News Explained: Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

Via: Source: Institye for the study of war, Maps 4News, Google Maps Graphic: Henrik Pettersson, CNN

On February 24th, 2022 Russia launched a full scale invasion of the neighboring state of the Ukraine. This act began Europe’s largest land war since World War II. We asked Wauwatosa West APUSH teacher, Christopher Benes, to provide us with five points that students should know in order to understand the current conflict. We have also compiled a list of resources that will provide the needed further insight and information.


Five Facts About Russia and Ukraine From Mr. Benes:


Note: Tensions between Russia and Ukraine have been building for years, this war is not small. The number of casualties, including civilians and children, continue to rise every day. We do not want to confine a war to five simple points, however these are five things that may not be included in daily news updates that are vital to understanding the full scope of this conflict.  


(1) The history of Ukraine and the independence vote in 1991. Ukrainian voters were given a vote as to whether or not Ukraine should move forward as an independent state, and more than 92% of the voters said yes. On December 2, 1991, Ukraine severed ties from the Soviet Union and became an independent state.


(2) Ukraine is the largest country in Europe in terms of area and has a population of more than 43 million people, which ranks 7th in Europe. 


(3) The eastern portion of Ukraine is home to many people who are ethnically Russian. There are more than 11 million ethnic Russians living in Ukraine, making it the largest minority group in the country. 


(4) Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014, where the majority of the population is ethnically Russian. Vladimir Putin argued that the ethnic Russians living in Crimea wanted to break away from Ukraine and become a part of Russia.


(5) In the last few days, Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered numerous justifications for the invasion of Ukraine, including his belief that the United States is working to help Ukraine develop nuclear weapons (there is no evidence of this whatsoever.) Other justifications include his claim that Ukraine is engaged in a genocide that is targeting ethnic Russians (no evidence) and his belief that Ukraine in not truly an autonomous state. There are many who view the invasion of Ukraine as Putin’s first step towards rebuilding the Russian empire




Live Updates:

CNN: Russia Invades Ukraine

NPR: Russia invades Ukraine live updates 


Accounts to follow:

@xenasolo (TikTok)

@vicderyshire (TikTok)

@underthedesknews (TikTok and Instagram)

@cnn (TikTok)

@nytimes (Instagram)

@washingtonpost (Instagram)



Up First from NPR (Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Alexa, RSS Link)

CNN Tonight (Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Alexa, RSS Link)

CNN 5 Things(Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Alexa, RSS Link)

The Daily: The New York Times (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher)



Many nonwhite refugees fleeing Ukraine caught in limbo at borders amid reports of discrimination

“A war within a war”: Transgender woman says transphobia and discriminatory laws keeping her hostage in Kyiv during Russian invasion

Why is Russia attacking Ukraine? Here are 5 reasons Putin and others have given for the invasion

Photos: Ukraine fights back Russian forces after invasion (Warning for Graphic Content) 

How an actor-turned-president found himself leading Ukraine during war 

Six Maps explaining the conflict in Ukraine 



From spy to president: The rise of Vladimir Putin 

How President Vladimir Putin Came to Power in Russia 

A Brief History of Modern Ukraine 

Organizations to support:

Save the Children

Razom for Ukraine

Global Giving Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund