Russian forces launched an attack on Ukraine. It happened on February 24. The next day, Russian troops got close to the country’s capital. The move came after weeks of troop buildup. The troops were along Ukraine’s borders.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy is Ukraine’s president. He’s asking other countries for military aid. He’s also asking for sanctions against Russia. Sanctions are punishments. They can hurt a country’s economy.
Vladimir Putin is Russia’s president. World leaders have spoken out against him. They disapprove of his actions. The United States has sent military aid to Ukraine. It has put sanctions in place. Other countries have too. U.S. president Joe Biden called the attacks “unjustified.”
“This is a dangerous moment for all of Europe, for freedom around the world,” President Biden said on February 24.
Crisis in Context
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It shares a long border with Russia. It’s home to nearly 44 million people. Ukraine was once part of the Soviet Union. So was Russia. Ukraine and Russia became separate countries in 1991. That was after the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Putin claimed the attack was necessary. He said it was to protect people. These people are in two parts of eastern Ukraine. These regions are controlled by separatist groups. The groups want their regions to break away from Ukraine.
Putin has also said the U.S. and its allies have ignored Russia’s demands. Russia says Ukraine must be stopped from aligning with these countries. Ukraine has hoped to join NATO. That’s the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It’s made up of 28 European countries. The U.S. and Canada are also part of it. And Ukraine has applied to join the European Union. It’s made up of 27 European countries. If Ukraine were part of these groups, it would get more support.
The U.S. says Russia’s claims are an excuse. It says Russia wants a wider invasion of Ukraine. “This was never about genuine security concerns,” Biden said. “It was always about . . . Putin’s desire for empire .”
The World Responds
Anti-war protests have taken place all over the world. That includes Russia. Thousands of Russians have taken to the streets. They are protesting their country’s decision to invade Ukraine. More than 1,700 people in Russia were detained by authorities. That was on February 24 alone.
As of March 3, more than a million people had fled Ukraine. That’s according to the United Nations refugee agency. Aid groups are helping Ukrainians.
World leaders continue to show support. Jens Stoltenberg is the NATO chief. He has called for the attacks to end. “We stand with . . . Ukraine during this terrible time,” he said.
World Central Kitchen is helping people. It’s providing hot meals. The meals go to refugees at border crossings in Poland. One of the crossings is shown here. WKC is also working to feed people who are still in Ukraine.
Chef José Andrés founded the group. That was in 2010. On February 27, he posted a video on social media. It was from the Poland-Ukraine border. “People are cold. . . . They carry with them whatever they can bring,” he said. “They have a smile, with hope, when the situation is so dire.”