Ukraine and Russia: Stay Informed


Sophia Maybin

Tensions have been rising between Ukraine and Russia since 2014.

If you’ve been keeping up with world events, then you have definitely heard and seen videos and photos of the horrors going on in Ukraine. Not many people, especially high school students, know exactly what or why the aggression from Russia is happening.

Fast Facts

  • Putin is attacking Ukraine because he believes that Ukraine is fascist, and over anger towards the removal of a past pro-Russian president in Ukraine
  • Ukraine wanted to join NATO, but the notion was halted because of the previous pro-Russian president
  • The UN has imposed sanctions in order to discourage war
  • A draft for the people of the U.S. is extremely unlikely

To clear up some uncertainty and prevent further misinformation from spreading, let’s take a look at some of the primary reasons Russia is attacking Ukraine.

Putin’s Reasoning: Back to WWII

Putin claimed that his invasion of Ukraine was to get rid of the Nazi influence, despite Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine, being Jewish. Ukraine has a democratically elected government, not an authoritarian one.

The most likely reason Putin said this is because Ukraine was occupied by Nazi Germany during WWII. During that occupation, the views on the Nazi occupation were split among Ukrainians. Some welcomed the Nazis, and others did not.

This reasoning is faulty, however, since Putin is invading a neighboring country just as Germany did at the beginning of WWII.

Putin also views NATO as “evil,” and believes that the western influence on the country is an affront to Russia.

The Fall of the USSR

The USSR, or Soviet Union, fell in the 1990s. After the collapse of the union, Ukraine, which was previously a founding member of the USSR, regained its independence.

Putin still feels like that territory belongs to Russia, as shown by his annexation of Crimea in 2014. The geological location of Crimea is separated from the mainland of Russia by Ukraine, and Putin’s military offense on the eastern border of Ukraine is likely to attempt to connect the mainland to Crimea.

Many speculate the reason Putin has not gone after other countries that border the mainland, such as Poland or Kazakhstan, is because they are part of NATO.

What’s the Deal with Ukraine and NATO?

A lot of people are confused on whether or not Ukraine is part of NATO. In short: No, the country is not.

The country applied for membership in 2008, but their admittance into NATO did not go through because of past pro-Russian leaders. Past president of the 2010 Ukrainian election Viktor Yanukovych decided to have the country be non-aligned. Yanukovych fled the country in 2014.

Ukraine had joining NATO amended into their constitution in February of 2019.

According to a poll performed by the Democratic Initiatives Foundation in June of 2017, 69% of Ukrainians wanted to join NATO. It is likely the number has skyrocketed in the recent attacks, since it grew during the annexation of Crimea. The number during that time period jumped from 28% to the most recent 69%.

America’s Involvement and the Draft

During his address on February 25, President Biden told America that he, along with other UN allies, would be imposing heavy sanctions on Russia in order to combat their military violence indirectly.

The goal is to hit Russia’s economy. Most of the country’s banking companies have frozen assets overseas, and Germany has halted a major gas pipeline project from Russia.

Putin has threatened nuclear action if any other countries try to interfere militarily, so sanctions and freezing assets is the safest way the UN can respond.

A pressing issue for high school students, since a lot of us are 17 going on 18, is the draft. When applying for college, males have to check the “selective service” box if they want financial aid for post-high school education.

If the United States enters the war, a draft is very unlikely to occur. The public has a negative opinion on the draft, and declaring one would lead to objection across the country. A draft starting in a state of war is not impossible, but it’s important to remember that the U.S. is not at war.


The U.S.’s involvement in the war between Ukraine and Russia is more minimal than most people think. Remember that no one is immune to propaganda, and it’s important to check every source you read.