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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Russian invasion spurs Ukrainian exodus

By Brian Ly | Copy Editor

HUMANITARIAN CRISIS  Over 2.8 million refugees have fled Ukraine, leaving their homes, finding shelter in neighboring countries such as Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary since the start of the invasion.

   Following weeks of diplomatic meetings to discourage the buildup of Russian troops at the Ukrainian border, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” on Feb. 24 that began the invasion of Ukraine. As a result, millions of refugees have fled the country in the past month while volunteers stay in the country to fight with Ukraine’s military as Russia continues its invasion despite sanctions and condemnation from western nations. 

   According to the New York Times, at least 67 Ukrainian towns and cities have been struck by missile shellings, airstrikes, and other projectiles since the start of the invasion. Major cities in Ukraine, such as the capital, Kyiv, the second-largest city, Kharkiv, and the southern port city of Mariupol have faced attacks that lasted for days. 

   Russia has faced widespread condemnation for the invasion, with countries expressing concern for the shelling of civilian areas.

   Attacks have also grown closer to countries allied with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). More than 30 Russian cruise missiles targeted a training base in western Yavoriv, a facility often used to train Ukrainian soldiers with instructors from the United States and its allies, killing 35 individuals. 

   Yavoriv, only 15 miles away from the Polish border, has been one of the westernmost targets struck by airstrikes. But the airstrike is only one of many that have proliferated across Ukraine, with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recording at least 902 civilian deaths and estimating the real toll could be higher. 

   In response to failed ceasefires meant to allow citizens to flee the cities, Moscow announced plans of humanitarian corridors that would lead to Belarus and Russia, a move that a spokesperson for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy deemed “immoral” in a statement to Reuters. 

   As of March 21, according to UNHCR, over 3.4 million refugees have fled Ukraine to neighboring countries such as Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary since the start of the invasion. The agency predicts upwards of 4 million refugees to flee the country, highlighting the need for humanitarian support.

   Despite diplomatic talks continuing through the war, Putin’s insistence on demilitarization and Ukraine’s exclusion from NATO are demands the alliance has made clear will not be accepted in talks to withdraw Russian military troops. NATO has also made clear of there being no plans to send troops into Ukraine itself but members of the alliance have been sending monetary relief packages, humanitarian aid, and military equipment into the country. 

   Countries have also been utilizing sanctions, targeting Russia’s economy and elite as a non-violent means of penalizing Putin. With packages of sanctions and export controls imposed on Russia by over 30 countries, the ruble has been valued at less than one cent. 

   In a statement released by the White House on March 11, Biden and G7 leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom as well as the European Union have planned further economic actions meant to “hold Putin accountable for his continued assault on Ukraine and further isolate Russia from the global financial system.” 

   These actions involve revoking Russia’s “most-favored nation” status, allowing higher tariffs to be placed on Russian products and targeting Russian elites by freezing any assets they hold in the states and applying a travel-ban to those involved with legislation recognizing the illegitimate Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republic as independent republics within Ukraine.

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Russian invasion spurs Ukrainian exodus