OPINION: NATO, EU should support Ukraine


Photo: Katie Godowski from Pexels

New Yorkers in the street protesting against the war in Ukraine on Feb. 23, 2022.

Brianna Warriner, Reporter

Forty Ukrainian soldiers were killed Thursday, Feb. 24 at 5 a.m. under Russian attack, while trying to keep Ukraine safe from a Russian invasion. This event has proven just how dangerous Russian President Vladimir Putin truly is. 

Russia has been building up troops by the border of Ukraine for a year and continues to set fears into Ukrainian citizens for what’s to come. With a long history of tension between Russia and Ukraine – including Russia illegally annexing the Crimean peninsula and its time together in the Soviet Union – ties between Russia and Ukraine have been strained. Russia believes that Ukraine is rightfully a part of Russia, while Ukraine just wants to stay independent.

Russia denied all claims of invading Ukraine, stating that it was “total disinformation” and claimed it was a “special military operation” to help Russian speaking Ukranian’s join Russia. According to ABC News, Russia was angered by these claims and said that the US was wrong in it’s allegations. However, Putin has made his intentions clear to put the iron curtain of Europe back together. The iron curtain of Europe are the most Eastern countries of Europe that were previously a part of the Soviet Union. According to CNBC News, Putin has expressed interest and nostalgia for Russia’s imperial past and called the fall of the Soviet Union a “tragedy”.

Putin has called Ukraine a “puppet of the West” and was “never a proper state anyways”. According to the BBC, he demands that the West “guarantees” that Ukraine will not join NATO, this way Ukraine will not be backed by other countries.

Putin does not want Ukraine to join NATO, because he knows the repercussions of this could be devastating to his goal of a reunited Russian imperial state. 

Russia began it’s official invasion on Thursday, Feb. 24, when Russian troops pushed into Ukrainian territory and sent helicopters in.The  New York Times reported that Ukraine shot down many Russian soldiers and managed to hold off the advances on Chernihiv and Kharviv. 

However, Ukraine’s numbers and defenses are greatly outnumbered by Russia and are quickly being pushed over as Russian troops have taken camp outiside the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. The EU and voiced their support with Ukraine. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said “We stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and it’s government” and commended Ukraine for holding off Russia in the meanwhile. Stoltenberg also said grave breach of international law and a serious threat to Euro-Atlantic security. It’s worth noting that the International Court of Justice is investigating Russia for war crimes, specifically genocide.

Putin threatened allies of Ukraine should they help. Whoever tries to interfere with us, and even more so, to create threats for our country, for our people, should know that Russia’s response will be immediate and will lead you to such consequences that you have never experienced in your history.” 

However, most Russian citizens do not agree with Putin’s tactics with thousands of citizens protesting the war and speaking out against the government. With protests from Moscow to Siberia, Russian citizens are putting themselves at risk by going against Putin’s plans. According to TIME Magazine, Russian police have tried to stop these protests by detaining prisoners, but the rallies haven’t ended.

Supporters of Putin come from the most unlikely of places with people like former President Donald Trump standing with Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine. Trump complimented Putin by saying he was “pretty smart” for invading a country for “$2 worth of sanctions”. Trump supporters find themselves split between aligning with Trump’s views and seeing the wrongs in Putin’s actions. 

Even though Ukraine is backed by NATO and the EU, they are not officially a part of either one. With the problems that are rising, Ukraine should re-start the process to join the establishments. NATO has rejected Ukraine’s request to join before and now they’re about to be completely invaded by Putin and his henchmen. In the meantime, Ukraine needs support from allied countries  to keep Russia off their land and to keep the independence they fought so diligently for. This support can come in many ways such as militia, places for refugees to escape to and medical AID and food supplies.