The early years of the 2020s were rich in events that affected the entire global community. The world was shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic, political crises, and mass protests. But there were also epidemics, such as swine flu in 2009 and Ebola in 2014. Political crises happen regularly and everywhere, so they are not as attractive to consider. Protests have become an everyday phenomenon that focuses on the same unemotional topics. In this article, I would like to examine one of the most global events of the year: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This event affects the economy, geopolitics, psychology, and medicine worldwide. The consequences of the “war” will affect the entire Western and Asian world for a long time to come, which is why I consider it the most significant event of my life.
Why War Became Real
The year 1991 was not only the end of the existence of the USSR but also the activation of the forces of the NATO alliance, dominated by the United States. First, the satellites of the USSR (Poland and Hungary) and then the former Soviet republics (the Baltic states) joined the military bloc. It is noteworthy that since its creation, NATO has expanded five times, four of which occurred during the era of Vladimir Putin. In 2008, because of the Kremlin’s reaction, Georgia and Ukraine were not allowed to join the alliance, fearing military aggression from Russia. Both candidates were promised membership but were not told when it would be possible; the issue is particularly acute now. Ukraine has become a hostage to its geographic location, simultaneously bordering the European Union (EU) and Russia. Vladimir Putin has repeatedly tried to subjugate Ukrainian territory. European countries at the time were only concerned but took no action, continuing to buy energy and export arms.
Now the situation is such that in 20 years, the Kremlin has failed to reorient Ukraine toward Russia, but it has prevented a U-turn toward the West. 2014 was a watershed year in Ukraine’s history when then-President Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown by protests that became known as the Euromaidan. His rejection of integration agreements with the EU cost him the presidency and Russia its partnership. Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea and part of Donbas, and Russian propaganda from 2014 to 2022 began to shape Ukrainians into an enemy with whom war was inevitable. I was upset that no one took any action, continuing to compromise with the aggressor. I do not know enough about politics, but such a situation seems explosive, threatening the Western world.
Why Russia Invaded Ukraine
Preparations for a large-scale special operation began in January 2022, when Russia decided to concentrate a large group of armed forces on the border with Ukraine. Such a move was perceived as a request to NATO and the U.S. to get documented guarantees that Ukraine would not join the alliance. However, a month later, Vladimir Putin was rebuffed and ordered the Ukrainian border crossing to take the state out of his control (Osborn and Nikolskaya). Russian propaganda had been preparing the public for several years to believe that Ukraine, which had begun an active process of integration with the West, posed a threat to the interests and security of the Russian people. In Europe and America, I was indoctrinated that Russia was our enemy and had to be fought. I perceive this game of “call your neighbor the enemy” negatively because unity is needed in the current times to cope with crises.
Russia set the goal of complete “demilitarization and denazification” of Ukrainian lands “from the military threat from NATO, which continues to increase its influence in the East” (Osborn and Nikolskaya). The crisis between Russia and Western countries began long before the events described (Tempest). An unwillingness to find common ground was the catalyst for the most significant military mobilization since World War II. Russian aggression was launched against a state with sovereignty, violating the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. This fact only confirms the truth that history teaches nothing but punishes ignorance of lessons. It seems to me that all events are cyclical; however, one can never be prepared for global events.
The War in Ukraine is a Threat to the World
Wars are always everywhere, so it is possible to criticize my choice of this event as the most significant in my life. However, many armed conflicts are local and do not have significant consequences for the rest of the world. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is the exact opposite of other conflicts in scale and consequence. Since World War II, there has not been a military conflict of this magnitude. The indirect clash of two opposing alliances has led to what in narrow circles is referred to as World War III.
“Special Operation” was a real challenge to the world community and the order declared by the UN Charter. The events in Ukraine are causing real damage to the world economy and leading many developed and developing countries into economic crises. According to some estimates, some 70-80 countries with a total population of more than one billion people could be affected (Mbah and Wasum 145). The rise in food, energy, and fertilizer prices is because Russia and Ukraine are the leading suppliers of these products.
Logistics have become much more complicated, and therefore costs have risen significantly, especially for countries that have not had time to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In recent months, the prices of many essential products have risen by 20-30% (wheat, corn) (Mbah and Wasum 147). Oil and natural gas have increased their prices substantially, by about 60-200% (Mbah and Wasum 148). Within a few months, rates will continue to rise, leading to world hunger and mass protests.
Millions of Refugees
Since the end of February 2022, about 7 million people have left Ukraine, and about the same number have migrated internally. Most Ukrainians have settled in Poland (3.5 million), Germany (730,000), and the Czech Republic (350,000) (Mbah and Wasum 149) Refugees are given special treatment and receive necessary assistance from governments and volunteer teams (including many Russians). However, most Ukrainians believe that they can return to their native country. It is known that about 2 million people have already returned home and are beginning to establish a life in the new Ukrainian cities (Mbah and Wasum 149). Nevertheless, refugees remain in European countries, which may lead to millions of unemployed migrants. The more migrants remain, the worse it will be for the states’ economies and the local population’s well-being. It is in the interest of the European powers to hasten the end of hostilities.
“Special Operation” of Russia has significantly affected geopolitics in the Western and Eastern worlds, which may lead to a complete split and isolation of both. In addition, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has intensified NATO activism, although, in 2019, French President Macron declared the “brain death” of the alliance (Staunton 19). The bloc has never been more united in its goals and capabilities, posing a significant threat to Russia, which regularly talks about using nuclear weapons. The fact that Finland and Sweden, which had maintained neutrality even during World War II, decided to join the alliance indicates the natural strengthening of the alliance (Staunton 32). For 22 years, Vladimir Putin has declared the threat of NATO to Russia, but he has made it even closer and more accurate. It causes concern because the world is on the brink of nuclear war and billions of human casualties.
Every century, military conflicts involving more than two sides have hurt entire continents. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine can be compared in scale to World Wars I and II. The world crisis, destroyed cities, human casualties, and acts of solidarity worldwide are only some of the factors reflecting the impact of military action on society. Nevertheless, we should not forget that any war is a terrible evil that must neutralize as soon as possible. I am a witness to great misfortune, and I wish this horror would end sooner rather than later. It seems that this event will determine the course of history over the next 10-15 years for many developed and developing nations. We should not be under the illusion that with the war’s end, the crisis will end, and the world will enter a period of pacification.
I will witness global reforms in all spheres of public life, mass protest movements, and high-profile political trials. The coming decade is more likely to find its way into textbooks and be reflected in various fields of art. I would not want to see such events in my life, and as a member of civil society, I will try to prevent them in the future. This world does not deserve wars, natural disasters, and hatred; it needs support and love.
Mbah, Ruth Endam, and Divine Forcha Wasum. “Russian-Ukraine 2022 War: A Review of the Economic Impact of Russian-Ukraine Crisis on the USA, UK, Canada, and Europe.” Advances in Social Sciences Research Journal, vol. 9, no. 3, 2022, pp. 144-153,
Osborn, Andrew and Polina Nikolskaya. “Russia’s Putin Authorises ‘Special Military Operation’ Against Ukraine.” Reuters, Web.
Staunton, Eglantine. “France is Back: Macron’s European Policy to Rescue European Civilisation and the Liberal International Order.” Third World Quarterly, vol. 43, no. 1, 2022, pp. 18-34, Web.
Tempest, Matthew. “How NATO’s Bucharest Summit Came Back to Bite in Ukraine.” Euobserver, 2022, Web.