The Russian Invasion of Ukraine

A map of disputed regions in Ukraine

Kwwhit5531, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

A map of disputed regions in Ukraine

by Benton Dietrich, Photo Editor

On Feb. 24, 2022, Russian missiles began to hit multiple bases and cities throughout Ukraine, changing the world as we know it and the political landscape of Europe overnight. Russia has threatened an invasion of Ukraine for years, citing the oppression of the Donbas region, the collusion with NATO going against a verbal agreement, the influence of the West corrupting Ukraine, and as Putin would call it ‘De-Nazi-fying Ukraine’. A lot of these claims are half-hearted answers to what everyone immediately asked, but they answer for what the Russian army sees themselves fighting for. 

Donovin Palmer, a sophomore here at St. Charles High said, “I was shocked, because you don’t really see world superpowers invading countries directly anymore.” 

This isn’t anything surprising for Ukraine and Russia, tensions have been high since 1991 and the fall of the Soviet Union and the threat of war has hung over their heads for years, but many others around the world were stunned by Russian actions. Many here, in our school and throughout the country, were unaware of the tensions and how this war could break out, but there were others who paid close attention as well.

“I wasn’t really surprised because I had been loosely following the situation before, it made me angry though,” another sophomore, Owen Chaisitiphol said.

In the early Thursday morning, the 24th, bombings and missile strikes began to land on major infrastructure, highly population dense towns, army bases, major factories, resource hubs, and other high value targets. Many Ukrainians woke up to explosions and gunfire, finding their homeland now right in the warpath and unsure of what to do, or where to go. Soon after the artillery and missile strikes, the Russian troops would roll in and begin their invasions through the eastern Russia-Ukraine border as well as to the north through Belarus.

“The volume of deaths initially definitely surprised me too, like how well they held their ground,” Chaisitiphol added.

Ukraine’s people haven’t rolled over and taken it, as many people expected. So far many have taken up arms for themselves and are fiercely fighting for their freedom in the streets of cities like Mariupol, Odessa, Kharkiv, Kherson, Dnipro, and of course the capital of Kyiv. 

“I’m surprised by Ukraine’s defense. They should’ve gotten steamrolled,” Palmer said. 

While all western countries have decided to stay out of the war militarily, we have seen a gigantic amount of sanctions, military aid packages, money, and other resources. These have been the most hotly debated items, with many who are pro-NATO intervention saying that it is not enough to just attack Russia economically or that they don’t actually do anything to Russia. At the same time it’s common that people on the other side will say that the sanctions unfairly hurt Russia or the Russian people, but it’s obvious through Russian protests and riots that these sanctions are increasing tensions between the Russian people and their government.

“Personally I understand why NATO wants to stay out [militarily] …We should do more but not like that,” Chaisitiphol said about NATO intervention. 

Palmer went on to say that “I believe they are effective in ruining the Russian economy, although they might not be effective in breaking Putin’s will for war. I believe it is just, because we shouldn’t be supporting countries who are aggressive to otherwise peaceful nations.”

Overall, all of the information of this war has rapidly unfolded over the past few weeks, and with the Russians reportedly planning a second offensive soon, much more information will unfold in the coming months as well. Opinions and facts will likely change as time moves on and new information will continue to come to light. One thing is for sure though, the current horrors and atrocities we have seen largely from the Russian forces is appalling, and by the end will deserve retribution for the damage done to this nation, and the innocent civilians who have been murdered, driven from their home, had their lives destroyed, or the far, far, worse things that have been committed upon them.