Early Thursday morning, Ukrainian citizens woke to the sound of explosions, Russia had launched a much-anticipated, full-scale invasion of Ukraine. For months, Russian troops had been building in number at the Ukrainian border, as Ukraine pleaded with Putin and the Russian people for peace.
Ukrainian people have been fleeing the capital city of Kyiv, and long lines of cars can be seen seeking safety in other areas of the country. Citizens who could not escape cities have taken shelter in subway stations as air raid sirens sounded off.
Current information available states that at least 40 Ukrainians have been killed by missile strikes and multiple injuries have been reported. Ukraine’s military claims to have destroyed four Russian tanks, six planes, and one helicopter. 50 Russian soldiers have been killed at this time.
Biden, in addition to the leaders of numerous NATO nations, has just announced the implementation of sanctions against Russia. Russian banks have been banned from the U.S. market, and exports from the U.S. to Russia will be severely restricted. Biden stated that the goal is to block more than half of Russia’s imports and drastically damage their ability to participate in the global economy.
Oil prices in Russia have skyrocketed, which will further hurt the already-inflated U.S. economy that relies heavily on imported oil ever since Biden shut down the Keystone Pipeline during the first days of his administration.
During his press conference, Biden stated that American military forces will not defend Ukraine, but that the U.S. will provide humanitarian relief. U.S. troops have been deployed all over Eastern Europe in an effort to ward off any possible attacks on NATO allies.
Amid the growing threats, Biden has announced that he has “no plans to talk with Putin”.
Putin, on the other hand, has claimed that he was “forced” to take military action against Ukraine. Referencing Western sanctions, he said “Russia remains part of the global economy and isn’t going to hurt the system that it is part of as long as it remains there”, “Our partners should realize that and not set a goal to push us out of the system,”. His statements can be clearly interpreted as threatening to the U.S. and other countries that may be considering further sanctions against Russia. Following Biden’s press conference, the ball has been placed in Putin’s court.
AP news has reported that Boris Johnson, Britain’s Prime minister, announced a set of sanctions aimed at cutting Russia off from the U.K.’s financial markets. The sanctions will ban Russia’s largest airline, Aeroflot, from landing in the U.K., freeze the assets of all major Russian banks, and ban numerous exports to Russia.
Many other countries have joined Britain and the United States in rebuking Putin and his actions against Ukraine.
Russia and Ukraine have had a complicated history that goes back decades. More recently, NATO, a military alliance between 28 European countries and 2 North American countries (including the United States), extended an offer to Ukraine and Georgia to join the alliance. Both countries were formerly controlled by the USSR. Many Eastern European countries that were previously under Soviet control had also joined NATO, such as Hungary, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Czech Republic. This offer put Putin in a defensive position. Putin, who viewed NATO extending its reach right up to the Russian border as a threat, then proceeded to annex Crimea during the Obama administration.
The events of the Ukraine invasion are actively unfolding, and updates will be given when available. As of right now, the U.S. is not involved in any armed conflict, and the American people at large hope to not engage Russia militarily.