Russia Invades Ukraine

Murray, NEB.-The long feared invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces has come to pass. For months, Russian troops have been stationed along the Russian-Ukrainian border en masse. This has caused alarm over the potential for an assault despite denial by Russian officials that any such incursion was intended. However, a senior U.S. military official reports that at roughly 4:30 a.m. on Feb. 24, 2022, Russia launched an assault on Ukraine including over 100 ballistic, cruise and surface-to-air missiles. The official described this as the largest European invasion since World War II.

Additionally, Ukrainian officials have reported multiple casualties on both sides including shot down Russian planes. Despite this violence, Russia has denied that this is any sort of hostile unprovoked invasion. Instead, they class it as a “special military operation” and are alleging genocide on the part of the Ukrainian government. Putin’s stated goal was the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who is Jewish, disagreed with the accusation of Nazism asking, “How could I be a Nazi?”

There may be global implications stemming from the conflict. At the moment, the United States and its allies are refraining from military defense of Ukraine. However, they have pledged action against Russia and Putin. So far, some more minor sanctions have been released, including sanctions against the owner of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Russia is a major exporter of oil in Europe and the Nord Stream 2 pipeline seeks to add an additional connection between Russia’s gas supply and Europe’s systems. In recent days, the price of oil has soared to a seven year high of about $100 a barrel in response to Russia’s actions in and near Ukraine. This can only be exaggerated by hurting their oil industry.

This begs the question of exactly how much the west is willing to sacrifice to punish Russia. These imperialistic tendencies are a threat to the entire world. But how far should we go to stop them. At this point, countries aren’t willing to risk open warfare for a non-NATO member. Putin has threatened “consequences that you have never faced in your history.” Putin has been unpredictable in the past and some even fear that this may refer to nuclear warfare. However, it has been made clear that assaults against NATO member nations will be defended against. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg stated “Make no mistake: we will defend every ally against any attack on every inch of NATO territory.” This is particularly relevant for Lithuania, a NATO and European Union (EU) member that borders Russia and has declared a state of emergency.

However, they do plan severe consequences for Russia. European officials have called for sanctions they state will be crippling to Russia’s ability to modernize and weaken its economy.

The U.S. is also holding in reserve the “mother of all sanctions.” That’s how chairmen of the Senate foreign-relations committee described the package being assembled. President Joe Biden vowed that Vladimir Putin has never “seen sanctions like the ones I promise will be imposed.”

Russia’s invasion wasn’t really much of a surprise but it still has some shock value attached to it. The largest conflict in recent European history is currently underway and it has global implications. World leaders will have to decide how much action to take based on the amount of damage they want to inflict on Russia and the amount of risk they are willing to take. What’s to come is yet to be seen but the world will be watching it all unfold.