By Dezarae Churchill
On Feb. 24 Ukrainian citizens huddled together in subway stations in an attempt to seek asylum from Russia’s attack. Nearly three weeks after the initial strike, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is urging world leaders to visit the falling city of Kyiv.
The initial air raid attack killed at least 137 people on the first day. As of April 2, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights reports an estimate of 1,417 civilian casualties.
Civilians in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, have been armed by the government, and are asked to defend their homes, according to The New York Times.
Ukrainians are fighting for their lives, and the question arises: how far will the powers of the world let Putin take this?
History of Unrest between Russia and Ukraine
Unrest is no foreign entity to Ukraine, who has been fighting to maintain its sovereignty for over 30 years.
In Dec 1991, Ukraine gained independence from The Soviet Union after the collapse of the USSR. At that time, Russia agreed to grant Ukraine independence.
A stipulation to Ukrainian independence was the relinquishment of their arsenal of nuclear weapons, and they joined the United Nations in 1994.
Tensions with Russia increased in 2014. Under the rule of Vladimir Putin, Russia seized control over the Crimean Peninsula, according to National Geographic.
According to Vladimir Putin, Crimea was annexed in an effort to protect Russians from ‘far-right extremists’.
United States’ Response to the Attack
Following the attack on Feb 24, the White House imposed economic sanctions as part of a worldwide effort to limit Russia’s power, according to a White House statement.
“Today’s actions include sweeping financial sanctions and stringent export controls that will have profound impact on Russia’s economy, financial system, and access to cutting-edge technology,” President Joe Biden said from the White House Briefing Room.
The United States has placed sanctions on Russia’s two largest banks, and is targeting the country’s elite families — forcing them to take accountability for their support of Putin, according to the United States Treasury Department.
Members of the United States Armed Forces has been deployed, including over 5,000 soldiers from Fort Bragg, most were paratroopers from the 82nd airborne, according to North Carolina’s Public Radio.
State governments also responded. N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper signed Executive Order No. 251, Feb. 28, directing state governments to terminate any operation that directly benefits Russian entities.
The executive order includes the removal of Russian vodka from ABC store shelves, as well as many bars and restaurants. The Department of Administration, Division of Purchase & Contract (NC) have been advised to terminate any contracts with Russia.
Gas prices rose in response to the conflict. The average cost per gallon in the triangle in March was $4.17, a drastic increase from $3.27 in January 2022.
According to GasBuddy, the best days to fill up your car are on Mondays and Fridays, when gas prices are at their lowest.
The World Issues Aid to Citizens of Ukraine
President Biden has approved a 13.6 billion dollar budget to help supply Ukrainian citizens with the arsenal necessary to fight Russian invaders.
According to the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, the E.U. has also provided weapons totaling over $500 million.
Ukrainians are desperate to survive. According to the UN’s refugee agency, it is believed that over 3 million people have fled to neighboring countries.
The remaining Ukrainian citizens are resorting to making Molotov Cocktails, a homemade explosive after deputy defense minister Hanna Maliar urged civilians to be prepared for further attacks on Kyiv in local Ukrainian news coverage.
Global Reactions Expand Beyond Offering Aid
In the State of the Union address on March 1, President Biden assured the American people that democracy remains a top priority and the United States will not stand for terrorist actions of Russia.
“Together with our allies- we are right now enforcing powerful economic sanctions,” said Biden.
The United States is standing firm with allied countries to hold Russia accountable. Australia, Canada, Japan, U.K., and the European Union have all taken steps to prevent Russia from participating in a global market.
The U.S. also banned Russian aircrafts the ability to fly through American airspace.
Putin has put the world on edge with talk of nuclear weapons. President Biden’s state of the union address calls for democracy.
“Putin is now isolated from the world, more than he has ever been,” said Biden.
According to The World Future Council, one year ago Putin and Biden met at the Geneva Convention in Switzerland, and they agreed that a nuclear war would be catastrophic, reminiscing on Ronald Reagan’s call for peace with Russia in 1984: “Nuclear war cannot be won, and must never be fought,” Reagan said at the time.
Thirty-eight years have passed since this chilling statement was issued. The United States and Russia are two domineering forces and leaders in the nuclear race. The rest of the world clenches hoping both sides hold up their end of the bargain.