FOCUS on Ukraine: Refugees

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, an estimated 3.1 million Ukrainians have fled the country, reported by the Brookings Institution as of March 18.  It is currently estimated that the number may reach 4 million if Russia’s military offensive continues at its current rate.  

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Global Reactions to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

Across the globe, the world is shunning Russia in a multitude of ways to protest President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. As The New York Times examines, from culture to commerce and sports to travel, many doors have been closed on Russia and its people, in a capacity not seen since the days of the Cold War. Such a worldwide rejection of Russia has been intended to show solidarity with the beleaguered  Ukrainians, while also attempting to force President Putin to pull back Russian forces.

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FOCUS on Ukraine: Ukrainian Resistance

Ukrainians have mounted a “stiffer-than-expected” military and civil resistance since Russian troops invaded the country in late February, the New York Times reports. 

The Ukrainian military, one of Europe’s largest with over 370,000 active and reserve troops, has spent billions training its soldiers to counter Russian offenses in the aftermath of the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Thus far, it appears that their efforts have paid off – Russia, despite its military and economic advantages, has managed to capture only one major city in 10 days, the southern city of Kherson.

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Sanctions May Not Stop Putin, But They Will Certainly Hurt the Russian People

As the world watched in horror while Vladimir Putin launched his illegal and indefensible invasion of Ukraine, many immediately called for the harshest sanctions possible to be imposed on Putin’s regime. The United States and its allies showed remarkable unity in implementing comprehensive sanctions targeting key sectors of the Russian economy. According to Vox, the U.S. and Europe immediately sanctioned Putin and other Russian oligarchs by freezing their assets and confiscating properties belonging to individuals close to the Russian government. 

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Seven Russian Banks Banned from SWIFT

The crisis in Ukraine has led to multiple European and U.S.-led economic sanctions against the Russian Federation, resulting in profound damage to the Russian economy, reports Al Jazeera. According to ABC News, Russia is facing the sharp devaluation of the ruble, increasing inflation, heightened interest rates, and a frozen stock market. To further disrupt the Russian economy, The Wall Street Journal reports that Western countries have removed several Russian banking entities from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT.

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Russia Takes Chernobyl and Holds Staff Hostage as Radiation Levels Increase

On February 24, Russian troops captured the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and its exclusion zone, the 30 kilometer area around the site of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, reports Radio Free Europe. The situation escalated when it was reported by CNN that soldiers were holding power plant staff hostage. On February 25, Reuters said that both the Ukrainian nuclear agency and interior ministry had reported increased radiation levels coming from the plant.

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In Ukraine, an Invasion and its Consequences

Weeks of escalating tensions in Europe reached their breaking point on February 24, when Russia officially launched its first attacks against Ukraine. As the ominous buildup of over 100,000 Russian troops on Ukraine’s border showed no signs of slowing down in the days leading up to the attack, many nations expressed concern that President Vladimir Putin was formulating plans for military operations against Ukraine, reports The New York Times.

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As the Olympics Wrap Up, Scandals Take Center Stage

As the 2022 Winter Olympics come to a close, scandals continue to dominate many of the stories from Beijing. The games were shrouded in scandal from the start, beginning with the sudden disappearance of the famous Chinese tennis player, Peng Shuai, several months before the games, after she publicly stated she was assaulted by a high-ranking member of the Chinese government, reports The Washington Post. Then, there were the concerns about the Chinese government’s treatment of the Uyghur people, for which the United States, Australia, Britain, Canada, Kosovo, and New Zealand diplomatically boycotted the Olympics.

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Where’s the Working Class in Foreign Policy?

The wealthiest country in human history finds itself helpless in stopping a nation with an economy smaller than that of Texas. There’s no punchline to follow, and if there was, it would certainly fall flat to Ukrainian comedian-turned-President Volodymyr Zelensky. NPR reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin has encircled Ukraine’s border with 100,000 Russian soldiers.

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