This is what’s happening: Ukraine and Russia

Tensions and attacks

On Feb. 24, Russia first invaded Ukraine firing missile attacks near the capital city of Kyiv. Since then, Ukraine has suffered many more attacks as diplomats from countries around the world have tried to settle the tension or discuss terms with Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

Putin has ordered multiple attacks on Ukraine consisting of air raids, shellings and missiles, attacking Ukraine by both land and on sea. “As of Feb. 28, At least 102 civilians in Ukraine have been killed since Russia launched its invasion last Thursday, with a further 304 injured,” according to Reuters. However, the UN is sure the accurate number is much higher. 

After the Russian invasion into Ukraine, Biden titled it a premeditated attack. In response to the attack, Biden announced “new strong sanctions and new limitations on what can be exported to Russia.” This will cause severe costs on the Russian economy. 

The UN stated that over half a million people have crossed the border out of Ukraine. Many are going into Poland, where civilians are waiting hours to get across the border. Others are entering Hungary, Moldova and Romania, then moving further from there.

As of now, UN humanitarians are in Ukraine to help the civilians that have faced the attacks; however, much more help is needed. “The situation is moving so quickly and the levels of risk are so high by now that it is impossible for humanitarians to systematically distribute the help that Ukrainians desperately need,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi. 

Dr. Thomas Ambrosio is a North Dakota State University Political Science Professor. He hosted a forum on Feb. 28, to educate others about the Russian and Ukraine attacks. He answered questions and helped spread awareness of where the tensions started and what is currently going on all around the world. 

“This is the culmination of a process that has been building for well over a decade,” said Ambrosio. He explained the history of the tensions, Putin’s reasons for invasion through the expansion of NATO and the unacceptable terms that Russia gave the West. 

Russia is now in full control of significant parts of Ukraine’s territory,” according to the BBC. Russia has invaded and holds territory in various places around the border with Russia and Belarus. They have also taken control over Crimea. The Russian forces are firing on cities such as Kyiv, as a Russian convoy is  heading towards the city. The city of Kherson is also surrounded by Russian troops. “On Sunday Russian forces breached Kharkiv,” Ukraine’s second-largest city, according to BBC. 

Ukrainians are fighting back against the Russian invasion. Volunteers have helped secure the city and give resistance to the Russian take over. According to CNN, the city of Kharkiv “was approached by Russian troops shortly after the invasion began last Thursday, but for three days, Ukrainian forces held the Russians at bay.” 

The attacks on Ukraine on Feb. 24, also sparked protests in Russia against the invasion. Protesters are getting arrested for their opposition to Putin and the government. OVD-Info is a human rights media project which helps protect those who are exercising their right to basic political rights. OVD-Info stated that 6,495 people were detained at anti-war actions in Russia starting from Feb. 24. 

The NDSU Faculty Senate executive leadership sent a statement condemning the acts of Russia, calling it an unprovoked and unjustified invasion. “It is an attack on human rights and democracy and a violation of international law that is taking the lives of innocent civilians,” they stated. 

Others are urging their support for Ukraine across the world and are denouncing Putin’s actions. Leaders and celebrities such as Prince William and Kate Middleton, Cardi B and Steven King. Valery Gergiev, the star Russian maestro, was removed from his position as chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic when he did not renounce his support of Putin. 

Protests of the Russian invasion are appearing all around the world. According to Reuters, “Thousands took to the streets on Saturday in major rallies across Europe while protests were reported as far away as Japan, Iran, Australia and the U.S.”

To watch Dr. Ambrosios speech click here.

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