Updates: The Conflict Between Ukraine and Russia


Photo by Karollyne Hubert on Unsplash

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine continues to escalate, bringing increased humanitarian issues.

Jason Rong, Opinion Editor

It has been seven weeks since Russia first initiated its invasion of Ukraine. In these past weeks, Russia continued its expansion in Ukraine, assaulting towns and cities, while Ukraine relentlessly retaliated to defend its independence. This conflict seemed to take what many saw as a positive turn when presidents from the two countries sat down to negotiate a peace treaty on February 28th. However, because Putin refused to recognize Ukraine’s sovereignty, their negotiation ended in failure, and the last hope of reaching a peace agreement was gone. At this time, the world watches as the Russia military recenters its objective to take control of Ukraine’s eastern regions. 

Russian troops currently have their eyes set on Donbas, a city in southeastern Ukraine. According to experts, Donbas is an industrialized region of great importance because if Russia annexes Donbas, the tide of the war could shift in Russians’ favor. “How the battle for Donbas proceeds will determine how much of Ukraine east of the Dnipro (a river that bisects Ukraine) that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin carves away,” Maximillian Hess, a member of the Foreign Policy Institute, told CNBC. Donbas has become a primary target because it has open fields. Its open fields allow Russians to use their artillery force to the fullest extent. Unfortunately, due to Russian artillery strikes, civilians are getting caught up in this ongoing storm.

The assault of Donbas has drastically affected its residents, making their lives take a turn for the worse. Galina Nikolaena, a Donbas resident, shared his situation post-Russian assault with CNN, stating, “We don’t even have [a] liter of gasoline and our property.” Russian strikes obliterated Galina’s property. “We worked all our lives for this,” Galina continued. As other Ukrainians take the immigration route, fleeing the region, Galina and his wife are stranded in this war zone, unable to leave because they are down to their last $300. While civilians on one side are suffering, those on the other end are doing what they can to support them, ensuring that their suffering doesn’t go unheard. 

The protests in Russia continue to escalate as more and more civilians participate in expressing their desire to end the war. Many of them believe that this is a senseless war and that Ukrainians have done nothing to deserve the brutality that the Russian troops continue to bring to their home. Russia, known by many for its oppressive nature, is calling for a crackdown on the protests. Afraid, thousands of protesters have escaped the country, hoping to avoid jail time. Yulia, a Russian mother who fled to the U.S., shared her story with CBS, stating, “I’m actually very angry that I had to go. But what did it for me was another of Putin’s speeches when he mentioned atomic weapons. I was like, ‘Now I’m scared.’” It has become increasingly difficult for Russians to escape Russia. “All the sanctions that western countries took against Russia, there are basically no flights. It’s really hard to get out right now,” Yulia continued, expressing how fortunate she was to successfully flee her country. 

People from both sides have and continue to suffer because of this war. We’ll keep you updated as it continues to progress.