Russia launched a large-scale invasion of Ukraine in the early morning of Feb. 24, firing missiles into several cities across the country and sending troops across the Russian and Belarussian borders.
According to CNN, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a speech that morning, announcing a special military operation in Ukraine. He claimed that Russia was not planning to occupy Ukraine and warned anyone who would interfere that “Russia’s response will be immediate and will lead you to such consequences that you have never experienced in your history.”
Shortly after his speech, Russian forces began a series of missile strikes against key Ukrainian cities. Throughout the next day, air raid sirens could be heard across Kyiv as citizens scrambled to evacuate or shelter in place.
At 1:43 p.m. EST, U.S. President Joe Biden gave an address regarding the invasion. According to the White House transcript, Biden called Putin the aggressor and promised that he and his country would bear the consequences of the war. He also emphasized that the United States would “protect every inch of NATO territory with the full force of American power.”
Although Biden assured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that the U.S. would provide humanitarian aid to the country, he also made clear that he would not send American troops into Ukraine.
According to the Associated Press, many countries including the United States have levied sanctions on Russia for its aggression against Ukraine. Several Western nations announced the blocking of several Russian banks from the SWIFT international payment system, and the U.S. began to immobilize Russian assets in the United States. These actions caused the Russian currency to plunge about 30%.
According to U.S. News, the history between Ukraine and Russia has been a bitter one with Ukraine being the breadbasket of Europe and a former Soviet republic until it declared its independence in 1991.
CNBC reported that Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014 and recognized the independence of two pro-Russian parts of Ukraine: the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic. These actions were met with international sanctions on Russia.
According to BBC, Putin claimed the invasion was to “demilitarize and de-Nazify” Ukraine and protect its people from bullying and genocide. There is no evidence of this occurring.
The Miami Herald reports that, as of Sunday, 352 Ukrainian citizens have been killed and an additional 1,684 people have been injured.
According to AP News, Putin ordered the Russian nuclear forces to be on high alert on Sunday in response to “aggressive statements” from NATO and increasing financial sanctions.
According to CNN, peace talks between Ukraine and Russia occurred on the Belarussian border and concluded early Monday morning. Both sides returned to their respective capitals to make decisions on what will happen next.
AP News reported that Ukraine has moved to join the European Union by signing an application Monday morning. Ukraine, however, is many years away from meeting the requirements for a member state and is unlikely to be accepted into the bloc any time soon as the decision to accept a new member must be unanimous.