A Cry for Help


Gayatri Malhotra

The Russian attacks on Ukraine have sparked protests globally, especially for greater U.S. involvement in the conflict.

Leyah Eagar, Staff Writer

*The opinions expressed within the content are solely the author’s and do not reflect the website’s or its affiliates’ opinions and beliefs.*

Over a year ago, on Feb. 24, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a special military project that would “demilitarize and denazify Ukraine and restore justice to those who committed numerous bloody crimes against peaceful people.” Moments after, countless missiles reigned terror on the European country, including the capital Kyiv, accompanied by a large-scale invasion from multiple areas. Ever since, thousands of Ukrainian lives have been lost, including the lives of many children, women and men fighting for their country’s survival. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights estimated that over 8,000 innocent civilians died from this attack and over 13,000 were injured. A recent Grid News article covering the statistics of deaths in Ukraine wrote, “Independent assessments have put the civilian toll closer to 100,000.” Thousands of innocent lives have been lost, and the U.S. has simply sat back and let this happen. Although many fear potential conflict escalations, we as a nation must stand for what is morally correct and protect democracy at all costs, particularly in establishing a no-fly zone over Ukraine. 

Ever since Putin attempted to invade Ukraine in 2014, the tension between the two European countries has been greater than ever. The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has dedicated his life to leading the country to fight back against Russian forces. At the start of the war, Zelenskyy implored the U.S. to establish a no-fly zone, which would protect civilians and deny the Russian air force the ability to gain air superiority. However, the devastating reality is that the U.S.’s involvement in the intergovernmental organization NATO means that they are discouraged from creating a no-fly zone over Ukraine as the nation is not protected by the military alliance. During a press conference, President Biden stated, “As we provide this support to Ukraine, we’re going to continue to stand together with our allies in Europe and send an unmistakable message: that we will defend every inch of NATO territory.” Biden’s interests lie with NATO, resulting in him being unable to establish a “no-fly zone” which would be going against his position leading a country involved with NATO. Instead, NATO allies have agreed to sustain and strengthen support for Ukraine in other ways. For the U.S. specifically, multiple attempts have been initiated by the president to help provide aid for Ukraine. For instance, Biden signed a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine in May of 2022 during the fourth month of the war. 

Unfortunately, Biden’s measures have not been as helpful as intended, with Ukraine still fighting restlessly and losing thousands of people in the process. In early 2022, many countries started advocating to raise awareness for Ukraine. However, as the trends died down, the media became less focused on the war and moved on to the next hot topic after a couple of months. The infamous quote, “Stand with Ukraine’,’ which is said time and time again across social media platforms, has not physically done anything to help the European country. Posting a yellow and blue square on one’s social media page will not stop the Russian government from brutally killing innocent people. 

We, as a country, have witnessed this country slowly perish, yet have done little over the past year to help accommodate Ukraine with its devastating losses. The controversy over the no-fly zone continues to raise debate in the media. A poll conducted by Reuters/Ipsos in 2022 showed that 74% of Americans were in favor of creating a no-fly zone and that an equally bipartisan 80% of Americans agreed that the U.S. should stop buying Russian oil as well. The U.S., despite typically playing a  hegemonic role in conflicts overseas, has failed to contribute what it should to help Ukraine. Some argue that if the U.S. had acted in Zelenskyy’s interests and established a no-fly zone, the conflict between the two countries would have escalated to a larger military conflict involving the U.S. and Russia. However, the U.S. should establish a no-fly zone as it has the military capabilities necessary to provide a successful deterrent for a Russian attack, particularly because the U.S. is a top military power in the world. Despite the several attempts and measures taken by the Biden administration to help support Ukraine, we as a country continue to remain uncooperative regarding creating a no-fly zone, which would ultimately protect civilians. All in all, without taking action, the U.S. is left witnessing the devastating aftermath of the Russian attacks on Ukraine, deciding to do nothing in the ignorant trepidation of escalation.