2022 Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Is It Justified?

[Sean Gallup: Getty Images]
[Ukrainian soldiers prepare for Russian invasion]

[Sean Gallup: Getty Images] [Ukrainian soldiers prepare for Russian invasion]

Ukraine declared its independence from the USSR in 1991 when the dissolution of the Soviet Union occurred. Presently, Russia has had no control over Ukraine since then.

It is publicly known that Ukraine has expressed interest in joining NATO. NATO stands for The North Atlantic Treaty Organization and is a military alliance composed of thirty countries.  

During the aftermath of World War II, the North Atlantic Treaty was settled as protection against the Soviet armies invading Eastern and central European countries. Currently, NATO aims to protect allies from wars or invasions through military or political means.  

NATO has accepted many countries that were previously a part of the USSR, meaning many of them border Russia, which is seen as a threat to Russia’s security as a result of their close proximity. Russia desires to keep its borders secure and not have any more bordering countries become part of NATO; so, Ukraine being adopted into NATO could enrage a powerful country with access to thousands of nuclear weapons. 

The question still stands: would including Ukraine in NATO sooner prevent Russia’s invasion or would World War III be on its rise? For, according to NATO’s collective defense, Article Five, “an attack against one Ally is considered as an attack against all Allies.”

Adding another bordering country of Russia to NATO is dangerous, but Ukraine is especially risky because of the history between the two countries. 

Vladimir Putin made a speech this year that reaffirmed Russia’s fixed hold on Ukraine, in which he said, “Ukraine is an inalienable part of our own history, culture and spiritual space.”

Although Ukraine is pitied around the world and many efforts to help them have gone underway, there are still some neutral countries that believe Russia’s invasion was justified. For instance, it is argued that Ukraine’s desire to join NATO was a threat to Russia’s security and measures had to be taken to protect Russia and its people.  

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has done its job in demonstrating that Russia will go to many lengths to secure the end of NATO’s eastward expansion that would ensure military threats near or in Russia.  

Ukraine gave up nuclear weapons with the promise of protection from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Russia. Speculation has occurred alerting Putin of Ukraine possibly obtaining Nuclear weapons, which would act as another threat against Russia’s capital. Though, this narrative might as well be fiction because NATO has confirmed that Ukraine has not been supplied with nuclear weapons.

Others also argue that the invasion of Ukraine is being blown out of proportion, for there have been plenty of invasions throughout history that were essentially swept under the rug. An example is the 2011 Invasion of Somalia, which was an invasion out of self-defense.

However, the means of self-defense under Russia’s invasion was purely hypothetical because Ukraine had not yet been accepted into NATO, nor had it invaded Russia previously. Russia had annexed Crimea from Ukraine in the past and Russia is more than capable to do that on a larger scale later on, which only gives Ukraine more of a reason to seek an acceptance into NATO.  

“As a history teacher, you teach your students to use multiple sources to obtain information and to be able to read, evaluate, and understand the source from the point of view of the author. The news sources that I have been following to learn about the Russian invasion of Ukraine have all been presented with an American viewpoint of the crisis. While I can intellectually understand the Russian government’s point of view of their invasion, from what I have learned from the sources that I have seen, I do not believe that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was justified or that it was out of self defense” Said Ms. Yeam, A Pascack Hills world history teacher.  

Ms. Yeam poses a perspective that most of the information presented to Americans is written by Americans. There are no Ukrainian soldiers on the battlefield writing articles for the general public  to understand their point of view, and there are no Russian soldiers on the battlefield to be quoted on what they are fighting for. 

Although the news has come a long way and receiving information is much easier with the boom of technology, Americans are still interpreting the current Russo-Ukrainian War differently as it continues with every twist and turn.

Most of the Russian reasoning for invading Ukraine was based on mainly hypothetical threats as well as hypocritical judgments. Putin claims that Ukraine joining NATO would be a threat to Russia’s borders, but Ukraine not joining NATO would be a threat to the whole country. Putin claims to have a spiritual and cultural connection with Ukraine, but still harms its people and land by invading it multiple times and attempting to annex areas, such as Crimea.  

It is estimated that almost 200,000 Russian troops were on the border long before the announcement of an invasion was made. Russia has always had a sort of power over Ukraine and had essentially forced the leader to seek help from NATO. Russia may not want NATO militaries on its borders, but Putin finds no problem in putting Russian troops around Ukrainian borders. 

Russian and Ukrainian lives are being lost over the poor decision to initiate a war due to Vladimir Putin’s fear of losing power and losing Ukraine to his western enemies. 

“Russia’s aggression against Ukraine mimics similar patterns that other aggressors used throughout history; however, as compared to the past, the global community’s awareness of the humanitarian crisis is heightened thanks to modern mass communication services. Witnessing this crisis through multiple global sources, it seems clear the injustice that Russia has perpetrated on the Ukrainian people, therefore the global community has the opportunity to recognize, condemn, and respond to the hawkish policies of the Russian government” said Mr. Volk, another Pascack Hills history teacher.  

The Ukrainian people are victims of what the United Nations deems as a violation of the UN charter. Unquestionably, Russia’s unnecessary invasion of Ukraine has left innocent people’s lives ruined and family members dead. A war like this should be avoided at all costs, which it could have, but instead, an invasion occurred with no reason worth all of the consequences that followed.  

The sanctions put on Russia were just some of the ways the rest of the world has attempted to stop this unnecessary war. It is important for Hills students to understand both sides of the war to have a complete understanding of what’s right or wrong in their own opinion.

The two history teachers interviewed teach the Freshman class at Hills about the historical events of the past, so one day, their students can understand when history is being made in the present. The Russo-Ukrainian War is just one of the fundamental events throughout history within each student’s lifetime.

It is time for what Hills students had learned in history class and in real life to formulate an opinion on current events like the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It is imperative for all students to be educated on current events because the information is available to them, unlike the Ukranians whose schools are being bombed.  

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