It is finally here; the war that many dreaded for nearly a month has come. After a build-up of 190,000 troops at the border of Ukraine and weeks of failed negotiations, the Russian government has authorized a full-fledged invasion into Ukraine. Across multiple flanks, the Russians have begun attacking various points in Ukraine, including the infamous Chernobyl nuclear facility.
The invasion is not only taking place in Donetsk and Luhansk–which Russia now occupies–but they have also begun bombing sites near Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital. Airports and other civilian infrastructure have been bombed, suggesting that Russia may be attempting to cut off the people’s means to leave the country. However, that is not confirmed yet.
Russian forces are still deploying throughout the region and even were found in the outskirts of Kyiv, thanks to their three-pronged attack across the nation. In a fiery speech, Putin made the ridiculous and false claim that Ukraine didn’t have a right to exist, saying, “Modern-day Ukraine was in full and in whole created by Russia….”
While it is unclear what will come of these invasion attempts, sanctions are almost certain to follow. In a speech, Biden announced that the U.S. would continue to unveil more sanctions against the belligerent Russian state. “Putin chose this war,” he said, warning that Russia will pay for its incursion in Ukraine.
That said, it is far from certain that these sanctions will have the desired effect. Russia has worked, to some success, to decrease its dependence on foreign goods. That said, Russia saw its stock market plummet after the announcement of its invasion. The elimination of the Nordstream 2 pipeline will also likely have serious economic consequences for Russia, but the extent of those consequences remains unknown.
Far from acting on behalf of the Russian people, Russian officials have begun arresting anti-war protesters in Moscow, with many being taken kicking and screaming.
While the situation is ongoing, it is important to remember that Ukraine and its people are still standing. They are fighting as best they can, and that fight will require assistance. Food, weapons, and public support. But even more than that, it needs a unified, global effort to make Russia pay for its crimes. That means seizing assets of Russian officials, knocking Russia out of SWIFT, and isolating it to the point that it can no longer function. And above all else, if Ukraine does fall, the leaders of the free world must endeavor to help Ukrainian refugees with the dignity that Russia is trying to take from them. Russia must pay for its attacks, and those who support this must be treated like the authoritarians they are.