The War that Never Ends

Erin Egan, In-Depth Writer

   Six months after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the global community is still watching and waiting, left to wonder how this could have happened, and what is to happen next. To get to the bottom of what led to this invasion, one must go back a few years. While the Russian invasion into Ukraine began six months ago, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine began more than eight years ago, and the common history shared by Russia and Ukraine began hundreds of years ago. The most basic way to put it is that Russia has always considered Ukraine to be part of itself.

            In 1922, according to, the Eastern European country Ukraine became a part of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union (existing from 1917 to 1992), was a group of 15 communist countries, including Russia, that were combined to form one extremely large country. After the fall of the USSR in 1991, Ukraine became its own independent country, making it the second largest country in Europe, in terms of land size. At the time Ukraine became independent, a majority of the people living inside its borders were ethnically Russian. Many in Russia considered the Ukrainian and Russian people to be the same, and never liked the idea of Ukraine being independent. 

        In 1994, the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances was signed. This agreement was signed by countries including Ukraine and Russia, and said that Ukraine would give up all of its nuclear weapons and become a non-nuclear country in exchange for Russia’s promise to acknowledge Ukraine as independent. In the years that followed, Ukraine began to change to a Western-style democracy and move away from a totalitarian government, like Russia.

         By 2008, Russia, and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, according to the BBC, were very worried about the possibility that Ukraine would continue to develop strong relationships with democratic Western countries and they were especially worried about the idea of Ukraine becoming a member of NATO. One of the common beliefs of why Putin had a problem with NATO is that as the years have gone on, Putin’s style of leadership has become more totalitarian, and a successful democracy so geographically close would be a threat to his stable position. 

       In 2013, pro-Russian leadership in Ukraine was overthrown, and the new leader in power wanted Ukraine to be more like the European Union and less like Russia. In 2014, Russia invaded Ukraine and illegally annexed the Crimean peninsula, which was home to mostly ethnic Russians. According to the BBC, the invasion of Crimea caused a rebellion and a war in east Ukraine. In 2019, Volodymyr Zelensky was elected president of Ukraine. Part of the reason Zelensky was elected was that he promised to end the conflict with Russia. In 2021, Zelensky started removing pro-Russian oligarchs from power, some of whom were friends of Vladimir Putin. In late 2021, Russia started to move military supplies to the border of Ukraine.

      This past February, Putin ordered troops to be placed at the Ukraine border. On February 24, 2022, while denying the right of an independent Ukrainian state to exist, and claiming to be acting for the oppressed people living in Ukraine, his troops began to invade the country. The BBC revealed the shocking statistic that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was the largest military mobilization since World War II.

      After 6 months of conflict, Ukraine has, with military and humanitarian support from nations around the globe, been able to prevent Russia from taking total control of the country. U.S President Joe Biden has also provided $1.5 billion in humanitarian aid. As the CFR says, countries have provided not only humanitarian aid, but also military equipment to assist Ukraine in the fight against Russia. Nations have also issued sanctions against Russia, preventing the purchase of Russian goods to ruin their economy. Even Russian citizens have joined the international community to protest against the invasion, despite the possibility of very severe punishment by the Russian government. Even posting anti-war opinions on social media sites is risky for people in Russia.

     Even though Ukraine has managed to fight back, Russia has been able to take control of 20% of Ukraine including areas in the Luhansk and Dunbar regions, as the BBC said. It is estimated that Russia gained $12.4 trillion in energy, metals, and minerals once it had established control of those regions, which makes Vladimir Putin’s intentions clear. As of now, Russian forces failed to annex Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. Taking these territories has involved numerous bombings, even at children’s hospitals. The latest major attack was on August 24th, Ukraine’s Independence Day. According to AP news, Russian Missiles destroyed a train station and also killed 22 civilians.

        At this time it’s hard to tell how everything will turn out for Ukraine. The conflict is far from over, and after six months nations around the world are still left with questions.  How will this end? When will it end? Will anyone win this war?