Ukraine Says “NO!” To Putin

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OLEG VENGROVYCH, Contributor

“The conflict between Ukraine and Russia,” “the invasion of Ukraine by Russia,” and “World War 3”- are some of the phrases you might have heard over the past few weeks, but what is actually going on between Ukraine and Russia? In 2014, the ex-President of Ukraine, Victor Yanukovych, refused to sign a political association and free trade agreement with the European Union. He decided to stay in closer relations with Russia. This decision by the Ukrainian President was a nightmare for all of Ukraine, and the Revolution of Dignity (also known as Maidan Revolution) was started. The main aim of the revolution was to let the government know that people didn’t support the decisions of the President. The way the Ukrainian people reacted about getting in closer relations with Russia was not something that Putin liked or expected. Moreover, it caused different provocations from Putin’s side, which served as small steps towards the war that is currently happening.

The Annexation of the Crimea (the peninsula that is located at the southern part of Ukraine) was one of the first steps Putin took towards the war that is happening today. Putin’s move violated the Budapest Memorandum, which was an agreement that guaranteed Ukraine protection, in exchange for giving up its nuclear weapons. Regarding Crimea, Putin got it relatively easily, without much of a conflict with Ukraine and the signers of the Budapest Memorandum. Based on how easy it was to get Crimea, Putin decided not to stop, and he continue to target the annexation of other Ukrainian states. Next on Putin’s list was Donbas (the state at the northeastern part of Ukraine), where Putin was doing the same thing- occupation without any reason. Ukrainians understood that if Putin was to get Donbas, as easily as he got Crimea, he just wouldn’t stop. Putin clearly wanted full control of Ukraine. The conflict in Donbas has been going on for the past 8 years. According to Putin, the reason for the current war is to save the Russians that are living in Donbas. Putin promised that civilians were not going to be affected by the war, which is obviously not the case. Furthermore, instead invading Donbas “to save his people,” almost every Ukrainian state has been attacked by his military actions.

Currently, this is a war of Russia versus the world- rather than Russia versus Ukraine. Terrible economic consequences are beginning to impact Russia because of the ruthless actions of Putin. The whole world is currently standing with Ukraine, and providing Ukraine with all sorts of military and humanitarian assistance. Despite the direct attacks of the Russian military, the Ukrainian people are trying their best to stay optimistic, and look for inspiration. If you turn on the Ukrainian news, most of the things that are being showed are about the support that Ukraine is getting from the world. Social media is widely being used to highlight the attacks on civilians and the refugee crisis, which is now at over 2 million. The current President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, has become an international hero for the Ukrainian people. He does not have the political experience of other presidents. However, he is doing a tremendous job handling the situation and inspiring Ukrainians.

The Ukrainian people deeply appreciate everyone for supporting Ukraine, whether it’s a social media post with some words of support, or a donation to help the Ukrainian people. Everything is extremely appreciated!