From the White House to Boise: We Take a Stand with Ukraine

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Photo by: The Guardian

Only one of the many rallies where U.S. citizens march in support of Ukraine.

By: Ally Metzler and Annabel Lawrence

Russia’s invasion on Ukraine is something no one is willing to stand for. Including one of Boise’s very own, Nikola Pereski. A Serbian high school exchange student and member of the Flex program who is taking a stand with the Ukrainian people. She will be holding a march on Saturday the 5th starting at 4:45pm at Boise City Hall. This peaceful march aims to show support for the Ukrainian population along with being a great way to implement the justice Ukraine deserves.

 

 

Why is Russia invading Ukraine? 

When we look at the present events in Russia today, it’s important that we understand the context of the past. Unfortunately, the invasion of Ukraine is a result of Russian anger that has been building for years, and this fury will not quickly subside. 

When asked about the reasoning behind the invasion, President Vladimir Putin claimed that his goal was to aim for the “demilitarization and de-Nazification” of Ukraine. However, this answer is rather illogical, considering the fact that Ukraine is a democracy, and its president, Volodymyr Zelensky, is Jewish.    

It is also clear that Russia is highly uncomfortable with Ukraine’s status as a true democracy. For years, Ukraine has been making moves to join the European Union and Nato, which has clearly made Putin uncomfortable. If Ukraine would have moved to Nato before Russia launched the current invasion, all of the countries in Nato would be liable to counterattack Russia for their actions. In many ways, this invasion is a preventative measure for Putin, to ensure that Ukraine makes no more moves to becoming a Western democracy.

 

How long has this conflict been going on?

The full scale invasion officially began on February 24, 2021, when Russia launched an attack by air, land, and sea. Since then, Russia has been bombing major Ukrainian cities, including the capital, Kyiv. They have not held back, sending missiles to hit both military targets as well as civilian locations. However, there are satellite images of Russia fully mobilizing troops and military equipment near the Russian-Ukrainian borders in November of 2021, indicating that the invasion has been in the making for quite some time. 

Truly, relations have been of elevated intensity since 2014, when the former pro-Russian Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, was ousted after he invited Russia to invade Ukraine and wanted to reverse the Western adoptions that Ukraine had made to its government. In 2019, Viktor Yanukovych was sentenced to thirteen years in prison for high treason. Many speculate that if the Russian invasion is successful, Putin will choose to put Yanukovych in as a so-called “puppet president” that would carry out Russia’s plans for Ukraine. 

It’s also possible that the beginning conflict started back in 1991, when the weakened Soviet Union collapsed following the end of the Cold War. At the time, Putin was a KGB foreign intelligence officer of 16 years, who was beginning a career in politics after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Thus, Putin ties many of his core beliefs back to the height of the Soviet Union, a time where Russia was a feared global power. If Ukraine is forced to join Russia again, Putin may believe that Russia could finally return to the former glory of the Soviet Union. Putin has previously said that he regards Russia and Ukraine together, as “one people, a single whole” and that sentiment has clearly been echoed through violent invasion of today. 

 

What are the conditions in Ukraine right now? 

Conditions for citizens in Ukraine are dreadful. Citizens are having their homes obliterated by Russian weapons, they’re seeking shelter in metro stations and they are going underground in hope of staying safe from the bombings. Tanks have been parading up and down the north, south and eastern borders of Ukraine. Missiles and bombs have been launched for days onto the capital, Kyiv, forcing people out of their homes and fleeing to shelters where they don’t know if they’ll ever have a place to call home again. Thousands of Ukrainians have died, and if this violence doesn’t end, that number will only go up. Yet, even still, the Ukrainian population has banded together, united by the drive of keeping their country free from the grasp of the Soviet Union.

 

What can our country do to help? 

The United States stands with Ukraine. We are currently sanctioning Russia, crippling their economy. We have cut off and are continuing to cut off all ties with Russian trading and banking. The U.S. as well as all NATO countries have changed all air travel in a route that doesn’t involve going over Russia, as well as ban Russian air travel from our country. The Biden Administration has also just enforced a $32.5 billion emergency plan to support Ukraine in any way that we can with Russia’s invasion as well as their fight with Covid-19. Along with sanctioning Russia’s technologies, the U.S. has taken a stand against Belarus, a country aiding Russia with their invasion. Our country, the United States, is prepared to do whatever it takes to maintain Ukraine’s independence and put an end to Russia’s infiltration.