The War in Ukraine: What To Know


The war in Ukraine has been continuing on since February 2022

Joshua Geaughan, staff reporter

February 24th, 2022 started off as a normal day, sure tensions between the eastern European states of Russia and Ukraine were rising, but they would never boil over, right? It’s hard to say whether the world changed that morning, seeing as we are still dealing with the effects of Putin’s command to bring 150,000 troops over the Ukrainian border, and only time will tell what the outcome of such a decision could be. Even though the war is hot news, as the conflict continues, the stories get longer and messier until it was too much for one person to research in a reasonable time, causing tragedy and constant displacement of innocent families to feel like background noise. 

This war started as a by-product of the constant turmoil between Russia and Ukraine since the fall of the soviet union. Ukraine proved to be a vital part of the more powerful USSR empire, and when the USSR broke apart, Russia lost Ukraine’s strength.  Since the break, Ukraine has tried to prove that they are able to stand on its own as a solitary state, meaning that it has cared more for connections to its western European friends than its eastern European neighbors. With Ukraine allied with many of Russia’s former cold war enemies, Putin’s most public reason for the invasion was that he felt “unsafe and unprotected”, leading to the strike-first-ask-questions-later approach the war took in its early days.

There is also the question of Crimea, an area that is now in Ukraine that was obtained by the country after 1995 when Crimea’s bid for independence fell apart and it became a special city/state under the Ukrainian flag. Russia wants Crimea and along with trying to capture the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, they will also stop at nothing to have Crimea. 

The lowest estimation of the loss of soldiers on both sides of the war is 25,788 human lives total and additionally 6,306 civilian deaths. That’s more than the town of west Springfield (population of 28,527) the total loss of life in the war is about 13% more than the total town population. Regardless of why the war is being fought, the casualty total is still worryingly high, and it will only go up from here. There seems to be no justifiable explanation for all of the loss of life. 

Now reaching about 8 months of conflict, the sides involved become more desperate for an end to the war, and we see more drastic measures from governments and businesses alike. Seen with Russia’s use of “kamikaze drones”, drones built for the specific purpose of crashing into buildings and armies and creating massive damage in their wake, Russia has been trying to figure out how to use their wealth and power to gain the upper hand in the war once more. Whereas on the other side of things Ukraine continues to beg its United Nations coworkers to label Russia as a terrorist state and to stop the push of the Russian army. After the first invasion, there was rapid support for Ukraine all over social media and constant news coverage, but as the war dragged on people noticed a steep decline in coverage from mainstream media sources. Jaxson Malenfant, an 11th grader here at West Springfield high school, commented on the decrease in coverage, “I did [see a lot of coverage] when it first started, but as it’s been going on I’ve seen less and less about it. I like to check in and see what I can find out about it every month or so and see how it’s going.” 

As social awareness of the war in the states decreased, public figures backing the war saw a decrease in their investment return. One of the war’s flagship celebrity voices has come from multi-billionaire Elon Musk. Musk’s project Starlink involves sending 2,200 satellites into the atmosphere to provide internet to all Ukrainian soldiers, providing a huge advantage to Ukraine. With the cost of the project being a steep $20 million, as the news of the war and the good praise that Elon has gotten has been decreasing, he has tried to find a way out of paying for the satellites. Elon has gone to the U.S. Department of Defense and asked the United States to cover the cost of the Starlink system. When the government turned down footing the bill, Elontook to social media saying, “The hell with it, even though Starlink is still losing money and other companies are getting billions of taxpayer dollars, we’ll just keep funding Ukraine govt for free.” Only a few days later, Musk turned and tweeted a pro-Russian statement saying that Ukraine should end the fighting and give over the “previously Russian” Crimea. 

An overwhelming amount of the student body here at West Springfield high school agree that the war is mostly not beneficial for anyone involved, as they commented on the Russian economic collapse and the widespread effects that Ukraine is experiencing on the war front. “I think it’s pretty much ridiculous, Russia needs to stop trying to take over land, starting a war just causes too many problems and a lot of innocent people die,” comments Angel Narvaez. His opinion was echoed throughout the majority of the school, as students agree that the price of life is no compensation for political boundaries. 

Even though the war becomes more and more complicated as time goes on, the effects of the war stay the same. Speaking with students who have family on both sides of the war, the direction it’s leading doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere good. Daryna Zimokha is a 12th grader here on the west side, and when asked about her own personal experience coming from a Ukrainian family she had this to say, “My family in Ukraine are sending a lot of messages to my parents and informing them of what’s happening, [and] the fact that all of my family will be here sometime in the future.” War is not something that can be consumed in a vacuum, it has very real effects on the people surrounding us, even people we know that come from families in these war-torn areas. It’s important to remember that the people who die aren’t just numbers on a page, but actual human lives that were lost.