Google (with their search engine and YouTube), Airbnb, Microsoft and Panasonic.
Additional measures from the White House include its national ban on Russian oil imports and an approval of $1 billion in security aid to Ukraine. On March 16, President Biden called Putin a war criminal for utilizing inhumane warfare strategies throughout his extended “special military operation” and undeclared war. After multiple rounds of peace talks between ambassadors of both Ukraine and Russia, there does not seem to be any end in sight for this conflict.
On March 13, Pope Francis addressed the invasion of Ukraine during his typical Sunday blessing at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. The Pope urged neighboring European countries to take in the over three million Ukrainian refugees since Russia’s aggressive attack in late February.
“In the name of God I ask you: Stop this massacre!” Francis said.