The War Between Russia and Ukraine: A Year Since the Invasion


Just over a year ago Russia invaded neighboring country Ukraine in an escalation of a war that began in 2014. In 2014, Russia occupied and annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea, which was followed by the War of Donbas, an eastern province of Ukraine. In 2015, the Minsk Agreement was signed, and the fighting temporarily stopped, but the war was not over.

Since 2021, when Russia began a military build-up at Ukraine’s borders, Russian president Vladimir Putin has insisted that Russia wants the “demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine.”  Taya, an 8th grader here at Blaine, has family in Russia and she shared some of the complicated views Russians have on the war. Her grandmother, who lives in St. Petersburg, supports the war because she believes Putin when he tells the Russian public “it’s all for the good of Russia.”  Taya and her parents disagree with her grandmother so when they talk to her, they avoid politics.  It’s also complicated because Russians and Ukrainians have many connections to one another.  For example, Taya’s nanny was Ukrainian, and Taya is scared for her and her family.

This war affects more countries than just Russia and Ukraine. The rest of the world is impacted too because Russia supplies lots of fossil fuels used to heat homes around the world. Because of the invasion, it is getting more expensive for people to heat their homes and pay for gasoline.  The war has created the largest refugee crisis since World War II. As of July 2022, the UN reports that over eight million refugees have fled Ukraine.  Most have fled to countries that border Ukraine or are nearby, like Hungary and Slovakia.  Poland for example, has taken in almost 1.2 million refugees according to the UN.

The war affects Russians too, both in Russia and in America. Taya’s uncle, who lives in Russia, was drafted, and went into hiding.  They have been very worried for his safety.  In the United States, there’s a lot of support for Ukraine, so Russians here may feel unwelcome.   Taya says people sometimes step away from her or give her weird looks if she speaks Russian in public.   “I don’t want people to think I don’t belong here, she said, “I think the war is stupid and unnecessary.  If Putin declares a nuclear war, it will affect us all.”