Our latest update on Ukraine and Russia

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Reuters

https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/in-pictures-russia-invades-ukraine-idUSRTS5R83C

Since NATO members discussed the ongoing fear of the Russian invasion into Ukraine last week at the Munich Security Council meeting, the worst of their fears have come to fruition. Two days ago, Putin declared that the separatist region of Ukraine has been recognized by the Russian state as being a free and sovereign state. These separatist regions have been exchanging fatal shelling and small arms fire with the Ukrainian military from the West. The Ukrainian military which has been containing them ever since the annexation of Crimea in 2014 by Putin’s Russia has long feared this escalation. As you may have heard, the U.S.’s intelligence agencies have long suspected that Russia was planning to engage in an attack that would give them an excuse or pretext to start an invasion of Ukraine.

Some of these so-called pretexts for further aggression occurred not so long ago, about a couple of days ago Russian state media reported that a truck full of explosives targeted civilians in a Russian city near the border with Ukraine. Foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted, “We categorically refute Russian disinformation reports on Ukraine’s alleged offensive operations or acts of sabotage in chemical production facilities.” To add on top of all this tension, the separatist leader Denis Pushilin declared and put into action an immediate mass evacuation of the vulnerable population. All women, children, and elderly civilians of the Donbas region were transported to a nearby Russian city by crossing the evacuees over from the separatist-held area in the East of Ukraine into Russia, where they will allegedly be given Russian passports and identification. The reason given for the immediate evacuation was an accusation hurled towards a Ukrainian invasion of the Donbas to invade the separatist-controlled Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba commented on this fear-mongering by the Russian separatist leader saying that “Ukraine does not conduct or plan any such actions in the Donbas. We are fully committed to diplomatic conflict resolution only.”

A meeting planned by the U.S. and Russia was supposed to be held this Thursday, February 24th between the Russian diplomat Sergey Lavrov and U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken, but now unfortunately it looks like that meeting has a slim chance if at all occurring. Just a day ago president Biden announced that economic sanctions and Russian bank accounts and assets have been frozen in the U.S. and European nations. Russia now owes a huge amount of debt to the U.S. and countries where its financial assets have been frozen.

Rich Russian oligarchs still don’t know what’s in store for them until president Biden unleashes a wave of unseen before wealth, property, and financial asset seizures later today. It’s well known that many of these Russian oligarchs own luxurious and very expensive properties in European NATO countries. Once they realize what effect this will have on their wealth they will surely regret Putin’s decision of war. Many expert analysts in the field of foreign policy say that Putin has calculated the negative effects this might have on Russia’s economy but it doesn’t phase him at all. In fact, Putin believes the long-term blow to Russia’s economy is worth redrawing the European borders.

President Biden also reiterated a bold statement saying “Make no mistake, If Russia pursues its plans, it will be responsible for a catastrophic and needless war of choice. The United States and our Allies are prepared to defend every inch of NATO territory from any threat to our collective security as well.” The U.S. and its allies expect a bombardment of key sites and cities. The U.S. and its allies also warned that Russia will be ruthless in its attack and will not differentiate soldiers from civilians. As of February 24, 2022, Putin has declared an all out invasion of Ukraine by land, air, and sea. Ukrainian officials said an initial wave of strikes targeted military infrastructure, operational airfields, government sites and buildings across the country.
Ukraine’s border defense said it’s soldiers came under attack all along the country’s borders with Russia from the East, Belarus from the north, and Crimea from the South. Heavy mortar shelling targeted the city of Mariupol on the Azov sea. Emergency sirens blaring in Kyiv gave a glimpse of what it was like during the bombardments of WW2. The city’s airport came under attack and the Ukrainian military alleged it shot down five Russian warplanes and one helicopter. Russia replied and denied any of its aircraft were hit. Many Russian adversaries have reached out to Putin through press coverage reiterating that it’s not too late for Russia to turn back from a “needless war of choice”. Russia has gained the attention it wanted from the world and the next few days will determine its standing in the world. Now one question is at the top of every leader’s mind, will Russia be the next so-called dominant world-wide superpower?

Renton, Adam, et al. “February 23, 2022 Ukraine-Russia News.” CNN, Cable News Network, 24 Feb. 2022, https://www.cnn.com/europe/live-news/ukraine-russia-news-02-23-22/index.html.

“Ukraine Conflict: Russian Forces Attack from Three Sides.” BBC News, BBC, 24 Feb. 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-60503037.