Editor’s Note: Unfortunately disruption has made this edition of The Badger a little different. Unavoidable circumstances meant that this edition was delayed. Consequently, some of these articles are a little older and we haven’t been able to get the newest stories to you this time. However, we think that it is fair that those who wrote great articles have them published, and these important stories are read by you.
By The News Editorial Team
On Friday the 25th of February, students from the University of Sussex took to the Library Square and rallied together to spark dialogue. Students held posters and took turns to share thoughts and stories about the current situation. Posters read “ Putin Hands off Ukraine”, “stop war” and “My Country, My Culture, My Freedom #standwithUkraine” . These demonstrations can be seen across the country, with fears and worry extending to all Ukraine and Russian students in the UK, and those across the country with family and ties to those in Eastern Europe.
A day prior, on 24th February 2022, Russia launched a debilitating attack on Ukraine after months of a military build up along the Donbass. Attacks were carried out throughout the country via air, water and land, with the capital city of Kyiv and other large cities such as Kharkiv and Chemihiv being primary targets.
Preceding the attacks, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed in a television address that Russia could not feel “safe, develop and exist” due to the alleged threat Ukraine posed. The dawn after the first attacks, Putin delivered a speech where he reinforced that Ukraine has historically been a part of Russia’s territory. He warned that any other country’s attempt at interference will be met with “consequences they have never seen”. He also stated that Russia’s aim was for the “demilitarisation and de-nazification of Ukraine”, a comment Ukraine’s Jewish President Volodymyr Zelensky responded to by asking “how could I be a Nazi?”. Ukraine’s chief rabbi and the Auschwitz Memorial disapproved of Putin’s comments.
Countries part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) strongly condemned Russia’s full scale invasion. They staunchly supported Ukraine by providing aid and introducing harsh sanctions against Russia, sending the Russian economy into a collapse. “Freedom will always triumph over tyranny,” United States’ President Joe Biden said as he denounced Putin in his first State of the Union address and vowed to retaliate.
David Maguire, Interim Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sussex published a message to show support for those affected by the events in Ukraine. His message reads.
“Sussex is an institution which is proudly international. In our 60 years, our strength and our value have been created in the coming together of many nationalities. We recognise that the terrible events unfolding in Ukraine are extremely distressing for many in our community and I want to reassure you that we are fully supporting those who need our help. We stand with the people of Ukraine as we stand in solidarity with all peoples whose lives are put at risk by unjustifiable violence.
“Now is the time for our community to come together. This conflict has the potential to be upsetting and unsettling for our staff and students who have links to both nations involved in the conflict…. “From a broader perspective, universities such as Sussex have much to offer at times like this. Our research and support networks have highlighted the plight of victims of war and violence and have often informed government policies that can help to bring about peaceful resolutions. It remains our hope that a lasting, peaceful settlement can be found with the utmost urgency.“These are unsettling times. We have all been moved by the terrible suffering this conflict has already brought. You can show your support through donations to the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Ukraine emergency appeal or the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.”