The birth of Ukraine

By: Nicholas Ratcliff

Senior Producer

On Feb. 24, 2022 Vladimir Putin decided to launch an invasion on his neighboring nation, Ukraine. The Ukrainian’s had warned the west for months an attack was coming. Despite the warning, the world watched in disbelief as Russian troops marched across the border. 

The west believed that their threat of sanctions would be enough to stop Putin’s aggression. They assumed Putin was thinking rationally and determined that he wouldn’t risk his country’s economy just to invade Ukraine. 

But the Ukrainians knew better.

Until 1991, Ukraine was under the control of the USSR. After the Soviets halted Germany’s aggression during World War II, they kept pushing all the way to Berlin. 

Once the war was over, the Soviet Union kept all the land they had kicked the Nazis out of. 

From the Russian perspective, within the last 100 years, they fought off three separate invasions by Western European powers. They wanted to use this land as a buffer between them and the rest of Europe. 

As time went on, Ukraine became more important to the economy of the Soviet Union. This is mostly due to Ukraine’s geographical situation that allows it to be the breadbasket for most of Europe. 

This bolstered the partnership between the two countries for a few decades until the Soviet Union’s collapse. 

During the collapse, the Russian leaders decided Russia would do a lot better if it was only in charge of itself, so they decided to let Ukraine become their own country. 

Russia and Ukraine
Photo courtesy: Shutterstock

In this transition phase, the Ukrainian government acted like a puppet state for the Russian government and often supported them during global debates. 

As time went on, the Ukrainians started to identify more with the west, and slowly but surely, their connection with Russia began to erode. 

This is when the Ukrainians started to separate themselves from Putin’s regime. The Ukrainian population started to identify as European instead of Russian. This made Putin mad. 

Fast forward to 2019, and Ukraine is in the middle of a giant political debate. 

On one side, we had the incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, who wanted to remain close with Vladimir Putin. 

On the other side we had Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the pro-Western candidate who wanted to separate the nation’s ties with the Russian government.

During this election, Putin tried everything he could to delegitimize Zelenskyy, yet even still, Zelenskyy won the vote by 73.23%, an overwhelming majority of the country. This was the moment that Putin lost Ukraine. 

Even though he tried everything in his power to hold on to them, the Ukrainians rejected him and opted for the Western World. This was a choice that only the Ukrainian people could have made for themselves. 

From that point on, the Ukrainians started to rally behind their leader. Zelenskyy expressed his interest in joining NATO, and Putin knew he could never let that happen. It would be the final nail in the coffin, the point of no return. 

So, Putin decided to invade before that could happen. He calculated that the Ukrainian’s were weak and that NATO was disorganized. 

Putin was clearly wrong. 

Yet even as the current sanctions cripple his economy and his army fails everyday to make any significant progress, Putin won’t back down. His ego won’t let him. 

Putin can’t stand the idea that the Ukrainian people rejected him and his fascist government. In his eyes, this was an insult that could not be ignored. That is why the threat of sanctions didn’t stop him from invading his neighbor. 

He truly believes that Ukraine belongs to Russia and has abandoned all logical thought. 

Luckily for the rest of the world, the Ukrainian’s are just as determined to fight for their freedoms, as Putin is on taking them. 

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