Ukraine: The Facts

What should you know, and why should you care?


Maddie Rzepka ('22), Orbit Contributor

On February 24th, 2022, Vladimir Putin, with the suspected motive of reclaiming a portion of former Soviet Union territory, ordered Russian troops to initiate military attacks on Ukraine.

Origins of Conflict

In 1991, Ukraine gained its independence from the Soviet Union. However, the current President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, refuses to acknowledge that Ukraine is its own country. 

According to, Putin said to his security council that “We are at war with neo-Nazis, I will never give up on my conviction that Russians and Ukrainians are one people.” Putin views Ukraine’s desire to join NATO as a threat to Russian national security and cites this as another reason for invading the country. Putin has ordered attacks by land and sea. Currently, Russian troops are making their way to Kyev (also spelt Kiev), the capital of Ukraine. 

On February 28th, 2022, talks between the two nations were held in Belarus, but no progress was made. Another round of talks happened on March 2nd, 2022, also in Belarus. This time the nations agreed to corridors to allow citizens to flee. Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, said on Twitter, “The second round of negotiations is over. Unfortunately, the results Ukraine needs are not yet achieved. There is a solution only for the organization of humanitarian corridors.”

Putin’s Demands, Zelensky’s Plea

Putin has made specific demands. These include Ukrainian neutrality, recognition of the 2014 annexation of the Ukrainian Crimean Peninsula by Russia, and the “demilitarization and de-Nazification” of Ukraine, as stated on 

The last demand made by Putin can be seen as questionable as Zelensky is Jewish. Zelensky won the presidential election in 2019 against incumbent Petro Poroshenko. Zelensky is widely popular in Ukraine and uses social media platforms, such as Instagram, to connect with his people and the world. He was formerly an actor and comedian.

Zelensky has begged for help from other nations, including the United States, as the Russian attacks continue. The United States and European countries are placing heavy sanctions on Russia with the intention of hurting the Russian economy in hopes that it will cause Putin to stop the attacks. The Russian ruble has already dropped rapidly in value. has reported that the United States and European countries are also taking action to make it difficult for the Russian central bank to access its foreign reserves and Russian banks have been locked out of their access to the international Swift payments network. 

The Consequences

Casualties are being taken on both sides of this war. Many Ukrainians are staying to fight, but a great deal are fleeing the country. Those who chose to stay are taking shelter in places such as bomb shelters, basements, and subway stations.

Many leaders in the international community have made appeals to Putin. In a recording posted on, António Guterres, the Secretary-General for the United Nations, said, “From the bottom of my heart, Presiden Putin stop your troops from attacking Ukraine. Give peace a chance. Too many people have already died.”

Ms. Bailey’s Take

Ms. Bailey, a history teacher at RMHS, made a statement on why she thinks it is important that high school students understand and pay attention to what is happening in Ukraine. “First of all, it is historically significant. It’s the first time since WWII that a major European power has invaded another major European country. It’s also scary because Ukraine is a powerful country on the border of NATO countries and the European Union and so if Russia takes over that country then a lot of countries in alliances with the United States or with each other think that they might potentially be at risk, which could, if things aren’t handled very delicately, could trigger a major world war.”

For now, the end to this war is unpredictable. However, Ukrainians are not giving up on this fight and are receiving support from their allies.