The Russian war in Ukraine is 1 month, with no end

Russia’s war in Ukraine has killed thousands, turned entire cities into rubble and forced millions to flee their homes. The largest military conflict in Europe since World War II has also upset the international security system and sent dangerous waves through the global economy.

A look at the key moments of the struggle a month later:

road to war

In early 2021, a build-up of Russian troops near Ukraine raised fears of an offensive. Moscow withdrew some forces in April, paving the way for a June summit between President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, their meeting failed to defuse Russia-US tensions meaningfully.

A new build-up of Russian troops along the Ukrainian borders began in late October and grew to an estimated 150,000 troops by the end of the year. From the beginning of the army’s increase, Moscow denied any plans to attack Ukraine, citing such Western concerns as part of a campaign to discredit Russia. At the same time, it urged the US and its allies to stop Ukraine from joining NATO and withdraw coalition forces from Eastern Europe, something the West dismissed as non-starters.

Then on February 21, Putin moved abruptly, recognizing the independence of pro-Russian rebel areas in eastern Ukraine. The rebels have been fighting Ukrainian forces there since 2014, when Ukraine’s Moscow-friendly president was ousted in the face of mass protests and Russia responded by annexing the Crimean peninsula.

start attack

In a televised address on 24 February, Putin announced the launch of a “special military operation” aimed at demilitarizing Ukraine and overthrowing alleged “neo-Nazi nationalists”. As he said, the Russian military launched a series of air strikes and missile strikes on Ukraine’s military facilities and key infrastructure. Russian troops entered Ukraine from Crimea in the south, along the eastern border, and from Moscow’s ally Belarus, which borders Ukraine from the north.

Putin argued that Russia had no choice but to act because Washington and its allies had ignored its demand for security guarantees. Western leaders dismissed the claims as false excuses for the attack.

Russian forces advanced on the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, which lies just 75 kilometers (47 mi) south of the border with Belarus, closing in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city in the east and the Azov Sea and the Black Sea. pushed along the shores. in the south.

While Russia claimed it was only targeting military facilities, airstrikes and artillery attacks affected residential areas, schools and hospitals across Ukraine.

The attack became particularly deadly in March:

On March 1, a Russian rocket struck the regional administration building in Kharkiv, killing 24 people.

– On 9 March, a Russian airstrike destroyed a maternity hospital in the besieged port of Mariupol, killing at least three and injuring 17.

– On 16 March, a Russian bomb destroyed a historic theater in Mariupol, after Ukrainians wrote the word ‘children’ in large white letters on the sidewalk next to it, to indicate that civilians were taking shelter inside Were. Officials said hundreds of people hiding in the basement survived.

At least eight people were killed in a Russian airstrike on a shopping mall in Kyiv on Monday.

Russia’s top objective in the south is Mariupol, a strategic port on the Azov Sea that has been under siege for weeks. Relentless bombings by the Russians turned entire neighborhoods into rubble and killed thousands, turning the city into a symbol of civilian suffering.

UN officials estimate that thousands have fled the city as part of a wave of refugees fleeing the country, numbering more than 3.5 million.

Russia rattled by western sanctions

The Western Allies quickly responded to the invasion with unprecedented economic and financial sanctions.

Multiple waves of crippling penalties froze half of Russia’s $640 billion hard-currency reserve, forced major Russian banks out of the SWIFT financial messaging system, prevented Moscow from receiving cash in dollars and euros, and Targeted broad sectors of the Russian economy with rigorous trade. Sanctions. Major international companies moved quickly to leave the Russian market.

The dire measures – previously only of magnitude imposed against countries such as Iran and North Korea – sent the ruble into a tizzy, provoking a run on deposits and triggering consumer panic.

Russian authorities responded by imposing tough restrictions on hard-currency transactions and stock markets.

Ukraine calls for more weapons, no-fly zone

Appreciating Western sanctions and arms supplies, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has challenged the US and other Western allies to take even stronger measures to deter Russia.

He has consistently urged the US and NATO to declare a no-fly zone over Ukraine, a demand rejected by allies for fear it could lead to a direct confrontation with Russia and even a global There can also be conflict.

Zelensky also urged Western allies to provide Ukraine with warplanes and long-range air defense systems. Russia has strongly warned the West against such a move, and discussions on a possible delivery of Soviet-era fighter jets and air defense weapons from Eastern Europe to Ukraine have stalled as the West attempts to avoid a dangerous escalation.

Ukraine has also asked the US and the EU to increase sanctions to curb Russian oil and gas exports, a move opposed by many EU members that depend on Russia for a large part of their energy needs. Is.

Russian Offensive Bogs Down

From the first days, the invasion did not go the way Putin had expected. After rapidly advancing to the outskirts of Kyiv in the first days of the invasion, Russian troops were soon trapped in the suburbs.

Instead of surrendering as the Kremlin had expected, Ukrainian troops fought fiercely in every area, thwarting Russian attempts to quickly roll over other major cities, including Kharkiv and Chernihiv. Russia also failed to gain full control of the skies over Ukraine, despite large-scale attacks targeting the country’s air force and air defense assets.

Russian military convoys stretched for dozens of kilometers (miles) along a highway leading from Belarus, becoming an easy target for Ukrainian raids and ambushes. In the east, Russian troops have confronted Ukraine’s strong positions in rebel zones and made only incremental gains.

And despite their hold on Mariupol, and a quick capture of the ports of Berdyansk and Kherson, the Russians have failed to capture the major shipbuilding center of Mykolaiv and suppress the offensive further west towards Odessa.

Western officials say that throughout the war, Russian troops have been constantly hampered by a lack of supplies, struggling to get food and fuel, and lack of proper gear in cold weather.

In early March, the Russian military reported a loss of 498 soldiers, never again updating the toll. In contrast, NATO estimated on Wednesday that between 7,000 and 15,000 Russian soldiers were killed in four weeks of fighting. By comparison, the Soviet Union lost about 15,000 soldiers over a 10-year period during the war in Afghanistan.

nuclear threats; threat of chemical weapons

On the very first day of the attack, the Russian military took control of the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear power plant, where radioactivity from the worst nuclear disaster in history 36 years ago is still leaking.

Several days later, they seized Europe’s largest Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, attacked a training center there and caused a brief fire that raised fears of devastation until it was put out.

And on Wednesday, Russian military forces destroyed a new laboratory in Chernobyl, according to the Ukrainian state agency responsible for the Chernobyl exclusion zone.

The international community has raised concerns about the safety of both the plants.

Apart from this, more threats have been received.

On 21 March, an ammonia leak at a chemical plant in the eastern Ukrainian city of Sumy contaminated an area with a radius of more than 2.5 kilometers (1.5 mi), but no civilians were hurt in the city of 263,000 as the wind ‘swept’ that. jerk in the direction.

The Russian military has repeatedly alleged that Ukrainian “nationalists” are planning to blow up a nuclear or chemical facility and then blame it on the Russians – a warning that Western officials fear such attacks from Russia. could be the beginning.

Many in the West also fear that with Russian aggression halted, Putin may order the use of strategic nuclear weapons or chemical weapons to intimidate Ukraine and bring it to its knees.

what will happen next

Even as his aggressive stalls and the Russian economy shakes under the brunt of Western sanctions, Putin shows no signs of backing down.

Despite the fall in the ruble and rising consumer prices, Russian polls show strong support for Putin. Observers attribute those results to the Kremlin’s massive propaganda campaign and crackdown on dissent.

Putin demands that Ukraine adopt a neutral position, abandon its bid to join NATO, agree to demilitarization, recognize Russia’s sovereignty over Crimea and the independence of the rebel republics in the Donbass region.

Zelensky said earlier this week that Ukraine was ready to discuss a neutral position as well as security guarantees that would prevent any further aggression. But he says the situation in Crimea and separatist areas can be discussed only after a ceasefire and withdrawal of Russian troops.

Putin can now hope to gain more ground and negotiate concessions to Zelensky, a stronger-armer from a position of force. Russian and Ukrainian negotiators say they are still far from drafting a possible deal that Putin and Zelensky could discuss.

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