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War in Ukraine

People in South Korea attend an anti-war protest on February 28. SIMON SHIN—SOPA IMAGES/LIGHTROCKET/GETTY IMAGES

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.

UKRAINE'S PRESIDENT Volodymyr Zelenskyy, 44, is Ukraine’s president.


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.”

RUSSIA'S PRESIDENT Vladimir Putin, 69, is president of Russia.


“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 treaty MEDITERRANEAN—GETTY IMAGES an official agreement between countries or parties (noun) My sister and I signed a peace treaty and promised to quit fighting. 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 empire BETTMANN—GETTY IMAGES a group of countries and territories under the control of a single ruler or government (noun) The original 13 colonies were part of the British Empire. .”

The World Responds

SHOW OF SUPPORT Thousands gather in Berlin, Germany, on February 27 to protest the war in Ukraine.


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.

SEEKING SAFETY People wait for a train out of Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, a day after Russia invaded the country.


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.

FAR FROM HOME Refugees from Ukraine arrive at a bus station in Warsaw, Poland, on February 28.


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.

Helping Hands


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.”