Monday, July 4, 2022

Editorial: We stand with Ukraine

We are in a time of uncertainty. 

Ukraine has now been fighting every day to protect their land from Russia, which is being bombed and destroyed during the most aggressive attack since World War ll. 

Ukraine became independent, a sovereign state after the fall of the Soviet Union Dec. 1, 1991. In late 1994, The Budapest Memorandum was signed following the agreement that Ukraine would transfer all nuclear weapons to the Russian Federation, as Ukraine had physical possession of the third largest nuclear stockpile during the Cold War. It was agreed upon that all who signed would honor Ukraine’s sovereignty, including the U.S., U.K., and Russia. 

Emphasis on Russia.

However, Russia’s leaders were not too fond of Ukraine trying to join NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. In April 2008, there was a summit about extending a Membership Action Plan to Ukraine, in order to gain membership amongst the 28 European countries and 2 North American countries. Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, who honestly wants control of all the areas around Russia and sees NATO as his own worst enemy, began to publicly say that Ukraine is “not even a real-nation state.” 

Ukraine wasn’t offered a MAP.

Fast forward to April 21, 2019, when Volodymyr Zelenskyy was elected into the presidency in Ukraine. One of the goals of his campaign was to end the war with Russia, as Russia had previously seized Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula with a mostly Russian population, in 2014, due to the ousting of a Russian aligned president. This only increased tensions, as Putin this past December began to deploy a large amount of Russian troops on the border Russia shares with Ukraine — 190,000 of them. 

In December of 2019, Putin demanded to NATO and the U.S. that Ukraine should not join. U.S. President Joe Biden however, did not back down. Ukraine needed help. Especially now. 

Russia launched a full scale attack on Ukraine Feb. 24, only weeks ago, directly onto Donbas. Zelenskyy declared martial law in Ukraine and officially broke diplomatic ties with Russia. Many countries across the world have been condemning Putin for his actions, as honestly — he’s throwing a fit until he gets what he wants: Ukraine not joining the military alliance, NATO. Quite simply, he seems to feels threatened. 

However, Ukraine is not a member of NATO, yet. Putin seemingly resents the success of NATO, and condemns the fall of the USSR. He is a dictator, and presumably treats his people as he wants. He likely wants control over Ukraine, and to end their independence. But in turn, he’s literally only made NATO stronger, as many countries disapprove of his aggressive actions. 

U.S. troops are not being sent into Ukraine. Biden, though, has announced sanctions against Russian financial institutions, as did the U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, targeting Russian banks. 

Again, we are now in a time of uncertainty. As more and more countries place sanctions on Putin, it will become increasingly difficult for the Russian army to continue their attacks. However, that does not mean that it does not bring fear and worry into many of us. And seeing the videos of Ukrainian people losing their lives, their homes and their land, while citizens are having to arm and defend themselves, is only instilling that fear more. 

But we, as a united front, are strong. 

At any time, it is possible Russia could attack us; specifically, hitting spots such as New York first. Governor Kathy Hochul is on high alert in NYC, due to the possibility of a widespread cyberattack, as NYC is a large target due to financial centers and energy grids. There has recently been an intensified assault on bank infrastructure, seemingly after the sanctions against Russia were announced. 

Although it may not be a physical attack, we must remain vigilant. In a time like this, it is important to remember that there are people right now fighting for their lives on the frontlines, and although dark humor on social media may be funny sometimes, this is not something morally to make a joke about. 

Many social media users have been making Tik Toks about Putin and his actions, using dark humor as an outlet for coping with our fears and anxieties. The same thing has been happening on Twitter and Instagram. While our generation has done this with many topics, this is drawing a line. 

Now is the time for support, and to stand with those affected. Biden has released up to $350,000,000 worth of weaponry from U.S. stocks through the State Department Feb. 24, in order for civilians to arm and defend themselves. One million have fled their homeland to neighboring countries. 

Cardinal Points offers solidarity with the more than 350 Ukrainian civilian lives lost already. We are here for Ukraine, we offer hope and love, and we respect those who are fighting to survive.

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