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Russia Ukraine invasion: what we know so far

The Russian invasion of Ukraine was brewing for months, if not years. Russia announced on Thursday morning that they would “conduct a special military operation to protect people who have been subjected to abuse and genocide by the Kyiv regime for eight years”. Putin was adamant about showing that he would not attack Ukrainian-controlled territories, just the Russian-separatist regions. Shortly after, Russia stated that interference from the West would result in “consequences that you have never experienced in your history.”

The invasion started shortly after with Russia launching artillery to the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, which sits near the Russian border. Videos are already emerging of the damage across Ukraine, such as extreme fires and damaged apartment buildings. The ministry of Ukraine’s interior indicated that ballistic missiles and attack aircraft are being used against Ukrainian cities. Schools and non-essential jobs have almost all shut down across the country as Ukraine lies in distress. The president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, relayed a short, emotional speech to the Ukrainian citizens. “The war is a big disaster, and this disaster has a high price with every meaning of this word. People lose money, reputation, quality of life, they lose freedom. But the main thing is that people lose their loved ones, they lose themselves,” Zelensky stated. 

Response from the West: As stated before by many Western leaders, NATO will not take acts of aggression from Russia lightly. For example, Germany decided to halt its multi-billion-dollar pipeline with Russia. In addition, when tensions rose, the United States threatened and implemented sanctions on major banks, Russian elites, and Russian debt. 

Following the start of the Russian invasion, the EU has vowed to “hold Russia accountable for this outrageous violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.” President Biden has shortly canceled his meeting with the Russian foreign minister as he believes that Russia isn’t still up for diplomacy. Furthermore, the EU and the U.S are set to unveil more sanctions that will choke the Russian economy. 

How you’ll be affected: The war between Russia and Ukraine will have a negative impact on most countries and economies, especially the U.S. Shortly after the invasion, the market has slid considerably. American stock futures, as well as global stocks, took a big hit. The S&P 500, which tracks the value of the top 500 on the NYSE and NASDAQ, has already fallen 2.2% as of market open, with the Dow falling 2.4%. Oil prices have skyrocketed to $105 a barrel, an 8% increase from the days prior. 

Americans should expect inflation to continue to rise as well as gas prices and other essential goods. In addition, the Pentagon stated that it would provide more weapons and equipment to Ukraine and eastern European countries. In turn, this will cost the American people substantially.

Historical background: Going back, we can look at the previous issues with Russia and Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine have had high tensions with one another for many years. In 2013, the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych suspended talks with the European Union. These ties would’ve helped Ukraine become closer, politically and economically, to the EU. Yanukovych suspending the talks caused massive protests across the country. Yanukovych, who was “pro-Russian,” was reportedly under intense pressure from the Russian government to suspend the talks. The cancellation of the talks ignited violent unrest across the country. Just a year later, in 2014, Russia annexed Crimea. Crimea was an independent peninsula just south of Ukraine. Ukraine, as well as most of the world, believed the annexation of Crimea was “illegal.” The United Nations has stated that there have been over 3,000 civilian deaths in Eastern Ukraine since 2014.

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