Ukraine: What's Going On?

As the tension between Ukraine and Russia increases, the US has sent about 90 tons of military aid to Kyiv. The US embassy in Kyiv says that they will continue to aid and show support to Ukraine against Russin hostility and a possible invasion. Although Russia denies any plans to invade Ukraine, it does not change the fact that they have seized Ukrainian territory in the past. In 2014, Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula and since then, about 14,000 people have been killed and around two million have fled their homes because of the Russian and Ukrainian conflict. Russian President Vladimir Putin, along with denying a plan to invade, says that he wants NATO to stop sending weapons and military aid to Ukraine and that Ukraine should be stopped from joining NATO.

On the eastern front of Ukraine, citizens, both soldiers and civilians share differing opinions on what Russia will do next. A Ukrainian soldier named Maria says she tries to avoid the news and not get worried. She also says that morale is high and that they are prepared for whatever comes next. President Joe Biden believes that Russia will invade its neighbor sometime in February. But of course, Russia denies this possibility, as well as some Ukrainians. A social worker in the east does not believe the Russians will invade and that it’s just an “information war”. The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also argues this. It is still unclear whether Putin wants to invade or force demands from NATO by putting 100,000 troops at the border. Everything that comes next hangs on what Putin says, which many Westerners think won’t be satisfying enough for him. The tension between the two nations is still increasing, and nobody knows for sure what will happen next. Many Ukrainians say it won’t be like when Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula, that if they do invade, they will be ready this time.

The number of Russian troops positioned on Ukraine’s borders has increased. Now there are about 125,000 troops, equipped with tanks, artillery, ammunition, etc. Although Ukraine permanent representative to the United Nations, Sergiy Kyslytsya, believes that the number of troops could be closer to 130,000. Some Western analysts believe that Russia doesn’t have everything it would need on the borders for an invasion yet. Fully staffed field hospitals aren’t located in certain areas which would be needed for Russia. Many experts argue that if Russia were going to conduct a full-scale invasion and occupation of Ukraine, they would need many more troops than they currently have on Ukraine’s border. Russia has been moving troops into Belarus which borders both Russia and Ukraine. Kyiv sits less than 100 miles from the Belarus border and since the Belarussian president, Alexander Lukashenko, supports Putin, it’s possible that the exercise called Allied Resolve, could rehearse a mission against Ukraine. Russia is currently holding worldwide naval drills. In the past few weeks, six Russian Navy vessels passed through the English Channel on their way to the Mediterranean Sea. Some believe the Black Sea or the Ukrainian coast could be their destination, but it is still unclear whether that is true.

By Piper Lilley


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