By: Hannah Stoughton
Oct. 12th, 2022: The war between Russia and Ukraine continues as Europeans fear consequences that will arise from the conflict.
On Feb. 24th, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, advancing the previously cold war into a hot one. Since 2014, Russia and Ukraine have been at odds over the idea of Ukraine joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO. In April of 2008, a NATO summit was held to discuss giving Ukraine a Membership Action Plan, or MAP, to which Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, responded with apprehension and disapproval.
In 2014, Russia invaded Crimea, a Ukrainian Peninsula. Since then, tensions between Russia and Ukraine have grown stronger. On Feb. 21st, 2022, just three days before the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia recognized the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, who broke away from Ukraine in 2014 under so-called “Russian-backed terrorist” government, as sovereign states. This was Russia’s first step to invading Ukraine.
Now, the Russia-Ukraine war has escalated with risks of nuclear warfare and radiation meltdown in Ukraine. When Russia first invaded, they threatened that anyone who intervenes with direct action will face potential nuclear warfare with Russia. The threat still stands, and NATO has started to have deep concerns over Putin’s threats.
The Nuclear Planning Group for NATO met to push forward a nuclear exercise, as Putin remains firm in his statement of using any means necessary to defend Russia. These tests are done on an annual basis, but there is concern that this test is more imperative than before. “This is a routine exercise and it’s all about readiness,” U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said. “NATO’s meeting is all about making sure we are ready for anything. I mean, that is the job of this alliance – to make sure that the 30 partners together are ready for what is thrown at us.”
Recently, Ukraine has suffered advances from Russia. Since Ukraine has bombed the Crimean Bridge, one of Putin’s prides, there has been days of bombing from Russia. Kyiv has been the main target, with at least four attacks on Monday, Oct. 10th, hitting the city. The Kyiv area was hit by Iranian-made drones in a counterattack to the bombing of the Crimean Bridge on Oct. 13th, destroying critical infrastructure within regions around Kyiv and Odesa.
On Oct. 12th, power was cut to the Zaporizhzhia power plant in Ukraine after Russian bombings damaged an electrical substation. Due to earlier occupation by Russians, the fear of a nuclear meltdown was already prominent. Now, with issues arising at the plant, fears of a nuclear blowout are high in Ukraine, adding to the stress of war.
The deployment of the Iranian drones and the use of their technology suggest that Russia does not have the supplies to maintain the warfare, and that their drones are running low.
Though the battle wages on, Ukraine has held its ground against Russia. The offensive to destroy the Crimean Bridge, was a major statement from Ukraine.
Putin recently promised that Ukraine joining NATO ever would be a direct catalyst of World War III. Prior to this statement, Putin had released statements saying that he would be extremely unhappy if Ukraine joined NATO but had not mentioned direct warfare. Now, Ukraine can not be approved to join NATO without the threat of nuclear war.