Understanding the Ukraine Crisis

On Mar. 2, 2022, Dr. Roni Kay O’Dell, PhD in international relations, led a discussion about the ongoing Russian invasion in Ukraine. Dr. O’Dell provided the Seton Hill community with factual, and unbiased information. Here are her answers to the questions we’ve all been asking:

Ukraine and Russia are the main players here, led by Presidents Zelenskyy and Putin, respectively. O’Dell said the rest of the world is not divorced from this issue- the UK, the US, and even Switzerland, who previously held a reputation of neutrality, are a few among many that have gotten involved.

Russia invaded Ukraine with the intent to take the major cities and to eventually topple the government and replace it with Russia’s form of government. In response, Ukraine militia and civilians rose to defend their country. Also, many countries, such as the three named above, have placed sanctions, including limits on trade or financial interactions, on Russia in an attempt to slow down or stop the invasion.

Russia first mobilized troops along the Ukrainian border in December of 2021. On Feb. 21, 2022, Russia recognized Donetsk and Luhansk as states in the international system, challenging Ukraine’s sovereignty. On Feb. 24, 2022, the invasion began.

Ukraine is located on the continent of Europe. Russia is transcontinental and spans both Europe and Asia. The major cities of Ukraine that are being attacked include Kharkiv, Kyiv, and Mariupol. 

The reasoning that Putin gave for the attacks is Ukraine’s political instability. After the collapse of the USSR in 1991 and Ukraine’s declaration of sovereignty, there were waves of conflicting ideals in Ukraine’s leadership regarding which style of government the country should follow. Russia wants Ukraine to follow their style of government and believes that they can make that happen by overthrowing the current parliament.

Written by: Hannah Smrcka and MJ Greathouse

Photo from Unsplash.com