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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – 6 months on

  • September 13, 2022
  • 4 min read
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – 6 months on

On 24 February, Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, having previously seized various territories since 2014. As Ukraine marked its Independence Day on the 24th of August, the war had been raging for six months.

“Tomorrow is an important day for all of us,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on the 23rd. “And that is why this day, unfortunately, is also important for our enemy. We must be aware that tomorrow hideous Russian provocations and brutal strikes are possible.”

“President Vladimir Putin and the Russian elites and ideologues who support his war,” The Washington Post writes, “view Ukraine as an artificial state and an integral part of “Russkiy Mir” — or the “Russian world,” a revanchist concept about Russia’s imperial domains — that ought to be wrapped back into the Russian fold.”

The Kremlin, some believe, had hoped for a military parade running through Kyiv after what it had thought was to be an easy conquest. “Instead, there’s only a parade of burned-out Russian tanks lining a central boulevard in the capital, as residents waving Ukrainian flags pose for photos with their charred turrets and treads.”

The capital is far from Russia’s reach as the military resisted Putin’s initial assault. Forces mobilised to retake lands in the south that had been captured by previous advances but it is likely that there will be “a long grinding battle ahead.”

The war has claimed much in terms of lives, resources, and infrastructure. But more than that, it has driven a further wedge between the two nations. Ukraine has received candidate status for the European Union and gained widespread support and solidarity worldwide. Russia meanwhile has been hit with sanctions. Russia will likely face further isolation from the international community as much of the world rallied around its neighbour.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has opened an investigation into war crimes committed by Russian forces including torture, execution, and genocide. There have also been reports of “crimes against cultural heritage” as forces destroyed or damaged at least 250 museums and institutions, and looted as many as 2,000 art objects Special squads were sent to track down antiques to relocate them to Russia.

Reports of casualties vary wildly but it is known that Ukraine has lost at least 5,500 civilians and 10,000 soldiers, while Russia has lost a minimum of 5,000. However, the numbers don’t tell the whole story.

The war has created Europe’s largest refugee and humanitarian crisis since the Yugoslav Wars in the 1990s and the UN described it as the fastest-growing crisis since the second world war. Neighbouring countries have prepared for a mass displacement in the weeks before the invasion. In December 2021, the Ukrainian defence minister predicted that as many as three to five million people could be forced to flee their homes. That turned out to be a conservative estimate. As of July, it’s estimated that as many as 12 million people have had to flee their homes with at least 10 million leaving the country altogether.

Some Russians are also beginning to question the war. While the majority, according to most polls, still support the war, there have been some who voiced their opposition. Since February, there have been some anti-war protests, often met with arrests and reprisals from the police.

It’s not just civilians. “We continue to see increased signs of discipline and morale problems in the Russian army,” a Pentagon media release stated on the 29th of July stated. “When it comes to Russian morale, the official said there are many reports that detail soldiers at all levels deserting posts or refusing to fight.”

None of this bodes well for Russia. Most of the world is against the war and supports Ukraine with a few countries providing, among other things, training to Ukrainian forces. The country will not stop until it has regained all its land. That includes areas taken since 2014 including Crimea.

Russia has been waging war on Ukraine since this time. As the world looked on when Crimea was taken, Putin and his supporters expected more of the same. Putin believed that the country would be under his grip within weeks. It’s been over half a year now and he is no closer to capturing the country.

Image: President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky

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