Russia-Ukraine Conflict Continues a Year Later

Russia-Ukraine Conflict Continues a Year Later

Katie Lemon, Reporter

So What Has Happened So Far?

Russia has been continuing President Vladimir Putin’s mission to “demilitarize” Ukraine for over a year, as of February 24. 

At least 30,000 civilians have been killed, according to the Ukrainian Government. 

The invasion of Ukraine is actually part of something larger, however. 

“It’s the latest Russian offensive in the Russo-Ukrainian War, which has been going on since 2014,” reported CNN. 

In early 2014, Russian forces moved into Ukraine’s Crimea (a peninsula extending into the Black Sea), taking over government buildings, and they’ve occupied the region ever since. 

Later that year, “Russia seized Donbas and Luhansk [two Eastern regions of Ukraine] and they have also been under Russian control ever since,” the same CNN report said.

From 2014-2015, the Russian government targeted Ukraine through cyber attacks and naval attacks, avoiding a full-blown invasion.

“In 2015, Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement to end the conflict, and it dissolved into tension and fear between the two nations,” said BBC. 

However, in 2021, things escalated again as Russia began to send military equipment to its border with Ukraine, although they denied plans to invade Ukraine. 

However, “these plans were revealed in February of 2022, which began the conflict that most Americans are aware of,” said an article from the New York Times. 

Putin started off aggressively, quickly moving his forces to take Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, in an attempt to overthrow the government. 

They abandoned this attempt in April, however, after being “unable to take the city due to strong Ukrainian resistance,” said The New York Times. 

After months of bloody fighting, civilian deaths, and more cities falling to Russia, Ukraine began a major offensive in September, allowing the nation to reclaim much of Kharkiv (the second largest city in Ukraine, which had previously fallen to Russia.) 

In October, Ukraine recaptured Lyman, another city in Eastern Ukraine. 

Next month, in November, “Russia was forced out of Kherson [a major port city], marking another significant victory for Ukraine,” said BBC. 

As of February, 2023, Russia has begun a new offensive in Eastern Ukraine, attempting to take Bakhmut, and edging closer to succeeding in doing so. 

That’s where the war stands now – “Ukraine has recaptured quite a bit of Eastern land, and are currently fending off Russian attacks” on Bakhmut, continues BBC. 

And What is Likely to Happen Next?

Russia’s invasion is considered a major defeat, and it has worsened both the nation’s situation at home and reputation abroad. 

Russia has begun its Spring Offensive and is currently in the process of carrying it out, although analysts at Newsweek say it’s unlikely that the Russian army has the supplies and training to succeed. 

Therefore, Ukraine’s next step is to continue fending off attacks while also inflicting as much damage on Russia as possible until they can build their own offensive. 

Once Ukraine can mount an offensive, “they’ll likely focus on cutting off Russia’s access to the Crimean Peninsula, or to regain the parts of Donbas that they’ve lost,” say experts at Newsweek. 

This leaves little room for peace talks, unfortunately. 

Russia has previously stated that they will refuse to consider peace negotiations unless Ukraine refuses to join NATO, and that won’t happen – Ukraine applied to join NATO in September of 2022, according to Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The invasion of Ukraine has been going on for over a year now, and it’s unlikely to end anytime soon. 

Both Russia and Ukraine have huge goals, which will be costly and tedious to carry out.