Russo-Ukrainian War continues

War in Europe ravages on, nations worldwide react

On Feb. 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized “special military operations” in Ukraine, attacking the nation on three fronts. Russian forces had already penetrated two separatist eastern regions of Ukraine, Donetsk and Luhansk, after Putin recognized them as independent nations. This invasion of Ukraine comes nearly eight years after the invasion and annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and after months of Russian forces building on the Ukrainian border.

Rosa Aloisi, professor of political science with a focus on international relations, offered her expertise and view on the matter in an interview with the local San Antonio news station, KSAT.

“[Ukraine’s] sovereignty is being definitely broken by another member of the United Nations and most importantly a member of the United Nations Security Council. So we are definitely facing an international crisis that is not only affecting the country [Ukraine] itself but significant populations on the ground,” Aloisi said. “I believe [a new Cold War] is in the making, and I believe it has been in the making for some time now.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed his country, Russia and the world community on Feb. 24. He declared his intention for his country to stand against Russian hostility and to fight for the sovereignty of his nation.

“A new Iron Curtain [is] lowering and closing Russia away from the civilized world. Our national task is to make this curtain pass not through our Ukrainian territory, but at the home of Russians,” Zelensky said in an English translation of his speech on the President of Ukraine’s website.

Zelensky then switched from speaking in Ukrainian to Russian to directly address the Russian people.

“We are Ukrainians. We are on our land. You are Russians. Now your military has started a war. The war in our state […] No one will be able to convince or force us, Ukrainians, to give up our freedom, our independence, our sovereignty,” Zelensky stated.

Some Ukrainians are following Zelensky’s words by defending their nation as soldiers and fighters in the street. Many Ukrainians are fleeing the violence by escaping to other European countries, including more than 1.5 million to Poland alone, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees website.

Leading up to Putin’s declaration of war on Feb. 24, the EU renewed and strengthened economic sanctions against Russian banks and hundreds of individuals in the Russian State Duma heavily involved in the crisis, according to the European Council website. U.S. President Joe Biden strengthened existing economic sanctions similarly by “sanctioning additional Russian elites and their family members,” according to the U.S. Treasury website.

Though Biden has made clear that he will not send troops to Ukraine for fear of beginning a world war, his administration has contributed millions of dollars in weaponry and armor to Ukraine. The EU has financed weaponry, and several European countries have sent jets. Japan, South Korea and Taiwan have also condemned the invasion with harsh economic sanctions on Russia.

Zelensky has called upon these countries to strengthen their sanctions, speaking to the EU Commission, UK Parliament and countless world leaders. Additionally, he has made a call for “citizens of the world” to take up arms and help Ukrainians against the Russian forces. Thousands of citizens from the United States, Canada, across Europe and Asia have volunteered and arrived in Ukraine.

Zelensky has been unrelenting in condemning Russia and Putin and persuading countries to support Ukraine. He has framed the war as a war that will determine the fate of free democracies worldwide.

“If you, dear European leaders, dear world leaders, leaders of the free world, do not help us today, then tomorrow the war will knock on your door,” Zelensky warned.