Current And Future Of Russia-Ukraine Conflict

On February 24th, Russian president Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” against Ukraine with the aim of achieving “demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine.” The United States and its allies are condemning Russia’s actions of invading Ukraine and have unveiled harsh sanctions directed against Russian banks, oligarchs, and state companies. On March 6th, U.S. president Joe Biden had announced additional plans for punitive sanctions on Russia for invading Ukraine. The sanctions, according to Biden, will cut Russia’s two largest banks from direct access to the U.S. dollar, which will limit the Russian military’s ability to expand and restrict the country’s largest state-owned businesses.

Russia’s aggressive response against Ukraine marks the largest conflict since the Cold War. The root of Russia’s aggression is largely due to the U.S. and its European allies’ continuous efforts to incorporate Ukraine into the West and as a member of NATO in the future. The NATO expansion has been moving eastward toward Russia’s border since the end of the Cold War. Ukraine has an ideal geopolitical location to be established as a bulwark situated on Russia’s border. From Vladimir Putin’s perspective, letting the West freely incorporate Ukraine and allowing western military bases to establish alongside the Russian borders serve to be a great military threat to Russia.

To Russia, Ukraine was never simply a foreign country. Ukraine has been a part of Russia for many centuries and their histories are deeply intertwined with each other. Hence, Russia is compelled to act and escalate the conflict with Ukraine because there isn’t an alternative solution in countering NATO and other western countries. Diplomatic talks were held, but remained ineffective. Vladimir Putin is also making nuclear threats as a result of heavy sanctions, which will elevate more risk of casualties and further threaten world peace.

Sanctions imposed on Russia by Western countries and others have served as one of the few instrumental choices in deterring Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Sanctions speak volumes of the stance of the international community against Russia by demonstratively condemning the act of invading Ukraine. Using sanctions is perhaps the safest and most potent means to discourage Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. They will impose greater costs on finance sectors and deprivation in foreign investments and technology. Instead of targeting the general population, sanctions will only target individuals and companies that have close ties with those in power and government officials.

Rising inflations, energy shortages, and setbacks in the global economy are some of the many unintended consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The global supply chain, economy, and cargo goods will likely have a major impact as a result of halted production and shortages during the war. The agriculture industry is expected to have smaller yields and energy and food prices will rise for consumers all over the world. According to GasBuddy, gas prices have gone up an average of 43.7 cents a gallon in the U.S.

According to The New York Times, NATO Countries such as Germany, Poland, and Sweden are supplying weapons to Ukrainians to become better equipped at defending their country. However, those efforts will only have a limited impact. Ukrainians will continue to suffer displacement, bombings, and attacks from the Russian military. The people in Ukraine are going to suffer the most in this war and it is incredibly saddening to witness thousands of Ukrainians being displaced, injured, and killed in the process.

There are also many actions the Western countries could’ve taken to avoid this conflict. The West should have considered the consequences of incorporating Ukraine and the possibility of Russia’s hostile act in response to the attempt of extending NATO eastward to a country as strategic as Ukraine. Putin is likely wary of Western influence in neighboring countries. We must also consider Russia’s point of view and its motivation to undertake aggressive action. For a great superpower like Russia, it is unacceptable for them to grant Western countries the power to establish military bases in a country of great strategic importance like Ukraine. The tensions between Ukraine and Russia had worsen since the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

One mistake made by the West is letting the Ukrainian people believe that they will be successful in standing up against Russia and having a hardline policy in place. Ukraine is not powerful economically to withstand the fight between the two great powers. As one of the least powerful countries in eastern Europe, it is unwise for Ukraine’s people to directly confront and stand up against the Russians so adamantly because this will result in an undemocratic regime like Russia invading Ukraine through sheer force and violence.

World leaders must exercise better judgment and execute better plans to avoid conflicts such as the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. One solution is for the U.S. and its allies to reflect on their own strategy in foreign policies and take responsibility for the crisis in Ukraine. Western policies have failed to achieve the goal of establishing a peaceful and stable relationship with Moscow because policymakers have failed to understand the intricacies that exist when engaging in a nation in Russia and in turn formulating appropriate responses to Russia. The U.S. must stop being hypocritical and apply the same concept of sovereignty to the Ukraine crisis as it applies in its own geopolitical sphere. The U.S and its western allies must renounce the possibility of having Ukraine join NATO to alleviate the ongoing conflict. 

Ideally, one would hope that Ukraine is left as a neutral state between the east and west. It has become more powerful than its current state with a stronger economy. Currently, Ukraine is caught in a power struggle between two factions and lacks the authority to do much of anything.


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