Putin Screwed up in Ukraine 

Jieden Fenderson, Staff Writer

Russia invading Ukraine has been the biggest war on the continent in decades. The conflict is truly history in the making, and as we watch it unfold,  we can see the countries around it, and even the world, react. We can see that the war is clearly not going as well for Russia as everyone anticipated. Before the war, governments around the world estimated only weeks before Ukraine collapsed. Currently, it has been three months. Russia has pulled their troops out of the Kyiv offensive, and the US Secretary of State has told CNN  that the “United States believes the Russia war in Ukraine could last through the end of 2022, as US and European officials have increasingly assessed that there is no short-term end in sight to the conflict.” Some officials put the number even higher. There are talks that NATO may expand into Scandinavia as Sweden, but especially Finland, are have applied to join. Putin has not won any major victories to justify sending thousands of young Russian men to their deaths, and overall, Putin invading Ukraine was a catastrophic decision that will weaken Russia for decades to come. His violent actions have drawn condemnation from across the world, and we have generally seen the West unite against Russia.  

First, I want to talk about back home for Putin in Russia. Obviously, this is not going so well for Russia, but Putin knows he cannot just leave empty handed. In the 1980s, the Soviet Union started a nine-year war in Afghanistan and eventually left, with nothing to show for it, eventually becoming a factor to why the Soviet Union collapsed. People would be outraged if so many of their young men are sent to die and the country has nothing to show for it. Putin knows this and that is dangerous, because Putin might get more desperate, and harm not only Ukraine more, but his own people and country.Now on the topic of the West banding together; Putin thought he could just invade Ukraine and that the disjointed, already divided West would offer little resistance, but the opposite is true. The West has banded together to institute waves of crippling sanctions on Russian exports, banks, and individuals. This means that the Russian currency is in shambles, unemployment is rising, and companies are being shut down. The West has also sent their “arsenal of democracy” to Ukraine, banding together to send artillery, anti-tank weapons, vehicles, guns, and more to support the Ukrainian war effort.

On the topic of NATO expansion, Sweden and Finland have recently applied to join NATO. NATO expansion is bad news for Russia as a war against NATO would mean more enemies for them. Sweden is a country that has long declared neutrality. They managed to dodge both world wars, but now that Russia is invading smaller countries and disturbing the peace in Europe, they are starting to feel troubled by Russia. Finland has a complicated relationship with Russia. The Winter War in the late ’30s did not go so well for Russia, as they tried to invade Finland. Russia claimed that it would not mess with Finland if they ceded some territory and promised neutrality. This neutrality kept them out of conflict during the Cold War and has kept the peace. However, with the invasion of Ukraine, Russia is acting aggressive, expansionist, and willing to invade its neighbors, which unsettles Finland, and makes them question if they are possibly next. According to France 24, “A poll published this week show that, for the first time, a majority (53 percent) of Finns are in favor of  joining while support is rising in Sweden as well.” These countries are not just tiny military powers though. FInland is extremely armed, with it holding the largest artillery capability in Europe, and Sweden is a notable power too. 

No one likes the mad dog in the neighborhood, and Putin has made Russia play this part. This is Putin’s war, not the Russian people’s war. Putin is punishing not only Ukraine, but Russia, too, and invading Ukraine is catastrophic for peace in Europe.