Political science Prof. Brown comments on the Russia-Ukraine crisis

Zahra Khan, World News Editor

Russia withdrew its troops from Kyiv and northern Ukraine to Belarus and Russia and has now turned its attention to eastern Ukraine. According to a CNN report, Russia wants to completely “liberate” Donbas “which broadly refers to Ukraine’s eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, where Russian-backed separatists held significant territory before the invasion.” While troop numbers are currently expanding in the Donbas, Russia is simultaneously launching air and artillery attacks on Kharkiv and other cities. 

The constant devastation in Ukraine is neverending. The missile attack on Kramatorsk train station, for instance, left 50 people killed and many injured. Sergei, a volunteer with the Ukrainian army claimed “you just don’t understand the motivation of the people who did this. What was this for?”

As this tragedy continues, Union’s community has actively been spreading awareness about the happenings of Ukraine. Staff members have taken time to discuss not only the current happenings regarding the invasions by Russia but the motives behind the attacks. Professor Clifford Brown, who teaches Political Science courses here at Union, kindly agreed to provide his insight on Putin’s motivation, the impact this war may have upon other countries, and a possible end to this war. 

While it has been highlighted amongst news sources that the purpose of Putin’s attacks upon Ukraine is imperialism, Professor Brown highlights another motive—a land bridge. Professor Brown explained that Putin wants to create a land bridge between the Donbas region and Crimea. This bridge will provide a secure way for Putin to keep access to Crimea. If he does not succeed there, he has nothing to show for the invasion. 

Outside of Russia and Ukraine, major European countries have taken a firm stance and condemned Russia’s actions. Germany for instance, who on the one hand is a part of NATO but on the other depends upon Russia’s oil, has planned to cut off dependence on Russia’s energy massively. Professor Brown elaborated that when it comes to European countries’ willingness to take an economic hit in the exchange for a policy to sanction Russia, they have been proactive. Professor Brown gave the example of the United Kingdom being proactive in providing weapons to Ukraine, and how the UK has done more to provide for the Ukrainian army than any other country besides the United States. 

Professor Brown notes that through the increase of these sanctions, a lot of pressure could be put on Putin, providing a possible end to this war. As previously mentioned by Professor Brown, the land bridge is crucial. If the land bridge is maintained, Russia immediately holds the upper hand. A Russian victory may also have something to do with May 9, known as Victory Day in Russia. Professor Brown explained that may mean Putin will try to intensify the war in the very near future, which is why the troops have been removed from the Kyiv area and sent to the east to escalate the war to give proof of victory. Regardless, there is a long road ahead.