US role in Ukraine examined

Raameen Fatima, Staff Writer

Although Russia and Ukraine have been in conflict since 2014, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine just over a year ago escalated the situation to a global stage.

Russia originally invaded because its president, Vladimir Putin, believed that the two countries were brother nations, with Russia being the elder, and, as a result, more deserving of power. Further, Putin felt threatened by the eastern expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), an alliance created during the Cold War among nations opposing the communist agenda of the Soviet Union. NATO’s ultimate goal is to preserve peace in Europe, yet, when seeking to recruit Ukraine, Putin believed it to be a threat to his power.

Multiple countries around the world have responded to Ukraine’s call for help due to Russia’s aggression. Poland has given shelter to over five million refugees along with Hungary and Romania both accepting nearly a million. More than $100 billion have been sent in humanitarian, financial, and military aid. As a result of these generous acts, the question of what the U.S. is contributing is proposed. An estimated $50 billion (including the cost of ammunition and other resources) has been sent, serving as the greatest military aid to the conflict. In spite of this, Ukraine still needs more assistance.

This past December, Ukrainian President Voldymyr Zelensky visited the White House in a meeting that had been postponed for two years. During this visit, it was announced that more aid was going to be given, with Biden publicizing that $60 million would be sent in security assistance which would include missiles. This is in addition to nearly $13 million that would be sent in COVID aid, $45 million in humanitarian aid, and $463 million for developmental assistance.

Zelensky also requested that the U.S. provide their input on Ukraine joining NATO which seems to be a priority for both countries. Additionally, another significant issue stems from Russia attacking Ukraine’s power grids, causing a loss in heating, which could potentially kill many during the nation’s harsh winter. To assist with this, the U.S. has been dispatching power-gear packages to protect power grids.

Moreover, Zelensky requires heavier and more damaging warcraft, resulting in his insistence for heavier tanks, missiles, and fighter planes. As of mid-January, Biden is still hesitant to supply aircraft. However, in a defiant show of support, he has supplied Ukraine with about 30 M1 Abrams tanks: one of the most powerful land weapons the U.S. owns.

In a show of support, Biden visited Ukraine Feb. 20.

“One year later, Kyiv stands,” Biden said, via the Associated Press. “And Ukraine stands. Democracy stands. The Americans stand with you, and the world stands with you.”

Therefore, the US has exemplified unwavering support to Ukraine through their continuous supply of resources, evoking a great deal of gratitude as illustrated by Zelensky, stating in his White House visit: “I feel so–all my appreciation from my heart, from our strong nation, all the appreciation to you, first of all, Mr. President…thank you so much, Mr. President. Thanks, Congress. And thank you to ordinary people, Americans….”