Update 2/25, 10:25 AM – Russia has now expressed a willingness to negotiate, but the details are unclear.
Update 2/25, 8:03 AM – Russian troops have entered the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and fighting in the city has begun.
After months of rising tensions, Russia launched a large-scale invasion of Ukraine yesterday, Thursday the 24th, which the world has been anticipating for the past couple of weeks. The invasion involved multiple airstrikes on cities and military bases, troops sent from three different directions, and tanks which rolled in shortly after. Russian forces attacked Ukraine from the east, in Kharkiv, from the south, in Crimea, and from the North, in Belarus.
This three-pronged ground assault is a tactic Russia has used in multiple military tactics on the Baltic border, which many experts called a “foreshadowing of events to come”. While the invasion of another country itself is concerning for international politics and trade, the Russian invasion of Ukraine holds special significance since it has the potential to change the power dynamics of the post-Soviet states and reorder the political hierarchy of Eastern Europe.
Despite widespread criticism and heavy sanctions, Russian President Vladmir Putin began the largest ground war in Europe since World War II, even referencing the possibility of a nuclear war. Putin also delivered an alarming threat, warning that any country that tried to interfere with his invasion would face “consequences you have never seen.” In response to the events of today, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted “Russia has embarked on a path of evil, but Ukraine is defending itself and won’t give up its freedom”.
Quickly following the invasion of Ukraine, U.S. President Joe Biden added new sanctions against Russia, arguing that Putin could have avoided this war if he wanted to. President Biden’s sanctions were quickly followed by similar actions from South Korea, Australia, and a few European countries. Meanwhile, in Ukraine, officials reported dozens of Ukrainian soldiers’ deaths and the loss of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, which was the site of the world’s most devastating nuclear disaster and has since been decommissioned.
Thousands of Ukrainian citizens moved into the subway stations in Kyiv, afraid of a direct Russian assault on the capital city. The chief of the NATO alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, summarized the invasion of Ukraine perfectly, stating that “this brutal act of war” shattered peace in Europe, and warned that this attack could cost large numbers of casualties and crumble Ukraine’s democracy. President Zelenskyy appealed to the leaders of other nations, hauntingly stating “if you don’t help us now, if you fail to offer a powerful assistance to Ukraine, tomorrow the war will knock on your door.”