Russia Invades Ukraine; US Responds with Sanctions as the World Watches

On Feb 24, President Vladimir Putin announced Russian troops are undertaking what he calls “special military action” across Ukraine. This is the largest invasion of any European country since WW2.

What’s Going on and Why?

 Cities like Kharkiv, Odessa, and Sumy have come under heavy artillery fire or captured as streams of refugees flee to neighboring countries such as Hungary and Poland. Those caught in the crossfire hide in Cold War era subways. Russian forces have entered the Capitol city Kyiv as ballistic mussels and attack helicopters fly overhead. Hostile Tanks surround Chernobyl, the sight of an infamous nuclear disaster in 1986. Reuters states, at least 70 people have perished.  However, the true extent of the carnage may not be known since images of Russian incinerator trucks to dispose of dead bodies have been seen in captured cities.

One incident in the Black Sea captured on audio and footage  has gained social media attention. Defiant Ukrainian Border guards radio, “… go f*** yourself” to a Russian warship that then kills all thirteen soldiers on Snake Island. A Ukrainian soldier live-streamed the moment a ballistic missile decimated him and his outpost.


Putin claims Russia seeks to “demilitarize” and “denazify” Ukraine and to put an end to what he claims to be Kyiv’s eight years of “persecution” and “genocide.” Putin is referencing the fact a sizable portion of Ukrainians initially welcomed or helped Nazis during WW2. While many more Ukrainians fought against Nazism, some felt a greater resentment towards the Soviet Union and hoped to gain national independence. Putin feels because of Ukraine’s past collaboration they are an illegitimate Nazi puppet state. He also sees Ukraine’s attempt at becoming a NATO member a threat to Russia’s security. Putin also made baseless claims about mass genocide of Russian citizens by Ukrainians in the Donbas region.

A World in Shock

The world has reacted sharply to the Russian invasion. The United States as well as several European Nations have announced the strictest sanctions ever imposed on Russia and Putin himself. They will freeze over 80% of the banking assets in the country. Belarus, a close ally of Russia, faces sanctions as well. President Joe Biden has also discussed barring Russia from one of the largest secure international banking systems, SWIFT, which would stop Russia from completing transactions with other nations. 


Putin has also faced backlash from within Russia. Thousands gathered in Pushkinskaya Square in Moscow to protest their country’s invasion of it’s neighbor. Russian authorities immediately responded by clearing the square and detaining 600 protestors. Thousands of other protesters have been arrested throughout sporadic demonstrations around Russia. The Kremlin released a statement saying its citizens “do not have the right to organize protest actions” without government permission.


Putin claims, “Whoever tries to interfere with us, and even more so to create threats to our country, to our people, should know that Russia’s response will be immediate and will lead you to such consequences as you have never experienced in your history.” 

America’s Involvement

Biden has ordered 7,000 troops to be deployed to Europe, but not to Ukraine itself. US troops will act in a defensive role to support other NATO soldiers. Military aid has flooded into Ukraine during the past few months from across NATO to bolster their defenses. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky banned all 18-60-year-old men from leaving the country to be ready for conscription into the armed forces.