Students respond to the Russian invasion of Ukraine


Photo courtesy of The Chaparral. Top Row: Abcde Velasco, Jose Navarro-Mejia and David Vivar. Middle Row: Donald Gonsalves, Sara Munoz and Opal De La O. Bottom Row: Daisy Lopez, Edwin Morataya and Luke Syrigos.

With the rising tensions in Ukraine attributable to the Russian invasion, Ukrainians are fleeing their country and fighting back against Russian troops. We asked students at College of the Desert if the Western World is doing enough to support Ukraine. Here are some of their responses.

Abcde Velasco – Business Administration “Very complex question. I feel that if the West provides more towards Ukraine it will cause problems. I don’t know much about the situation, but I think that the West should provide for Ukraine to an extent, without causing a larger situation.”

Jose Navarro-Mejia – Nursing “I actually haven’t been keeping up, I have heard a few updates though. I did read a headline about Biden trying to intervene on Russia trying to use nuclear weapons. I think that’s a good place to step in, I don’t really have a stance on our neutrality and what we should be doing. I think we’re playing it safe. We kind of have to play their own game too. I think I saw 70 or 80 soldiers killed over there from airstrikes. We might have to step in there. I think hopefully we’re moving in a direction of getting more involved with preventing the possible war. We are an essential power and a big influence globally. I think because of how we handled COVID, we lost a lot of that status.”

David Vivar – Business Administration “They could do better in helping Ukraine, but I feel like, in relation to what President Zelensky said, ‘I need ammunition, not a ride [out of Ukraine],’ that could inflict a more prolonged battle. The U.S. should sit down with Russia and Ukraine so none of us endanger ourselves even more.”

Donald Gonsalves – Undecided “I believe it’s very difficult to say if the West is doing enough. If we get too involved, it could result in a much larger conflict. On the other hand, having no reaction makes Western society appear weak, and would mean it’d be harder to deter any future invasions.”

Sara Munoz – Political Science “Due to the fact that Russia is so big, I know that the United States is a little bit intimidated to get involved. I know that the U.S. has sent money over there and I know that Germany has done their part in sending weapons to Ukraine. I see that as a reparation, considering what happened to Germany in World War II, so I definitely think that the European countries are doing more than the U.S. After Putin announced that no one should get involved, it’s a very tense situation because I know no one wants a nuclear war.”

Opal De La O – Undecided “I don’t think it’s enough. I understand the U.S. is trying to protect us from going into another war, but putting sanctions on Russia is not enough. I feel we should focus on protecting the Ukrainian people from more destruction.”

Daisy Lopez – Studio Arts “We’re doing the most we [U.S. involvement] can with the current state of how the invasion is moving along. As long as we are not ignoring them and are aiding them by sending them support, ammunition and sanctioning the Russian civilization. We [U.S.] cannot fight for them but we can provide for them because once we [U.S.] enter, then that’s when a World War may possibly begin. When I look at Ukraine, I don’t see a weak country. I see warriors.”

Edwin Morataya “Honestly yes, just because when they invaded Ukraine, they just expected that they would be able to take over Ukraine. Instead, it just backfired and Ukraine is actually fighting back.”

Luke Syrigos “To be honest, I don’t try to worry about that too much. But from what I’ve heard, I think they’ve sent out a couple of troops but they don’t want to get directly involved and start a war directly with Russia. I think they’re being smart right now because we haven’t made direct contact or anything with Russia. I think we should stay out of it and let Ukraine handle what they got to do. If Ukraine really needs it, then I guess come in with more troops or something, but other than that, I think we’re doing fine”.

Emily Lopez – Liberal Arts “This whole situation is pretty horrible. I think Vladimir Putin has very selfish intentions, not taking into consideration the lives of people in Ukraine, people of Russia, and the rest of the world. The Western World, as far as things are right now, I think we should support Ukraine however we can; whether that’s financially or with arms in Eastern Europe, and make sure we protect our people.”