Terror, Turmoil and the Fight for a Tomorrow
Story & Graphic by Mia Fuller – Staff Reporter
In the year 1991, Ukraine won its independence from Russia, still then known as the U.S.S.R. For the previous 400 years, Ukraine had always been property of the mass reign of the Russian Empire, and later the U.S.S.R. The past 31 years have held a tentative peace between the two nations. Tensions started to rise in 2008 when Ukraine first tried and failed to join NATO. Tensions were on the rise again in 2014 when Vladimir Putin, who was elected president of Russia in 2000, invaded and annexed Crimea from Ukraine.
The boiling point was hit again when, in early November of 2021, a group of Russian troops were seen along the Ukraine border. The number of these troops increased as months passed, until Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022. As the world enters or becomes more aware of a global state of chaos, it is important that people’s opinions and views are seen.
Jack Pettegrew, a junior at LSN, is well-versed in the world of global politics and always keeps up to date on the Russo-Ukrainian situation. Pettegrew knows as of March 4th, that Russia has surrounded and is currently trying to capture one of Ukraine’s largest cities: Kharkiv, and its capital: Kyiv.
As the chaos escalates, Pettegrew believes this will show the U.S. and the world what modern warfare looks like.
“[We are] going to learn how war in the 21st century will work, and how an invasion will be conducted in the 21st century. We will see a normalization of this type of warfare,” Pettegrew said.
The best way Pettegrew believes that the U.S. and everybody else can help Ukraine is through financial support, and to ostracize Russia and its economy from the rest of the world. Pettegrew also believes that it is important to send a message to the Russian people just as much as the Ukrainian people.
“I’m sorry that your leaders, whom you have not chosen, have dragged you into a war you are unwilling to fight,” Pettegrew said.
Biany Bekker, a senior who is one of the school’s foreign exchange students from Germany, has been able to keep up with the current conflict through social media. The situation is not only impacting Bekker in an emotional way, but it also may mean that she will either have to leave early and go back to Germany or stay in America for longer than anticipated. Despite this, Bekker wants to get messages out to both the Ukrainian and Russian people.
“You are not alone,” Bekker said in reference to the Ukrainian people’s situation right now.
Bekker also believes that in times of global discourse like this, every country that is able to should provide safe, accessible housing and refuge for the millions of Ukrainian refugees who are fleeing their country.
As each day passes with even more death and destruction, one word stands out in Pettegrew, Bekker and most everyone’s minds: disaster. While everybody can’t donate, fight, or physically help Ukraine, everybody can hope. Everybody can hope for a better today, a better tomorrow and a better future.