Russia-Ukraine Conflict Update

With more than three weeks into the war in Ukraine, there have been many new developments as Russia continues to attack the war-stricken country.

“What’s happening in Ukraine is horrible,” said senior Shannon Tangel. “No one should have to ever live through war. People in Ukraine are dying, getting hurt or leaving everything to flee the country and it breaks my heart. I pray every day hoping for the war to stop because it’s just not okay.”

As of March 14, the Associated Press stated that Russian military forces have now doubled their efforts into capturing Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, after an airstrike on a military base near the borders of Poland, a NATO-allied country, that killed at least 35 people and wounded 134.

“It’s very important for students to know about this because the war in Ukraine has the potential of expanding into other parts of Europe,” said Dr. Gary Rose, professor and chair in the Department of Government. “Once what Russia is doing starts affecting countries that are aligned with NATO, then the U.S., under treaty, will have an obligation to then become involved.”

“What is really frightening is that then we’re talking about two nuclear powers possibly at war with one another and God knows how something like that ends,” said Rose.

As the war in Ukraine continues, the U.S. has continued to impose more trade bans on Russian imports as a way to pressure Russia without direct involvement.

According to the Associated Press, some of these moves include revoking the “most favored nation” status for Russia, as well as banning imports of seafood, alcohol, diamonds and oil and gas products as a way to cripple the Russian economy. This economic retalition has led to the Russian Ruble losing about half of its value and destructive inflation that could affect Putin’s ability to wage a prolonged war.

“Additionally, Congress approved a $13.6 billion emergency package of military aid for Ukraine and its European allies with around half the money for arming and equipping Ukraine and the cost of sending U.S. troops to other Eastern European nations. The rest includes humanitarian and economic assistance, strengthening allies’ defenses and protecting energy supplies and cybersecurity needs,” reported the Associated Press.

While this may seem like a positive thing, some have brought up  concerns and issues about the timing of the aid.

“It takes a long time for military equipment to get to Ukraine and by the time it can get there, the whole city could be surrounded,” said Rose. “I think that NATO countries have responded pretty slowly to this. We had a lot more time to really arm the Ukrainians, but we should have done this three months ago. Not when they’re in the city when they’re having urban warfare breaking out. We’ve acted too slowly.”

Other members of the Sacred Heart community have raised concern for Ukrainian refugees who have fled their country in fear of the conflict.

“I incredibly sympathize with any nation who is trying to defend itself from any other threatening imperialist-minded leader or country,” said senior Daniele Doctor. “While the situation in Ukraine is worsening, the war is adding to the already known refugee crisis that is often ignored or rarely touched on.”

According to the Associated Press, “The U.N. has recorded at least 596 civilian deaths with at least 85 children among them, though it believes the true toll is much higher.”

“More than 2.6 million people have fled Ukraine since the start of the conflict. Many have been women and children, because men from 18-60 have stayed behind to fight and are forbidden from leaving the country,” reported the Associated Press.

While the events in Ukraine continue to unfold, many students hope for the safety of Ukrainian civilians and refugees who have been heavily affected by this crisis.

 “I commend the strong patriotism and bravery of the people in Ukraine and hope that this war ends soon,” said Doctor.

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