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Ukraine conflict update

Last updated on Apr 22, 2022

By Joe Lonegro, Staff Writer

It is now week seven of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and it has been quite the disaster. There are now over 1600 civilian casualties and Russian President Vladamir Putin shows no signs of slowing down. Between train stations and civilian apartment buildings, the uncertainty makes it hard to guess their next move. The Ukrainians have held on though, leaving everything on the line as they frustrate the Russians and put up the fight of a lifetime.

Graduate advisor of political science and professor Dr. Michael Soupios gave his honest thoughts on Vladimir Putin and the invasion of Ukraine.

“Putin is an autocrat, he’s subsured the parliament, the constitution, the legal system, the court system, rule of law in Russia doesn’t exist anymore it is whatever Putin says it is and the same goes for the information and facts they are also unfortunately whatever Mr. Putin says they are,” he said. “He is concerned about his own loss of power and the last thing he wants is an independent legitimately Democratic and prosperous Ukrainian State.”

When talking about why Putin could be doing this, Soupios mentioned his egotistical mindset.

“This is about an interest on the part of Vladimir Putin in maintaining his own power and that’s what this whole thing is about in my opinion,” he said. “He is an autocrat, and power is a very seductive thing, the more of it you have, the more of it you want and this guy can’t get enough. This is the same pattern of the logic of a Joseph Stalin, the logic of an Adolf Hitler, and all of these other expansionist type leaders. There is also a term called Revanchism, what that means is one country wanting to regain territory it used to control but no longer controls. I think Putin is a revanchist and would like to reestablish much broader borders in terms of what used to be the Soviet Union, and that is something you can not allow because it will destabilize everything. You open up the risk of a much larger conflict. We let this man get away with too much in the 90s and are reaping the harvest in another bloody mess.”

Recently Ukraine announced they discovered a mass grave in Bucha, just outside of Kyiv. Soupios gave his thoughts on potential war crimes broken by Russia.

“There were standards laid out, and Russia is a signatory to these standards, the Geneva Conventions, and I don’t think beyond much reasonable doubt that they have violated the hell out of these conventions,” he said. “You’re not supposed to be bombing unarmed civilian populations, not supposed to be executing prisoners, not supposed to be using violence as interrigation, and theft and rape which we’ve heard is apparently going on, these are all clear cut violations of the conventions.”

Soupios gave an explanation to how the sanctions put on Russia could affect things in the country.

“In the long term, 3 months 4 months 5 months the sanctions will be very painful. Right now they still have an economic reserve on the ground and the people are being told they need to tighten their belts because this is a just war on their part, they’re defending their national integrity and all the misinformation,” he said. “So in the short term the sanctions won’t be effective enough for a regime change where people are really unhappy, but if this goes on month after month it would be another story. Russia has one asset economically and that’s the petroleum and natural gas industry. The funny but good description  is that Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country, the whole economy is a single factor economy which makes it very vulnerable.”

Soupios gave his predictions on the outcome of the conflict.

“I think in the end Putin loses,” he said. “Again it’s going to take time but the world will increasingly hang in there. In the short term we have to be much more aggressive in supplying weapon systems to the ukrainans, and apparently that is going on and we are sending more sophisticated stuff and the ukrainians are fighting for their homeland their country and are more motivated than the russian soldiers are. I feel badly for the Russian people and the Russian troops. These are young kids that aren’t professional troops who don’t want to be there and don’t know why they’re there. How do you stay motivated with people shooting at you when you don’t even know why they are? The Russian people deserve a better leader than this clown. 

Senior digital art and design major DeAnna Aguinaldo gave her thoughts on the war in Ukraine.

“The whole situation is devastating and horrific, it’s a little surreal to know something like this is happening in our day in age, it’s something you hear in history books,” she said. “Knowing there’s people my age going through this and losing their family members is so horrific. No one wants bloodshed and all this chaos and devastation, I think it’s really hard to control and I would hope the world powers could come up with a solution to stop Putin from any more of this because it is disgusting.”

When trying to think of being in the Ukrainian’s shoes, she mentioned how someone in her family went through something similar.

“My grandmother was from the Philippines, so when she was my age and even younger the Japanese were invading her country,” she said. “I remember her telling me how she felt and her parents had died before any of this happened but she was eleven or twelve going through that and had to take care of her younger siblings and I remember her saying how horrific it was and how they had to hide in jungles. Picturing what’s going on now, which is modern warfare, and modern technology I think that makes it even scarier because of the devastation that can be done in this day and age like nuclear warfare. I don’t know how I would feel, definitely devastated and scared not knowing if it would be my last day.”

When thinking of how this conflict could come to an end, she wasn’t too sure which way it could go.

“I’m not too sure how this will come to an end but if this does continue and Putin decides to go to more than Ukraine and take over more of Europe and maybe even do something with nuclear warfare, the whole world would have to really step in and take extreme measures to really prevent that from happening,” she said. “I think that’s a big worry, I don’t know if it’s really likely but you never know because everything has seemed unpredictable of late and the fact that if this is happening, anything can happen.”

Junior health science Major Miranda Ruiz described her thoughts on the Russian invasion.

“I think that it’s a difficult situation for everyone, especially because a lot of countries want to support Ukraine and Russia is kind of doing things that violate a lot of the agreements,” she said. “This situation has been going on for a long time, so it’s not completely surprising that it happened. I don’t know how it’s going to end up being settled, it’s just a bit of a crazy thing with everything that’s been going on the last few years, throwing a war on top of it isn’t surprising.”

When thinking of the people in Ukraine, she felt empathy while being grateful it isn’t a worry in the US.

“I don’t know if I could ever imagine it because here in America we don’t ever have to have that worry that someone will invade us because of our alliances with Mexico and Canada,” she said. “I don’t think I could ever expect that here, so it’s hard to understand how they feel but at the same time you also feel the empathy of fearing for a loved one or fearing for your family’s safety.”

Ruiz spoke on the fact that while Putin is in control, any settled peace is a hard thing to achieve.

“I don’t know if there is a solution to stop this, being able to sit down and talk is definitely the way to get over things,” she said. “But this has been going on for so long that I don’t know if there really will be a proper way to end it. The violence will most likely end with peace talks, possibly a ceasefire, but with what’s going on and with Putin in control, I don’t see any true peace taking place anytime soon.”

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