What Is Happening In Ukraine?

by | May 24, 2023

The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine is a war of aggression waged by Russia with the objective of illegally annexing the entirety of Ukraine. Though the current assault on Ukraine erupted in February 2022, the origins stretch further back, most directly to Russia’s invasion and illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. 

This war is tragic and both personally and geopolitically concerning, considered by many to be the first war of conquest—of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s desire to expand Russia’s borders and influence at the cost of neighbors’ lives and country—since Germany’s actions in World War II. 


Roots of the Conflict


The conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which escalated dramatically in February 2022, traces its roots to Ukraine’s westward tilt in 2014. The ousting of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych—known for his pro-Russian stance—led to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea. This aggressive move by Russia was widely condemned by the international community, marking the start of a prolonged period of geopolitical tension. 

Since then, the easternmost regions of Donetsk and Luhansk have been stuck in a protracted conflict. These separatist territories, self-proclaimed as the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic, have been backed by Russia, leading to a diplomatic standoff and sporadic fighting since Russia’s military action in 2014.


The 2022 Escalation and Developments


Prior to February 2022, Putin mobilized hundreds of thousands of Russian troops, positioning them along the Russia-Ukraine border while denying that these actions were in preparation for an invasion. Then, on February 24th, Russia initiated a full-scale invasion of neighboring Ukraine, attacking major cities and Ukrainian infrastructure.

Putin has attempted to justify the war with varying reasons, but the true motivation for Russia’s aggression is clearly a desire for increased land, resources, and influence over the region.

This is reinforced by the fact that Russia’s invasion was preceded by Ukrainian considerations of joining NATO. Russia is not a member of NATO, and NATO countries are bound by a pact to defend one another in the case that any one is attacked. Russia vehemently opposed Ukraine joining NATO and Putin claimed that they would interpret Ukraine’s potential NATO acceptance as action against Russian sovereignty. This further supports Russia’s attack on Ukraine as being fueled by a desire to minimize Western influence in the region while expanding Russia’s. 


Current Status and Humanitarian Struggles


The war has now persisted for over a year, and the people of Ukraine continue to endure immense hardships. Hundreds of thousands have died and millions have been displaced. Infrastructure, such as shipping, transportation, energy, and water purification services have been disrupted, leading to dire living conditions. This is particularly true for those in remote areas that can no longer easily receive services in or from cities, such as healthcare and pharmacy services. 

However, the Ukrainian army, supported by many citizens and international aid, has also been far more successful in defending against Russian offensive actions. Though the first weeks of military action were marked by devastation to Ukrainian cities and rapid Russian advancement, Ukraine has recaptured many of its major cities and shown great resilience in keystone cities, such as Bakhmut, which has been a major focus of Russia’s offensive for months.


How To Support Ukraine and Its Citizens


The war in Ukraine has left millions in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. From direct financial contributions to advocacy, there are several ways for individuals around the world to support Ukraine and its citizens during this crisis.


Spread the Word

Building awareness of the conflict and what people can do to help is one of the easiest ways to get involved and support Ukraine. And it can be incredibly effective! Every share on social media can help raise money toward a campaign’s goal, so get the word out there! 


Financial Donations

Donating to reputable humanitarian organizations is one of the most direct ways to help. These groups are providing emergency relief, including food, medical aid, shelter, and more. The Ukraine Assistance Organization is the only organization providing medical and holistic home health care (HHC) to the citizens of southern Ukraine, where violent conflict has been most consistent and damaging. 



If you’re not in a position to contribute financially, you can help the citizens of Ukraine by offering your time as a volunteer. From organizing a charity walk to working in logistics or as an interpreter, you can put your skills and experience to work for a critical cause!

Ukraine Assistance Organization is a nonprofit organization working with World Health Organization (WHO), Human Aid Front, and other partners to deliver care to those most affected by the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian War. Partner with us today to offer support to those who need it, and create a more just, peaceful world.