War in Ukraine: Why, When, and How

based on articles by Vox, BBC, The New York Times, The Guardian, Vice, Politico, and Radio Liberty

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On Feb. 24, Russia invaded Ukraine in an undeclared full-fledged war, bombing peaceful cities and villages, shelling hospitals and kindergartens.

In this digest, you will read about what’s behind the Russian war and how it turned out to be the true terror for Ukrainians in their centuries-old fight for freedom.

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1. Long way to independence

Ukraine is a sovereign state and home to a nation with over a thousand years of history. It is a direct descendant of Kyivan Rus’, which existed four centuries before Muscovy’s origin. The centuries-old fight for freedom resulted in Ukrainian statehood after the Soviet Union collapsed 30 years ago.

Russia always considered independent Ukraine its area of influence. To escape it and move towards Europe, millions of Ukrainians took to the streets in the 2013 Revolution of Dignity. The cost of freedom was hundreds of Ukrainian lives.

Russia took advantage of destabilization, annexed Crimea, and brought troops to the east of Ukraine, waging an undeclared war since 2014.

2. The morning that changed everything

On Feb. 24 at 5 AM, peaceful cities of Ukraine, including its capital — Kyiv, woke up to the Russian missile explosions. Vladimir V. Putin launched a full-fledged war against Ukraine shortly after having declared the start of a “special military operation.” Troops attacked from multiple directions: Russia, occupied Crimea, and Belarus, where they had been deployed for military exercises months before.

⚡️ This is the biggest attack on a European state since World War Two.

Hundreds of thousands of people have already left their homes seeking safety or fled Ukraine as refugees.

3. Violation of human rights

Russian armed forces are shelling Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, Mariupol, Dnipro, and many other towns and cities of Ukraine. They target critical infrastructure and civilians.

Rockets struck Kharkiv city center resulting in at least 10 people dead and 35 wounded. On Feb. 25, a missile hit a kindergarten in Okhtyrka, killing six people. The day after this, a maternity hospital fell prey to an airstrike. As of the fifth day of the invasion, 16 Ukrainian children were killed.

And as of 4 March, more than 2,000 civilians had already died in Ukraine.

Ukrainians are killed on the streets by Russian-orchestrated sabotage groups and reconnaissance units. Mothers hide their kids underground, and babies are born in bomb shelters.

Dozens of peaceful cities are surrounded and almost destroyed.

4. Democracy and unity vs. dictatorship and terror

There’s a global civilizational and worldview divide between Ukraine and Russia. Their differences lie in political order and government, culture, and even the pursuit of justice.

Russian citizens, who attempt to protect their rights, face violence and repressions under Putin’s regime. People there are scared to speak out and protest, while Ukrainians are united to defend their state and freedom fearlessly.

“Russian warship, go fuck yourself.”

Ukrainian soldier’s response to the threat of a bomb strike, Snake Island, Feb. 24, as quoted by The Guardian

Sovereign Ukraine now fights for the democratic values of the whole world.

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