Why Is Russia Invading Ukraine Now?

Putin believes Ukraine is a part of historic Russia and doesn’t want it to become part of NATO, says Prof. Albin Cofone.


The Ukrainian has become a symbol of support and solidarity against Russia. Due to unpresidential time many have raised the flag over the month of March. (Illustration: Kyra Higbie).

Kyra Higbie, Story Writer

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been going on for weeks now, and many still wonder what sparked President Vladamir Putin to send in his military. Albin Cofone, a professor of geography and current events, noted that Russia and Ukraine have had a contentious relationship since the collapse of the Soviet Union, with their feud centered around two main issues. 

“Putin believes Ukraine is a part of historic Russia, he believes it has always been a part of Russia,” Cofone said. “The other reason is Putin is fearful Ukraine will become a part of NATO.” Ukraine has shown a desire in the past to be both a part of the European Union and NATO, a political and military alliance that includes the United States and many European countries.

“Putin fears having NATO on the fringes of the southern border of Russia, it would be equivalent to Russian troops being in Canada.” 

What does Russia hope to gain by invading?

Cofone said Putin wants legitimate recognition of Russia’s ownership of Crimea, a warm water port in Ukraine that Putin utilizes for trade — because a large majority of Russia’s ports are ice-locked, meaning they are frozen during a large portion of the year and therefore effectively unusable. 

Why hasn’t NATO/the U.S. gotten involved in the conflict? 

While the U.S and its allies have imposed stiff sanctions on Russia and sent military aid, they have not directly gotten their own militaries involved. Ukraine is not a part of NATO, NATO has avoided accepting Ukraine out of fear that Russia will retaliate militarily. 

Cofone added, “NATO has troops in Germany, in case the war bleeds into Poland, an ally of NATO.”