Why is Russia invading Ukraine? What is the current death toll? How will this affect the United States? Here’s everything you need to know:
In October of 2021, Russian troops packed up military equipment and placed it near Ukraine's border. At that moment, Ukrainian citizens grew worried about a potential invasion, especially since a stalemate had existed between the countries. For the following months Putin denied plans to invade Russia’s neighbor, until he launched a large-scale attack on February 24th, 2022. Putin claims that Russia does not feel safe enough to further develop under conflict with Ukraine. Reporters have denounced Putin's claims as irrational. BBC news reporter Paul Kirby stated Putin's goal was to “protect people subjected to bullying and genocide and aim for the "demilitarisation and de-Nazification" of Ukraine” (Kirby, 2022). This remark is near impossible as Ukraine's president is Jewish, meaning Putin is ultimately using propaganda against Russian and Ukrainian civilians.
The death toll currently stands at 198 Ukrainian citizens while 1,115 have been injured, according to Viktor Liashko, the minister of healthcare in Ukraine. These numbers are ever changing as attacks continue. A United States (U.S.) intel assessment warned that 25 to 50 thousand Ukrainian civilians could die and another 1 to 5 million may be forced to flee the country in response to a full-scale invasion. These predictions came out weeks before Putin’s aggression. In that time, Ukrainian civilians trained to resist by learning how to use weapons, apply first aid, and help the injured. Ukraine's former defense minister cites resistance to be used as their main deterrent.
Russian civilians woke up the morning of the invasion to find Putin's televised announcement playing on loop. The value of their currency fell instantaneously as Russians stood in lines of banks attempting to withdraw their money. NBC’s Keir Simmons spoke to many Russians on the street, expressing how upset they are. Few Russians were reported to support President Putin's decision. One woman Simmons spoke with was terrified of what is going to happen to her Ukrainian partner. Others say they are afraid of what will happen within Russian borders and fearful of what the Ukrainian civilians will undergo.
United States President Joe Biden has warned Americans that they will face costs in an effort to defend freedom. He has issued a number of sanctions based on deterrence limiting Russia's ability to do business in any currency form. He has reiterated that American troops will not fight in Ukraine but work to defend NATO allies. The U.S. will continue to see a rise in inflation depending on how far Putin goes. The price of oil and other commodities will rise exponentially as Russia stands as the world's third-biggest producer of oil and second-largest for gas (Huak, 2022). Risk entails that Russia may cut off gas and oil supplies to countries such as the U.S., which has made it clear they do not support the invasion. Europe would likely face such a loss first, as the U.S. attempts to assure the needed resources. Average gas prices have drastically increased in the U.S., the highest since 2014, and will continue. Time will only tell how this conflict will play out.
Egan, Lauren. “Biden Announces New Measures in Response to Russian Invasion of Ukraine.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 26 Feb. 2022, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/biden-announce-new-measures-response-russian-invasion-ukraine-rcna17523.
Hauk, William. “Here's How Russia's Invasion of Ukraine Could Worsen Everyday Costs in the U.S.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 24 Feb. 2022, https://www.pbs.org/newshour/economy/heres-how-russias-invasion-of-ukraine-could-worsen-everyday-costs-in-the-u-s.
Kirby, Paul. “Why Is Russia Invading Ukraine and What Does Putin Want?” BBC News, BBC, 27 Feb. 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-56720589.
Simmons, Kier. “How the Russian Public Feels about the Ukraine Invasion.” TODAY.com, Today Show, 24 Feb. 2022, https://www.today.com/video/how-the-russian-public-feels-about-the-ukraine-invasion-133925445971.
Stunson, Mike. “What Is the Death Toll in Ukraine? Look ... - Miamiherald.com.” Miami Herald, Miami Herald , 27 Feb. 2022, https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/article258819393.html. “Ukrainian Citizens Prepare for Possible ... - Youtube.com.” NBC News, NBC News, 6 Feb. 2022, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbFRT8l2gjA.