Written By Elizabeth Funderburk, Staff Writer
In late February, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the order for his troops to invade Ukraine, where he was met with fierce resistance from the Ukrainian people. The response around the world has been almost universally critical of Putin’s decision, and Russia has been hit with harsh sanctions from the US and NATO.
During a talk in Wynne Chapel on Monday, February 28th, Professors Dr. Ruchan Kaya and Dr. Nate Bigelow spoke about these sanctions, saying that President Biden and other world leaders are in a tough spot regarding their response to the situation. For example, the sanctions are effective in hurting Russia, there is a risk that other countries’ economies will also take a bad turn. Additionally, sending troops to help in combat could trigger another world war, leading to even more casualties. However, the professors agreed that the world had to send a strong rebuke to Putin.
While Putin has been internationally condemned,Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been hailed as a hero for his leadership during the crisis. Zelenskyy received offers to evacuate the country, but he turned them down, saying “I need ammunition, not a ride.” He has stayed in the capital city of Kyiv since the invasion began, serving as a symbol of the courage and determination of the Ukrainian people.
In his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, President Biden addressed the situation and expressed his continued support for Ukraine, and forcefully called out Putin, explaining that the Russian president was wrong to think that NATO would be weakened. Even most members of Congress, typically very divided by party, are unified in support for Ukraine. Many waved the blue and yellow Ukrainian flags. First Lady Dr. Jill Biden invited Ukraine’s ambassador to the US, Oksana Markarova, as a special guest to the speech. She appeared moved by the solidarity the President and other politicians showed at the event.
Vladimir Putin is a cruel dictator, and an unpopular one in his own county. Thousands of Russians have been arrested for protesting the war, including children. Putin’s rival Alexei Navalny, who survived a poisoning attempt and is currently imprisoned in Russia, approved of the protests and told people to continue speaking out. Many Russian athletes and other important figures have also addressed the situation, with one tennis player writing on a camera lens, “no war please.” Despite all this, Putin has seemingly no intentions of stopping the invasion anytime soon.
The situation is ongoing, and fighting continues. This is a humanitarian crisis. Many Ukrainian citizens who are unable to fight are currently fleeing the country. Several countries are allowing refugees into their borders. Yet the future remains uncertain for these victims of war. More information on how to help Ukraine or donate can be found by visiting the International Rescue Committee’s website, the UNICEF website, or the GlobalGiving website.