Five Ways That the Ukraine War Has Changed the World

22 February 2023

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022. One year into its war with Ukraine, thousands of soldiers on both sides are dead. Many civilians have been killed and thousands of others have left their homes looking for safety and a better life.

Here are five ways the Associated Press says the war in Ukraine has changed the world.

The return of a European war

People attend a funeral ceremony for Ukrainian serviceman Yurii Kulyk, 27, killed in Donetsk region, in Kalynivka, near Kyiv, on February 21, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by Dimitar DILKOFF / AFP)
People attend a funeral ceremony for Ukrainian serviceman Yurii Kulyk, 27, killed in Donetsk region, in Kalynivka, near Kyiv, on February 21, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by Dimitar DILKOFF / AFP)

The war in Europe made nations reconsider their armed forces after many years of limiting military spending.

For example, military leaders now believe they need more guns, tanks and ammunition. Before the Russian invasion, most experts thought modern warfare would require high-technology tools, such as drones or unmanned aircraft.

While drones and satellites are an important part of the fighting, it turns out that war requires the same tools as in the past.

Before the war, then-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, "the old concepts of fighting big tank battles...are over."

Now Germany has sent tanks and equipment to Ukraine and Britain is considering such a move. Both the U.S. and France are increasing weapons production and military spending.

Patrick Bury is a security expert who teaches at the University of Bath, in England.

"It is, for the moment at least, being shown that in Ukraine, conventional back," Bury said.

Tested and strengthened alliances

Before the war started, Russian President Vladimir Putin thought the invasion would hurt NATO. However, the military alliance seems stronger than before. In addition, Sweden and Finland asked to join the group.

The European Union has set aside political tensions and sent equipment and aid to Ukraine. It has also placed financial restrictions on Russia as punishment.

The two groups – NATO and the European Union – have seemed united for one year. But the question is whether all the countries involved can cooperate for many years to come.

Jens Stoltenberg is NATO's secretary general. "Russia is planning for a long war," he said. But NATO, he added, was also ready for "the long haul."

A new Iron Curtain

The division between Western Europe and the old Soviet Union was once known as the "Iron Curtain." After the fall of the Berlin Wall and changes that brought democracy to Eastern Europe, people said the curtain had come down.

Now, many of the western influences and businesses that grew in Russia over the past 30 years have moved out. For example, the companies Ikea and McDonald's are no longer in Russia.

But Russia is not completely isolatedTracey German is an expert in conflict and security at Kings College in London. German said the war has widened the distance between nations supporting Ukraine and those on the side of Russia.

A troubled and changed world economy

Food markets in Africa are without grain and cooking oil, and homes in Europe are cold because of the war.

Before the war, much of the grain and vegetable oil sent to the Middle East and Africa came from Ukraine and Russia. Heating gas and oil for much of Europe came from Russia. Supplies of both food and fuel have decreased and prices have sharply increased. Now, countries are thinking about ways to provide their own food and energy.

Ships carrying grain are once again leaving from Ukrainian ports and prices have started to come down. However, security expert German said, the fighting has shown "the fragility" of an interconnected world.

For the short-term, many European countries have returned to using coal for energy. But in the long-term, the fighting may make countries around the world more interested in renewable energy. The International Energy Agency said there will be a sharp increase in renewable power in the next five years.

A new time of uncertainty

People around the world now know that they have little control over the future. For example, 8 million people left their homes in Ukraine. They were not expecting their lives to change 13 months ago.

Outside of Ukraine and Russia, the war has made people following the conflict feel concerned for their safety. There has been regular fighting close to the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia, raising concerns of a possible accident. And Putin has talked about the possibility of using nuclear weapons in war.

Patricia Lewis is director of the international security program at Chatham House, a political research center in London. She said Putin's nuclear threats created "more anger than fear" for some people. However, this week the Russian leader said he was suspending his country's participation in a major nuclear arms control agreement with the U.S.

I'm Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell adapted this story for VOA Learning English based on a report by the Associated Press.


Words in This Story

concept –n. an idea of what something is or how it works

the long haul –idiom something that lasts for an undefined, long period of time and that suggests difficulty

isolated adj. alone or separated

fragile –adj. something that is easy to break

participation –n. to be involved with others in doing something