3 Questions you may have about the Ukraine-Russia Conflict

In the last few weeks, you have probably been bombarded with news involving Ukraine and Russia. News articles can get a bit confusing and it’s hard to sift through multiple websites to find out all the information you need to know. It’s important to stay updated about current events, but if you don’t have enough time and so many questions it can get overwhelming. In order to get an understanding of what everyone’s talking about, here are three questions you may have about the Ukraine-Russia Conflict.

This is a map of the border between Ukraine and Russia. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/01/21/ukraine-russia-explain-maps/)
  • What’s the history between Ukraine and Russia?

In 1991 Ukraine won independence when the USSR broke up. They aligned with Western Institutions like the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).  Ukraine has its own internal division between the more nationalist Western Ukraine and the more Pro-Russia Eastern Ukraine. In 2014 Russia annexed Crimea, which was the first time a European state annexed another since World War II. Russia and Ukraine have close ties and they hold strong familial bonds for many centuries.

  • Why are they fighting now?

In order to understand the recent aggression between the two countries, we have to look back at the end of World War II when NATO was formed. NATO was formed in 1949 to provide “collective security” against the Soviet Union.  Even though Ukraine is not a part of NATO they are still more connected with Western Powers like the United States and the United Kingdom. This creates a buffer between NATO countries and Russia. However, Ukraine has expressed its interest in joining NATO which concerns Russia as they struggle to remain a hold on Western Europe. Russia has claimed that any effort to bring Ukraine into NATO “would be a hostile act towards Russia.”

  • What’s happening now and what will happen next?

In December 2021, Russia started moving more than 100,000 troops to the border, and even though they say they have no plans to invade, Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened “appropriate retaliatory military-technical measures.” There is no telling what exactly will happen in the next coming weeks, but what we do know is that the US is ready to defend Ukraine. The Pentagon has put 8,500 US troops on stand-by for deployment and NATO has said it would send ships and jets.