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Russia Launches Invasion of Ukraine

Attacks have been reported in major cities across Ukraine, as Russian troops move in.

By:  |  February 24, 2022  |    711 Words
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(Photo by Maciej Luczniewski/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Russia has launched an invasion of its neighbor, Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin has been sending troops to the Russia-Ukraine border for around a year, adding up to about 190,000 soldiers. This caused the U.S. and many countries in Europe to worry that an invasion could happen, but no one was sure what Putin would do. On February 24, 2022, the attack was launched.

Putin sent Russian troops across the border and targeted major cities with missiles. According to BBC News, Russia launched offensives by land, air, and sea. Locations across Ukraine report they were bombed, including the capital Kyiv and other cities Chuhuiv, Odessa, Kramatorsk, and Chornobaivka. Infrastructure has also been attacked, such as Ozerne airbase and Kulbakino airport.

Hundreds of people seek shelter underground in subway station as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. (MARCUS YAM / LOS ANGELES TIMES)

Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Oleg Nikolenko warned that Russian troops are striking to “destroy the state of Ukraine, seize Ukrainian territory by force, and establish occupation control.” He asked foreign governments to support Ukraine by sending the country military supplies.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has asked world leaders to unite in opposing Vladimir Putin’s actions, and said Russia wants to “destroy” the Ukrainian state. However, he added that his country “won’t give up its freedom,” and tweeted, “Russia has embarked on a path of evil, but Ukraine is defending itself.”

Meanwhile, Putin is blaming Ukraine for the situation. “Russia cannot feel safe, develop, and exist with a constant threat emanating from the territory of modern Ukraine … Our plans do not include the occupation of Ukrainian territories. We are not going to impose anything by force,” the Russian president said.

Lead Up to the Attack

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky holds a press conference in regard of Russia’s attack on Ukraine in Kiev, Ukraine on February 24, 2022. (Photo by Ukrainian Presidency / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

In the past, Ukraine has belonged to Russia, but it became an independent nation in 1991. Since 2014, two regions within Ukraine have been run by pro-Russian rebels. The areas are called Donetsk and Luhansk, but many people call the combined areas the “Donbas” region. Although rebels are in charge, the region is still recognized as a part of Ukraine.

Just a few days before Russia launched the invasion of Ukraine, Putin formally recognized the two rebel regions as independent nations. The Russian president said in a live video address: “I deem it necessary to make a decision that should have been made a long time ago — to immediately recognize the independence and sovereignty of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic.”

Soon after recognizing the two new “countries,” Putin sent “peacekeeping” troops into the area.

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The U.S. responded to the move by putting sanctions on Russia – punishments that would stop it from doing some international business. Sanctions are normally meant to limit the amount of money a country can make.

Now that Russia has launched a full invasion, Ukrainian officials have asked countries worldwide to impose more sanctions on Russia.

U.S. Response

President Joe Biden released a statement reacting to news of the February 24 attack. He wrote:

“The prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine tonight as they suffer an unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces. President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering. Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way. The world will hold Russia accountable.”

The U.S. president has met with world leaders to discuss how to respond to the invasion. He tweeted that the nations had “agreed to move forward on devastating packages of sanctions and other economic measures to hold Russia to account.”

In the long run, many suspect Russia wants to expand its territory further into Europe. For the moment, though, it’s not clear what Putin intends exactly, or how far the new war in Ukraine will go.

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