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One Year Passes Since Russia’s Invasion Of Ukraine

Ukraine Flag
Hannah Walton-Hughes

On 24th February 2022, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, with the goal of overturning the government of Volodymyr Zelensky. Impact’s Hannah Walton-Hughes looks back on the development of the war and the impact it has had.

Russia’s war with Ukraine has without doubt had unimaginable human costs, with hundreds of thousands of lives lost. However, economically and geopolitically, the effects of Vladimir Putin’s decision have spread far wider.

In February 2022, Russia invaded Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, as well as Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city. Kyiv defied all expectations of experts and put up impressive resistance. Eventually, this led to a temporary retreat from Russia.

The largest monthly death toll of Ukrainian citizens occurred in March 2022, according to UN figures. The region of Kherson was targeted, with the view to “secure Ukraine’s coast”.

Russia’s next goal was to create a bridge between the Crimean Peninsula, originally taken “illegally” by Russia in 2014, and “Russian-backed breakaway republics” in Luhansk and Donetsk that had formed following that event. Together, these regions have become known as Donbas, and Vladimir Putin now wishes to control them.

Other atrocities committed by the Russians have emerged as this conflict has progressed. Women have been violated, with cases of rape and threatened rape being used as a means of torture by Russian-led forces.

The surrender of the Ukrainian military in Mariupol to Russian forces in May 2022 was a significant moment in the war.

Ukrainian resistance grew in June as they managed to reclaim a small amount of land off Odesa

Ukrainian resistance grew throughout the month of June 2022, as they managed to reclaim a small amount of land off Odesa, that had previously been captured by Russian troops. Russian naval power was also undermined by the Ukrainian army; this followed their successful sinking of Moskva months before, “the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet”.

This strength was demonstrated again in the summer when a “counteroffensive” was launched in the region of Kherson; Ukrainian forces used Western weaponry systems to attack Russian military infrastructure. In September, the army also succeeded in reclaiming a large amount of the northeastern Kharkiv region. However, this was slightly negated in July, when Lysychansk in Luhansk fell to Russia.

In October 2022, the Ukrainian army succeeded in damaging a bridge linking Crimea with Russia. In response, Russia launched multiple airstrikes against Ukraine, in a bid to damage its energy infrastructure. In November, a victory for Ukraine: Russian forces withdrew from Kherson.

European and U.S. officials have estimated nearly 200,000 Russian casualties so far

Matters seem to have improved slightly last month for the Ukrainians. Whilst the Russians were inching closer to seizing Bakhmut, elsewhere, they “sustained heavy losses”. European and U.S. officials have estimated nearly 200,000 Russian casualties so far. Approximately 100,000 Ukrainians have been “killed or wounded in action”, with around 30,000 deaths of civilians.

Throughout this conflict, the accounts of the war by the Ukrainians have differed massively from those put forward by the Kremlin. For example, in January 2023, Russia claimed that 89 soldiers had been killed after a Ukrainian attack on a building housing Russian troops in Donetsk. The Ukrainians, meanwhile, claim that hundreds were wounded and killed in this event.

The war has massively damaged the Ukrainian economy.

Economically, meanwhile, the war has massively damaged the Ukrainian economy. More broadly outside of Ukraine, the impact has caused massive problems. In the U.K., energy prices have soared, due to the increase in global oil and gas prices. Food prices and food security have also been extremely volatile.

Furthermore, Vladimir Putin claimed that this war was started by the West, in a recent speech given to his supporters. This came shortly after US President Jo Biden visited Ukraine and gave a speech reaffirming his country’s continued support for Ukraine.

Britain has already agreed to send powerful tanks to aid the Ukrainian war effort. However, in his recent visit to the U.K., President Zelensky pleaded with the U.K. government to consider sending fighter jets. “We have freedom. Give us wings to protect it.

The government has been praised for its rapid response in delivering aid to Ukraine, and many British families have welcomed Ukrainians into their homes. However, Ukraine will continue to need western support as the war prolongs.

Hannah Walton-Hughes

Featured image courtesy of Yehor Milohrodskyi via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

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