On February 24, the world watched in horror as Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.
To this day, everyone’s eyes are still glued to their TV screens, anxiously waiting as Russia continuously advances and Ukraine fearlessly fights back.
With the ultimate goal of installing a Kremlin-friendly regime in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has allowed himself to turn into a madman, dragging his own righthand men into the agonizing and terrible display of power. However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy refuses to give in to Putin’s iron fist. His nation courageously continues to mount a fierce defense against the Russian invaders.
Russia’s actions have triggered international condemnation and action that could diminish its influence on world affairs and resources. Sanctions and restrictions by countries and private entities are calls against aggression and war.
While these sanctions—such as supposed Russian ally China refusing to send aircraft parts—aim to cripple Russia’s domestic and international power, they will affect Russian citizens the hardest. Although Putin claims that the country will emerge strong, independent, and self-sufficient, the reality is that these sanctions will only set back Russia’s progress in major industries by decades. He has only waged a war that brings back little gains and insurmountable costs.
And while information on the war has been more accessible than ever, media outside Russia highlights that Russia’s special military operation is corrected as an attack on Ukraine, while Russian news outlets are streamlined to report only Putin’s pro-war propaganda. With internal conflict among civilians, the rigid opinions of pro-war activists are but the manipulation of an entire system.
What worries the world the most is the inherent risk posed by the Russo-Ukrainian war, especially since Ukraine shares borders with four NATO member states. Thus, there is the ever-present risk of triggering a Russia-NATO war, whether deliberate or by accident. Since all NATO member states are bound under Article 5 to come to each other’s collective defense, this will invariably lead to World War III—which will, presumably, involve the deployment of nuclear arms. As the majority of the world is turning to the United States for answers, there has been limited military action by them and other Western powers to prevent escalation. Countries around the globe continue to balance both restraint and action, Putin becomes more unpredictable in his desperation to claim Ukraine. But is all of that truly worth it for Putin when, ultimately, it will harm ordinary citizens who were simply living their lives?
There may still be solutions to this, and not all Russians are to blame. But the accountability of this ongoing war must be on the man who called for it, and on his yes-men. The events ongoing between Russia and Ukraine are founded upon their baseless claims, unruly decisions, and reckless actions. The world must not veer away from the fact that the blood is only on their hands.
The world, especially the Russians, must be properly and rightfully informed of what is truly happening. Innocent lives are being taken, citizens and foreigners in Ukraine stand in both bravery and fear, and people are running from their homes with nowhere to go—if only to find safety somewhere. This isn’t a life that anyone would ever choose in any lifetime and everyone around the world deserves to know what is happening. The truth bares itself raw in the media, yet so much is being hidden away.
As Filipinos, we must also react appropriately—to be informed and to not shy away from the truth. In fact, we must defend the truth. To ignore and look past the war as nothing but a conflict of the West would be unwise and a betrayal to the values of truth and nobility. This is a war that affects everyone. While its impact may be contained in the West, countries all around the globe will begin to feel the consequences of the war should this escalate any further.
Although we live in an age where we all wish for world peace, actions must be taken against Putin and the wreckage he is causing. No matter his reasons, his decision to deviously invade a country at the cost of lives is wrong. We must be ready to protect those who need protecting, especially those negatively affected by Putin’s actions. We must be ready to stand for the truth—the truth which stands with Ukraine—and to stand against the likes of Putin and their never-ending hunger for power.