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Russia and Ukraine: The Never Ending War


In late February, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his country’s invasion of Ukraine, closing in on its capital, Kyiv, and Kharkiv, its second largest city. Although a massive escalation, Russia’s invasion is not completely surprising. Given the long, tense history between the two countries, this war started not in February 2022, but in March 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea.

In late 2013, the Pro-Russian President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, refused to sign an ‘Association Agreement‘ deal that would bring his country closer to the European Union. This caused an uproar among his people, sparking the ‘Euromaidan Protests’, described as the biggest demonstrations since the Orange Revolution. In January 2014, President Yanukovych signed a series of laws banning protest, throwing oil on an already blazing fire, and causing bloody clashes between the protesters and the police. Over a month of battle between a government and its citizens-which would mirror the one about to ensue between Ukraine and Russia-came to a head when Yanukovych was removed as president, and replaced with Interim President Tymoshenko, who would be president until new elections could be held.

Meanwhile, Russia took advantage of the fact that Ukraine was effectively waging war on its own people, and decided to make its move, preparing its eventual annexation of Crimea. Around the time Yanukovych was being removed as Ukraine’s President, Russian Personnel surrounded major airports in the city, and seized the Crimean autonomous assembly. One month later, the assembly, now firmly in Russia’s grip, announced that it would be separating from Ukraine, and joining Russia. Since then, Russia has controlled Crimea, as well as parts of the Donbas region of Eastern Ukraine.

In the weeks following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and Donbas, a bloody war broke out, claiming 15,000 lives, and scarring over 6.5 million. In addition to the human cost, there was a huge economic burden for both countries, with roughly 84 billion dollars worth of assets lost just between 2014 and 2018. Throughout all of this carnage, however, Russia feigned innocence, claiming in 2014 that Russian soldiers were not in the region, even as they were killing and getting killed by their Ukrainian counterparts.

Fed up with each other, Russia and Ukraine dug into the sand, administering blow after blow, and remaining at a constant draw.

After nearly eight years of trying to conquer each other, Russia escalated its war. In late January 2022, tensions between Moscow and Kiev were described as being at “their highest in years”, and they exploded on February 24th, when Russian President Putin launched its invasion of Ukraine, thinking it would be an easy victory. However, Ukrainian forces, led by President Zelensky, stood their ground. Despite the fact that Russia is bigger than, and borders, Ukraine, it has not given in to Russian bombardment during the past year and a half.

In September 2022, Ukrainian forces pushed back Russia’s encroaching military, “reclaiming over a thousand square miles” of their northeastern territory, Kharkiv.  Then, on October 8th, not even a month later, the Crimean bridge exploded. Putin blamed Ukraine’s chief of military, despite Ukraine’s insistence of innocence, and retaliated by launching even more missiles into Ukrainian territory. With both nations continuously attempting to out bomb, out strategize the other, it is no surprise that war is still raging.

Seeing that, without intervention, Ukraine and Russia would most likely fight each other to the point of annihilation, other countries decided to step in. In December 2022, President Zelenksy paid a visit to the White House, during which U.S. President Joe Biden agreed to give the Ukrainian military two billion dollars in aid. Less than a month later, Germany pitched in with military tanks.

Meanwhile, Putin watched as the war he started was not as quick as he hoped, with Ukraine not only fighting back, but getting help from across the world. In addition, Putin faced retaliation among his own side. The Russian Mercenary “Wagner” group, led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, attempted a coup this past June in an attempt to overthrow Putin’s abusive leadership. Although a failure, this further challenged Putin’s power in the Russo-Ukrainian war, proving that even his own citizens were ready for Ukraine to win the war. 

Although the war is still being fought to this day, it remains a mystery as to how the newest events will unfold. One can only hope that the misery will stop, but with the inconsistency that comes with two powerful countries fighting against each other, only time will tell.

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About the Contributors
Emma Perlstein
Emma Perlstein, Opinions Editor
Emma is a current senior who is so excited to continue being a section editor in her third year writing for the Banner. Outside of writing Opinions articles, you can find her taking notes at 84 Days meetings, helping out in the Writing Center, or leading her freshman advisory. In her free time, she watches lots of Netflix, plays tennis, and shops with her friends. 
Daniel Angeli Brownstein
Daniel Angeli Brownstein, Opinions Editor
Daniel is a Sophomore at Harriton, who is excited to start his second year at the Banner, and first as a Opinions Editor. Outside of the Banner, is part of Freshman Mentors, Best Buddies and Model UN, and enjoys reading, politics, and psychology. After school, you can find Daniel hanging out with friends and family, reading, running, and traveling.

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