On the 24th of February 2022, Russia launched the most oversized attack a state has undertaken on a state since the Second World War.
Since that day, according to Reuters Agency, more than 42 thousand people have lost their lives, with at least 56 thousand injured.
The war sparked the most intense displacement crisis in Europe since WWII. According to the United Nations, at least 14 million people have been displaced, five million of them internally.
The brutal war had adverse effects throughout the world. Countries standing with Ukraine blocked Russia’s access to their products and services, aiming to turn Moscow into a “pariah” state.
As an answer to the sanctions imposed to damage Russia’s durability, Moscow halted exporting gas to countries sanctioning it. This move created gas shortages which hiked up energy prices and inflation, particularly in Europe.
Some states in the EU, like Hungary, did not comply with the sanctions, arguing that they could not sustain such an energy shock.
The severity of the energy crisis only soared after the explosions of the Nord Stream pipelines. The initial examinations by Sweden and Denmark show that the explosions were performed deliberately to sabotage the system.
There is no official suspect yet, amid countries blaming each other. Recently, American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh published an article that argues in depth that the US and Norway were the offenders in the sabotage.
Another way the war affected the global community was by cutting grain delivery. Ukraine was one of the top grain exporters before the conflict broke out. Exports halted during wartime until Türkiye stepped in to help bring parties to a mutual agreement on agricultural product exports, mainly grain.
Unfortunately, the war does not look likely to end anytime soon as Putin keeps increasing the mobilization and deployed arms, and Ukraine sustains billions of dollars in military aid. Peace-brokering efforts seemingly yield no results since Russia wants to keep the obtained territory while Kyiv naturally opposes such an end product.
A TIMELINE OF WAR
In February 2022, Russian soldiers stationed alongside the Ukrainian border for quite some time finally crossed the border to enter Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin recognizes the armed conflict as a “special military operation” to ensure the independence of proclaimed breakaway regions, Luhansk and Donetsk, and to prevent NATO’s expansion towards Ukraine. The invasion and the recognition of so-called independent provinces breach international law.
In March 2022, Russian forces captured Kherson and Zhaporizhzhia cities, but their advancement toward Kyiv stopped due to stark resistance. Russian forces also hit a theatre which was a shelter for civilians, violating the Law of War. On this topic, Joshua Askew from Euronews reports that torture, rape, and killing of civilians occurred in Bucha, later named the “Bucha Massacre.”
This month also marks the unearthing of undesirable effects of war on global quality of life.
In April 2022, Russian missiles hit a train station in Kramatorsk, killing civilians again. The month also witnessed a battle for Mariupol, a coastal city in Donetsk that borders the Azov Sea. Ukrainian forces sunk Russia’s flagship of the Black Sea Fleet, named Moskva.
UN reported that two-thirds of Ukrainian children had been displaced by April.
In May 2022, Ukrainian defenders in the Azovstal steel mill finally surrendered to the Russian forces after standing their ground for about three months. This event resulted in the Russians capturing Mariupol, cutting Ukrainian reach to the Azov Sea.
On the 18th, Finland and Sweden formally applied to join NATO amid the Russian threat. Applications need unanimous approval by the member states to go through. The Nordic countries still need Türkiye and Hungary’s votes for accession.
In June 2022, Russian forces left Zmiinyi Island, known as Snake Island, an islet off the Black Sea port of Odesa. Western brands complete their departure from Russia, a move undertaken following the sanctions. June also hallmarked the 100th day of the offensive.
Putin compared the Ukraine invasion to the expansions led by Peter the Great, claiming that the campaign related to Peter’s conquests of “taking back what once belonged to Russia.”
In July 2022, Türkiye brokered a deal between Kyiv and Moscow to end the food delivery crisis, saving the world from a dangerous food shock.
Russian forces continued their advance in the eastern parts of Ukraine, claiming the Luhansk oblast and eyeing Donetsk.
July also sees Moscow lowering the gas supply through the Nord Stream pipelines, creating a panic ambiance, resulting in soaring inflation and consequently causing the euro to lose a massive chunk of its value. The American dollar had become more valuable than the euro at the time.
In August 2022, Amnesty International blamed Ukrainian forces for acting unwary of civilian life for placing its military in residential areas.
UN Chief Antonio Guterres told Russia and Ukraine to stop fighting around the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant, the largest in Europe, citing a possible catastrophe.
TV Commentator Daria Dugina, daughter of “Putin’s Brain,” Aleksandr Dugin, died due to a car bomb going off. Euronews’ Joshua Askew writes that it has been suggested that the assassination attempt was intended for her father.
In September 2022, the Ukrainian counter-offensive in the Kharkiv oblast managed to push Russian forces back. Ukraine reclaims Izyum, a city 120 kilometers southeast of the city of Kharkiv.
Russia declared a partial mobilization of 300 thousand men. In the meantime, Vladimir Putin announced the annexation of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson oblasts. The annexation violated the principle of territorial integrity, one of the basic principles of international law.
In October 2022, Crimean Bridge on the Kerch Strait was sabotaged by a truck full of explosives. The bridge was the central connection between Crimea and the Russian mainland and operated as the main supply route.
Russia begins to strike Ukrainian infrastructure, causing energy blackouts ahead of winter.
In November 2022, Russian forces retreated from Kherson city, one of the annexed. Ukrainian soldiers recaptured the city after a counter-offensive.
A missile fell into a village in Poland, killing two. The world was alert, contemplating whether the war would spill into the Central European country. Audits run concluded that the missile was of Ukrainian origin, letting the global society produce a sigh of relief.
NATO promises to admit Kyiv into the alliance, although Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the US Security Adviser Jake Sullivan stand distant from the accession in the near future.
European Parliament declared Russia a “state sponsor of terrorism” - merely a symbolic act to attract more sanctions on Moscow.
In December 2022, NATO Secretary General said that Russia and the alliance could face an all-out war over Ukraine, sparking fear all over the globe.
Zelenskyy opted for a Christmas ceasefire, which Putin said would be rejected until Kyiv accepted territory losses.
The Ukrainian President visited the United States, marking his first visit abroad since the war began. US President Joe Biden pledged more support to Ukraine during the visit.
Vladimir Putin announced that Russia was ready to negotiate on Christmas Day. The offer saw a refusal by Ukraine in the aftermath of Putin’s claims of “Reuniting the Russian people.”
In January 2023, some countries, including Germany, agreed to send tanks to Ukraine after months of uncertainty. Kviy’s fighter jet requests were outright denied.
After intense fighting for months, Russia captured Soledar, a mining town 10 kilometers northeast of Bakhmut.
In February 2023, Volodymyr Zelenskyy claimed that Russia was preparing to topple the Moldovan government and to “destroy Moldova.” The Moldovan Intelligence Agency confirmed the interception of such practices.
“Russia has probably lost half of its battle tank stock in the war,” Celeste Wallander, the United States Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, told a virtual event for the Center for a New American Security.
Zelenskyy met with French President Emmanuel Macron in the Élysée Palace in Paris, where he was honored with the “grand-croix Légion d’Honneur” presented by Macron.
On a historic visit, US President Joe Biden flew to Kyiv unannounced, where he met with Zelenskyy. He pledged more support to Ukraine, amounting to 500 million USD. The United States has supported Ukraine with more than 40 billion dollars in aid since the war began.
RF President Putin declared Russia to pull out of the New START deal, accusing the West of plotting to supply Ukraine with nuclear arms. The move severed the final remaining nuclear arms limitation deal between Washington and Moscow.
Russian Foreign Ministry stated that the decision to pull out was reversible, though only “if Washington demonstrates the political will and takes honest efforts towards general de-escalation and the creation of conditions for resuming the comprehensive operation of the Treaty and, consequently, its viability.”
Prime Minister of Japan Fumio Kishida promised 5.5 billion dollar aid to Ukraine, founded on anxiety about Kuril Islands dispute with Russia, stating: “We must prevent Ukraine from becoming the new East Asia.”
Mansur Ali Bilgiç - 23/02/2023