Ukraine and Russia 

Ivy Holloway, Reporter

   Following the situation in Ukraine can be a daunting task, years of fighting and built-up tension have led to this deadly war that is littered with foreign meddling and affiliations. 

The Pantherette presents: a brief history of Russia and Ukraine. 

The Russo-Ukrainian war started in February of 2014 respectively, with the Russian invasion beginning in the east and the annexation of Crimea, the peninsula closest to Russia on the black sea. However, the most current outbreak has seen more brutal invasions of Ukraine.

To understand the current situation, it is essential to know the factors that play into it: Oil, the USSR, and NATO.


   Russia is undoubtedly a global power, providing gold, iron, machinery such as computers, and most importantly, oil. Russia’s vast Siberian landscape is home to trillions of barrels of petroleum ready to be sent to eastern Europe and china. In fact, Russia is second, only to Saudi Arabia, in oil production and exportation. Ukraine also is home to oil however, they lack the infrastructure required to process the crude oil. (ex: fracking, tools, processing plants). This is one (predicted) reason that Russia is invading Ukraine, to gain access to their land and water-based oil reserves to remain in control of Slovic oil trade.

 The USSR 

   An aristocracy and the Tsar controlled Russia until the 1910s. The Tsar was a cruel leader, who kept his population uneducated, he caused famine and kept the Russians behind as everyone around them continued to industrialize and grow. Following WWI, Russia had a revolution (1917) leaving them under the control of communist leader Joseph Stalin(1924). But the communists, especially Stalin didn’t just want their ideals in Russia, they wanted them everywhere. Communism under Russia’s influence spread all across the eastern block forming the USSR or the Soviet Union, creating what was known as the iron curtain. 

The USSR included:

  1.  Russia
  2. Estonia
  3. Latvia
  4. Lithuania
  5. Belarus
  6. Ukraine
  7. Moldova
  8. Georgia 
  9. Armenia
  10. Azerbaijan 
  11. Kazakhstan
  12. Uzbekistan
  13. Turkmenistan
  14. Kyrgyzstan
  15. Tajikistan


The USSR eventually fell in 1991, leaving all of the countries separate from each other. Most of these countries were left to be independent and form democracies, something Russia wasn’t exactly happy about.


   NATO or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is a European based organization that ensures the security of its European member countries and other linked North American countries. The original purpose of NATO was to secure peace among the European Union, yet some, mostly Russians, believe the true purpose of the group is to stop the spread of soviet influences

NATO includes the following countries:

  • Albania,
  • Bulgaria, 
  • Belgium, 
  • Croatia, 
  • Canada, 
  • Denmark,
  •  France,
  • Greece, 
  • the Czech Republic, 
  • Estonia, 
  • Latvia,
  • Germany,
  •  Hungary, 
  • Lithuania,
  • Iceland, 
  • Italy, 
  • Luxembourg,
  • the Netherlands, 
  • Montenegro, 
  • North Macedonia, 
  • Romania,
  •  Norway, 
  • Poland, 
  • Portugal, 
  • Slovakia, 
  • Slovenia 
  • Spain 
  • Türkiye
  •  United Kingdom
  •  United States

Marked in blue is countries formerly a part of the USSR. Marked in red is major players in the current war in Ukraine

 Russia and Russian-affiliated countries are not exactly happy with NATO’s presence, which forms another aspect of the war.

   Russia wants to regain control of former Soviet Union nations in order to create a defense against nato. Ukraine, which is not yet a part of NATO, is an important country to have for defense, with the Carpathian mountains to the southwest of the nation, act as the first line of defense for the Russians against NATO, and with lots of Russian affiliated states such as Belarus and Moldova to the north and south of them, creates an easy way to expand Russia’s empire.

To conclude 

   Two winters ago, Texas experienced a freeze that left thousands of people without power and freezing in their homes. Texans were left un prepared due to not being accustomed to harsh winter conditions. A similar situation is taking place along the eastern bloc.

   The aftershocks of this war can be felt around the world, mainly in the energy sector. As previously mentioned, Russia provided vital oil for most of Eastern Europe. Germany is particularly worried about their lack of fuel and below freezing temperatures. Also, Russia bombed Ukraine’s power supplies, causing them to be plunged into rapid rolling blackouts during the coldest time of the year. Furthermore, with Ukraine being surrounded by NATO allies, if Russia were to accidentally, or purposefully, attack one of these surrounding nations, it could cause a global catastrophe or even world world 3.

 It can be hard to follow active warfare, but now that you’re all caught up, hopefully it’ll be a little easier!