Is Ukraine History?

Last week Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of neighboring Ukraine. It’s the most serious conflict in Europe since the 1990s Bosnian War (not, as some commentators have claimed, since World War II). So far the death toll is in the hundreds, and has a way to go to reach the 80,000+ killed in the aftermath of the breakup of Yugoslavia. But if Russia continues pouring in troops, and begins attacking civilian population centers, the casualties will mount quickly.

St. Michael’s Cathedral and Monastery, Kyiv, Ukraine. (Public Domain, Wiki.)

Why is Putin doing this? No one knows for sure. Among proffered reasons: he considers Ukraine part of Russia; he wants to re-create the USSR and/or Tsarist Russia; the Russians fear NATO extension into Ukraine; Putin’s a “madman.”  Short of a Vulcan mind-meld of the Russian leader, it’s impossible to ascertain. But Russian tanks, troops and warplanes are in Ukraine, that’s for certain. Here’s the military situation as of March 1, 2022.

Unlike many on social media (particularly Twitter), some of us are prudent enough to refrain from claiming expert knowledge of this horrible conflict. However, it doesn’t hurt to garner background information. In that regard, take a look at these articles:

The latter also has this very useful “Ethno-linguistic map of Ukraine.” (Blues shades are majority Russian speaking areas; orange/tan are Ukrainian speakers.)

Let us inform ourselves about the situation, support our leaders in their policies (and try to guide them if we think those amiss)–and pray, for the people and the leaders of both Ukraine and Russia that this war would end soon, and that, God forbid, it not widen either geographically or bring nuclear weapons into play.