Students discuss relevance of Russo-Ukrainian war

Biden, Ukrainian President Zelensky at Kyiv, February 20, 2023 – via Wikimedia Commons

Over one year ago, on February 24, 2022, Russian armies ordered by President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, the largest military action since World War II. 

Though the conflict did not receive much attention at school in its first weeks, according to many students, the few conversations surrounding the topic have dwindled further. 

“It has kind of died down. There hasn’t been as much hype about it,” Third Former Chase Baker said. 

As a result, Baker believes he is not well informed. 

“At first it was like everyone was talking about it, and it’s still going on, but I feel like if I were to be questioned about it today, I wouldn’t know about it,” Baker said.

Many students think this is a problem, and that such an important event deserves more attention. 

“It’s important to talk about modern world events in classes, because it informs us more, which is a good thing,” Third Former Jack Chisholm said.

According to the daily email newsletter Morning Brew, there have been an estimated 300,000 total combat casualties, (100,000 Ukrainian, 200,000 Russian,) and over 7,000 civilian casualties. Nearly 20% of Ukraine’s pre-war population (8,000,000 people) have fled the country, and the country has endured hundreds of billions of dollars of property damage. Though the war has caused many casualties on both sides, many upper school students would support United States involvement. 

“I think it would be a good idea for [the United States] to intervene, I just don’t think it’s going to happen.”

Jack Ford ’26

Third Former Jack Ford said, “I think it would be a good idea for [the United States] to intervene, I just don’t think it’s going to happen.” 

Though many support the idea of intervention, many students do not see this as a likely scenario. Chisholm said, “I don’t think Joe Biden would intervene unless Putin did something really drastic or over the top.” 

Still, the students questioned about this topic all believed that they did not have enough information about the war to come to specific conclusions about how or if intervention should be handled.

Many students supported the idea of sending additional weapons and supplies to Ukraine. Western equipment given to Ukraine from the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union (led by Poland, Germany, and the Netherlands) thus far has totaled over $55 billion, as estimated by the B.B.C.

“It is a good idea to send arms to Ukraine,” Third Former Ranvir Gill said. “Without our help, Ukraine would surely fall to the Russians.” 

Others believe that sending equipment would not be an effective way of helping Ukraine.  Third Former Peter McElhone said, “I think that the U.S. should send people on with the equipment if they’re going to send equipment, otherwise it would be a waste.” 

Once more, interviewees did not wish to get into specifics about American aid, as many thought they did not have enough information on hand to provide an educated opinion.

Another issue is the length of war, and the possibility of it extending a lot longer.

“The war will never completely end, it will just die down and become irrelevant in the media unless something very drastic happens, or will ground to a stand still,” Chisholm said.

 The front line now stretches over 600 miles. Because of the front line’s length, The Washington Post claims that it seems unlikely that either side will make worthwhile gains without a huge advantage in military personnel or armaments. What does seem evident, however, is that without the support of the West, it is almost certain that Ukraine will fold to the Russians. 

Students think it is vital that the West stands up to Russia.

 “It is important, as of now, to hold off the Russians because it protects innocent lives. But if Putin threatens something like nuclear war, then we should stop as it would put too many innocent lives in harm’s way,” Gill said. “We can’t let Ukraine fall to the Russians, because if they did, the West and American hegemony would fail.”