The Path of Peace?

Just a few months after the United State’s departure from Afghanistan, the United Nations has a new threat, Russia. Over a hundred thousand Russian troops are gathered at the Russia-Ukraine border, and although Russian leaders have denounced allegations of an invasion on Ukraine, there’s no way we can fully trust Russia based on our adversary’s past faults. We spoke with a Apopka High School history teacher and political expert, Mr. Russel who we got a lot of our information from regarding the Ukraine crisis so we can keep you updated.

(Courtesy of

Russia and Ukraine’s nasty relationship dates back decades. During the time of the Cold War, Russia and Ukraine were united under the USSR flag, and it wasn’t until 1991 when the Cold War ended that Ukraine officially declared itself an independent country. In 2004, Viktor Yanukovych, the Prime Minister at the time, was declared the winner of the presidential election, which had been rigged, as the Supreme Court of Ukraine later ruled. Upset, many people were upset in Ukraine and began to support the opposite candidate, Viktor Yushchenko. Soon after, Yushchenko became gravely ill and he suspected that Russians were poisening him. The vote-rigging by Yanukovych was successful and “won” the election. If you don’t know how Ukrainian government works (and let’s be honest, nobody does) Ukraine has a multi-party system similar to us, and the President is a higher position than the Prime Minister. Disputes with Russia briefly stopped all gas supplies to Ukraine in 2006 and again in 2009, leading to gas shortages in surrounding countries.

In 2010, Yanukovych was re-elected as President. In February and March 2014, Russia invaded and annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine. Now Russia in 2022 wants to invade Ukraine, so we think. However, the Russian government has denied multiple times that they aren’t planning an invasion of Ukraine despite the Russian military having over 100,000 at the border and Russia’s military doing excercises in Belaruus involving tens of thousands of troops, with warships entering the Black Sea for large-scale naval drills involving sophisticated weapons systems including S-400 surface-to-air missiles, Pantsir air defense systems and Su-35 fighter jets.

(Courtesy of The Washington Post)

It’s safe to say that if things took a turn for the worst, “some American military analysts project around 50,000 casualties,” says Mr. Russel. The Russians have an overwhelming military advantage and will likely have seized their objectives in one or 2 weeks. Russian paratroopers will likely be dropped in to seize command and control centers as well. During the Trump and Biden administrations, lots of high-tech weaponery has been sent to Ukraine so it would be a bloody fight for sure.

Why should Apopka High School students, or any high school student for that matter care? Mr. Russel says that he has a Ukrainian student that feels indifferent about the matter. “During the last Ukraine crisis and invasion, I had a Russian student who told me that his friends in Russia hated Putin, but after the invasion they regarded him with awe as a nationalist leader who’s brought honor and pride back to the Russian people.” If things did go south and there was a war involving multiple nations, the United States is expected to be included. When the U.S. military does a draft, all capable men ages 18-25 who are U.S. citizens or are immigrants living in the U.S are put into the military (mostly the infantry) and sent off to fight. High school seniors are typically near to that age range, and we could see students right after graduation being pulled into the conflict. This is only a small possiblility though, very small, but not impossible.

(Courtesy of USA Today)

How sure are we that Russia will invade Ukraine? Mr. Russel tells us that he’s 50% sure of a Russian invasion. French president Emmanuel Macron went to speak with Vladimir Putin in Moscow to try and dial down tensions on the Ukrainia-Russia border. All we can do is hope that the United Nations and Russia can work things out and find a peaceful solution, because if not, the world could see history repeat itself.