Ukraine: A Year Later

Kahlia Loewen, Reporter

Remember when all the cranky people couldn’t stop complaining about gas prices? Well that was because of the war in Ukraine, the war that’s still happening and is nearing a full year of bloody battle with no real end in sight. 

On Feb. 24, 2023 Ukraine and Russia will hit the one year anniversary of the war. The world thought this would be quick and easy, that Russia would take Ukraine full force in a matter of months. That did not happen.

On February 24 2022 Vladimir Putin sent around 200,000 soldiers into Ukraine thinking he could storm into the capitol Kyiv in a matter of days. Though successful in capturing some territory, they could not capture Kyiv. As the months continued, Russia was forced to retreat from their captured region and has since lost more than half the territory they seized in the invasion. 

Reasoning for Putin’s claimed “special military operation” was demilitarization and De/Nazifying Ukraine, as well as claims that Ukraine’s government has committed genocide for the past eight years. These claims have absolutely no basis or evidence. Putin has been unable to explain these claims he’s referring to as a supposed basis for his invasion.  

As tensions rise between negotiations, Zelenskyy is holding steady and refusing to give up any territory to Russia. The composure of the president continues to inspire citizens in their time of suffering. 

Though the odd timing of the war beginning just as Ukraine was taking steps to join NATO leaves most people believing that instead of this being an attempt to cure Nazisim in Ukraine, it is more likely that Russia felt too uncomfortable with its neighbor joining the western defensive alliance which allows NATO to sit directly on Russian/Ukrainian borders.

The Ukrainian military has fought tirelessly to protect its citizens as their president Zelenskyy works around assassination attempts, trying to keep his people’s hope high.

 Throughout the fighting, America has sent an estimated $24.9 billion in security assistance in order to demonstrate our alliance and commitment to Ukraine while not encroaching on World War 3 territory, according to the U.S. Department of State.

As a show of dedication to Ukraine, America and many other NATO countries have sanctioned Russian imports which has boosted gas prices.

Though Ukraine has fought as morally as you can when killing people, Russia has not shown the same courtesy. Throughout the war, Russia has committed countless war crimes, such as deliberate attacks against civilian targets, massacres of civilians, torture and rape of women and children, and indiscriminate attacks in densely populated areas. 

Starting the new year, there was an exchange of 100 prisoners of war between Russia and Ukraine. This is the 36th exchange between Russia and Ukraine since the beginning of the full scale invasion, now totaling 1,646 military and civilian people’s exchange between the two countries. 

Though we’re coming to the year anniversary, many people are wondering how much longer Ukraine will hold against Russia and how much longer Russia can afford to continue warring against Ukraine. This first year of war has held much suffering for the Ukrainian people but has also proven how strong their country truly is. 

Everyone who can only watch or read or hear about this war must be inspired to stand for what is right and not crumble under corruption and greed. Although America can’t join the fight for Ukraine, they have our support and we can only hope that is enough.