Sample Expository Essay: Everything You Need to Know About the Ukraine and Russia Crisis
News media all around the world are currently focused on the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. News reports have stated multiple casualties on both sides, leaning to the high thousands. These news reports have caused panic not just for Ukrainians and Russians but also for the rest of the world. Reports of armed conflicts and military operations cause the public to be wary of potential war attacks. To avoid believing and sharing misinformation , individuals must learn about the facts of the current situation. This expository essay will discuss the essential facts that the public should know about the Ukraine and Russia crises.
Beginning of the Military Attacks
On February 24, 2022, Russia conducted a large-scale military operation to invade Ukraine. Accompanying this, the Russian Defense Ministry announced their attack against Ukraine’s air defenses and military infrastructure. The Russian troops bombarded Ukraine’s airports and runways, disabling some of the country’s modes of transportation (Krishna, 2022). They also seized the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant which became a grave concern for The International Atomic Energy Agency (Kirby & Guyer, 2022). Russian military vehicles began entering Ukraine’s borders from different directions along with warships accessing through the Black Sea.
Major Events Preceding the Crisis
While Russia’s military invasion against Ukraine began on February 24, 2022, the conflict between the two countries began a few months earlier. According to the news outlet, Al Jazeera (2022), the major events preceding the conflict began in November 2021. From the outlet’s timeline, Moscow began mobilizing its military troops on Ukraine’s border in November 2021. Following this, United States President Joe Biden warned Russia about the possible consequences of an invasion against Ukraine in December 2021. In response to the warnings, Russia presented its demands which included the request for NATO to cease military activity along with establishing alliances in eastern Europe.
How did the Ukraine-Russia crisis start?
Despite the discussions between the U.S. and Russia, the two countries failed to establish an agreement. NATO forces did not cease their operations but instead reinforced its eastern Europe presence through additional ships and fighter jets. This led western nations to begin evacuating embassy staff while putting troops on alert (Timeline, 2022). In early February 2022, further talks between Russia and other parties began, such as with the UK Foreign Secretary, U.S. President Biden, and French President Macron, to prevent the potential crisis. However, since the U.S. and NATO did not respond to Russia’s demand, the tension remained.
Reasons for the Conflict
Similar to other crises, the causes of the Ukraine and Russia conflict are due to varying factors. According to Ellyatt (2022), the Ukraine invasion is a battle for influence and power as the country is leaning towards memberships with the EU and NATO and away from Russia. This threatens President Putin’s goal to rebuild Russia’s power and influence over former Soviet states. Aside from this simplified reason, others include Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, NATO’s presence in eastern Europe, and the “demilitarization and denazification” of Ukraine (Kirby & Guyer, 2022; Timeline, 2022; Ellyatt, 2022). These events led to small and large conflicts between Russia and Ukraine which eventually developed into the current crisis.
Russia’s annexation of Crimea is one of the earlier causes of the conflict as it allowed pro-Russian separatists to establish the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic in Ukraine. The Ukraine government did not support the establishment of the two republics which led to fighting in the region (Ellyatt, 2022). Neighboring countries attempted to broker peace between the two countries, however, violations of terms led to resumed fighting which resulted in a continuous conflict between the two regions.
As mentioned earlier, NATO’s presence in eastern Europe is a concern for Russia. Russia included the cease of NATO operation in eastern Europe as a part of their demands. However, the refusal of their demands along with the reinforced NATO presence in the region led to further conflict between Russia and other parties. Since Ukraine is leaning towards an alliance with NATO, this poses a threat to Russia which is another contributor to the rising conflict.
The “demilitarization and denazification” of Ukraine is one of Russia’s main goals behind their invasion. On February 24, 2022, the day of the attack, Russian President Putin announced that the Russian military does not seek the occupation of Ukraine but to demilitarize and denazify the country (Kirby & Guyer, 2022; Krishna, 2022). Additionally, on February 21, 2022, Russian President Putin gave a speech that denied Ukrainian of its statehood and recognized the independence of the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic in the eastern part of the country (Kirby & Guyer, 2022). Russia aims to overthrow the current Ukrainian government as a way to rebuild the country’s power base and influence.
Conditions of Russian and Ukrainian Citizens
Russia’s large-scale military operation affected both Ukrainian and Russian citizens. Russia’s attack and Ukraine’s resistance have led to the deaths of soldiers from both sides. According to The Associated Press (2022), Ambassador Sergiy Kyslystsya requested aid from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to repatriate 3,500 dead Russian troops. Furthermore, according to Reuters (2022), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reported 250 civilian casualties, with 64 dead. Since the main battlefronts of the conflict are on Ukrainian territory, most of the casualties include Ukrainian civilians, foreigners living in the country, Ukrainian soldiers, and Russian soldiers.
In an attempt to avoid the armed conflict, many civilians fled their homes and sought refuge to other borders. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) estimates that more than 360,000 Ukrainians have decided to leave the country with an additional four million civilians to flee if the situation worsens (Brezar, 2022). Neighboring countries, such as Poland and Hungary, allowed Ukrainian refugees to enter their borders despite lacking official documents including negative COVID-19 tests. They also provided medical care for wounded civilians through hospital trains and treatment.
For civilians remaining in Ukraine territories, the threats of casualties remain as the armed conflicts continue. According to The Associated Press (2022), Russian forces blew up a gas pipeline which can cause environmental hazards for residents. The State Service of Special Communication and Information Protection advised residents to take precautionary measures against possible explosions and hazards by covering their windows with damp cloths and drinking plenty of water. There are also the Ukrainian troops that are resisting the Russian forces. The battle between the two groups is divided into multiple fronts as the Russian troops aim to push towards the major cities, such as Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital.
Aside from the civilians living in Ukraine territory, individuals living and working near Ukraine are also experiencing the effects of the crisis. Yee & Jozuka (2022) recently reported that a Russian missile hit a Japanese-owned cargo ship which resulted in one injured crew member. Prior to this, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry reported that a Russian warship shelled a Moldovan ship carrying fuel oil and diesel resulting in two seriously injured crew members.
Sanctions From Other Countries
Due to the effects of the Ukraine and Russia crisis, other countries have begun taking action to help civilians and manage the result of the conflict. Countries, such as the U.S and UK, have announced sanctions against Russia which can have adverse effects on the country’s economic operations (Biden Unveils, 2022). These sanctions can affect Russian banks, businesses, elites, and other significant players in the country’s economy. The U.S. sanctions specifically target four Russian banks that hold more than $1 trillion in assets along with limitations on the international trades with Moscow. Other countries, such as Singapore, are also imposing sanctions on Russia in an attempt to help the situation.
Potential Talk Between Russia and Ukraine
Despite the ongoing armed conflict between the two countries, both parties have agreed to talk with each other. According to Kirby & Guyer (2022), Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Belarus’ Russia-back leader Aleksandr Lukashenko will have a talk along the Ukrainian-Belarusian border. The Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba stated that they will listen to Russia’s representative and state their opinion about the crisis. Currently, the parties have not yet chosen a date for the meeting but the Ukrainian official’s report regarding the talk was on February 27, 2022.
The Ukraine and Russia crisis is the result of the ongoing conflicts between two countries prior to the February 24 attack. Significant events, such as NATO’s reinforcement of troops and the U.S.’s refusal of Russia’s demands, contributed to the tension between Ukraine and Russia. Furthermore, the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the rebuilding of Russia’s power base became Russia’s major reasons for their military operations. As this conflict continues, foreign countries assist the victims of the crisis and attempt to aid in the management of the situation. As an agreement of a talk between the countries’ representatives arises, the crisis’ situation may improve.
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Aljazeera.com. (2022). Biden Unveils New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine Invasion. Al Jazeera. Available at https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/2/24/biden-unveils-new-russia-sanctions-over-ukraine-invasion. Accessed February 27, 2022.
Aljazeera.com. (2022). Timeline: How Did the Recent Ukraine-Russia Crisis Start? Al Jazeera. Available at https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/2/13/timeline-how-the-ukraine-russia-crisis-reached-the-brink-of-war. Accessed February 28, 2022.
Brezar, A. (2022). Ukraine War: Europe Opens its Doors as 368,000 Ukrainian Refugees Flee in Just Over Three Days. Euronews. Available at https://www.euronews.com/my-europe/2022/02/27/ukraine-war-european-nations-open-their-doors-as-nearly-120-000-ukrainian-refugees-flee. Accessed February 28, 2022.
Ellyatt, H. (2022). Why is There Conflict in Ukraine and What is Putin’s Endgame? Here’s What You Need to Know. CNBC. Available at https://www.cnbc.com/2022/02/23/russia-why-is-there-conflict-in-east-ukraine-and-what-is-putin-endgame.html. Accessed February 28, 2022.
Kirby, J. & Guyer, J. (2022). Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine Explained. Vox. Available at https://www.vox.com/2022/2/23/22948534/russia-ukraine-war-putin-explosions-invasion-explained. Accessed February 28, 2022.
Krishna, A. (2022). View: The Root Cause of the Ukraine Conflict. The Economic Times, News. Available at https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/view-the-root-cause-of-the-ukraine-conflict/articleshow/89807225.cms. Accessed February 27, 2022.
Reuters. (2022). U.N. Reports at least 240 civilian casualties, 64 Deaths in Ukraine. Reuters. Available at https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/un-reports-least-240-civilian-casualties-64-deaths-ukraine-2022-02-27/. Accessed February 28, 2022.
The Associated Press. (2022). Live Updates: ICRC Asked to Repatriate Bodies of Soldiers. AP News. Available at https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-united-nations-general-assembly-kyiv-boris-johnson-business-2db2e7aeab196d941e7b66492feca14b. Accessed February 27, 2022.
Yee, L. & Jozuka, E. (2022). Japanese-Owned Cargo Ship Hit By a Missle Off Ukrainian Coast. CNN. Available at https://edition.cnn.com/europe/live-news/ukraine-russia-news-02-26-22/h_d79d1d542a90f15d7c38c6e3b03d73ab. Accessed February 28, 2022.