Sinking into another war

Since Feb. 20, 2014, Russia and Úkraine have been fighting for land. An estimation of over 100,000 casualties lies on both sides.

Most believe the war between Ukraine and Russia started in 2022; however, this is not the case. Ukraine and Russia have been battling since early 2014 as a result of Russia’s annexation of Crimea—a peninsula located on the north coast of the Black Sea that joined Ukraine’s republic in 1954. Annexation is when a country “adds” another country onto the existing part of their country, usually done without the support of the country being annexed. 

When Russian President Vladimir Putin came into power, an army of “little green men” began to storm Crimea, seizing buildings. Despite these men looking like the Russian military, Putin claims they were part of a “special-defense group.” In 2014, there was an overwhelming vote in Crimea to make them part of Russia’s nation; however, most of the United Nations viewed the succession as illegitimate, beginning the eight years of growing tension between Russia and Ukraine.

Feb. 24, 2022 –  Putin announced his decision to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered an address to the nation and declared martial law, which allows a military commander to have the power to make and enforce laws—this is typically used in times of dire need. In response to Russia’s decision to declare war on unprepared Ukraine, United States President Joe Biden banned the exports of sensitive U.S. technologies. 

Feb. 26-28, 2022 – Zelensky refused the U.S. proposal to help him evacuate, choosing to stay behind in support of his country. Russia launched an air missile strike on Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv and targeted Ukraine’s supply vehicles. The European Union, which is a political union that includes 27 nations in Europe that work on promoting peace in Europe, banned Russian aircraft from operating in EU airspace. Major oil companies such as Shell and BP pulled out of joint ventures with Russia causing the price of gas worldwide to skyrocket. On Feb. 28, 2022, Ukraine applied to join the EU.

March 1-8, 2022 – The U.S. closed its airspace to Russian aircraft. As Russian forces invaded the city of Kherson, about 400 miles from Kyiv, almost a million Ukraine citizens fled to surrounding countries. Russian forces took hold of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, raising concerns about a Chernobyl-size disaster. The U.S. congress approved a $13.6 billion fund that is going to be split equally between helping Ukraine refugees and helping to aid military fighting on the front lines. 

March 11-23, 2022 – Russia started to broaden its targets westward as it fired 30 missiles at a Ukrainian military base 15.5 miles from the Polish border. Viktor Zolotov becomes the highest Russian official to publicly admit that the war is not going as planned. Russian forces bombed a theater in the city of Mariupol, killing at least 300 refugees housed there. NATO estimates that at this point in the war, Russia has at least 40,000 people either missing or dead. 

March 25-29, 2022 – Russia shifted its focus to the eastern part of Ukraine. At this point, more than 3.7 million people have become refugees of the war. Zelensky tells journalists that he is considering political neutrality, which is when a country declares itself neutral in all other future wars. Russian and Ukrainian political leaders met in Israel to discuss the war for the first time in person. 

April 1-8, 2022 – It was revealed that Russia used proxy groups to recruit fighters out of Syria. U.S. President Joe Biden called for Putin to be put on trial for war crimes. It is confirmed that the Russian military torched and threatened the lives of citizens in the town of Bucha; Russia fired munitions into a rail station packed with Ukraine refugees. The United Nations voted to remove Russia from the Humans Rights Council. Experts started to dig out mass graves in Bucha. 

April 14-28, 2022 – Ukraine sank a Russian military fleet in the black sea. Putin declared victory in Mariupol despite there being over 2,500 Ukrainian marines trapped inside. U.S. Congress asked for approval to speed up a weapons shipment to Ukraine. President Biden also asked congress to approve a $33 billion spending plan to help the Ukraine military.

May 4-16, 2022 – Ukraine gained its first win since the battle at Kyiv as they pushed Russian troops 24.9 miles from the major city of Kharkiv. Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi announced that the Ukrainian military will be transferred to an offensive position in the war. Ukraine started to limit Russian gas transferred through its territory to Europe by cutting a quarter of the flow through two major pipelines. Sweden applies for NATO membership ending its two centuries of neutrality. Ukrainian troops have advanced to the Russian border. 

May 17-31, 2022 – The European Union announced a $219 billion plan to stop using all Russian fuels slowly over the next five years. U.S. Congress approved a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine; about half is intended for military supplies and help. Russian forces started to build secondary lines of defense in the cities of Kherson and Zaporizhia. President Biden decided to send more advanced nuclear systems to aid Ukraine. 

June 2-22, 2022 – The United Kingdom announced they will send multiple long-distance missiles to Ukraine. NATO secretary Jens Stolenburg suggested that Ukraine should surrender and accept defeat; however, Ukraine claimed they have taken back 1,026 settlements from Russian control.  

June 24-30, 2022 – A Russian missile strikes a shopping mall in the city of Kremenchuk, killing about 18 people. After Ukrainian forces launched an attack on Russian forces, they withdrew from Snake Island, an island in the Black Sea.

July 3-31, 2022  – About 40 countries attended an international conference discussing the restoration of Ukraine; the Ukrainian prime minister said $750 billion will be needed to complete the restoration. In the southern region of Kherson, the Ukrainian military said they have destroyed a Russian ammunition warehouse. Russia and Ukraine sign an UN-brokered deal that will allow Ukraine to ship grain through the Black Sea. Russia claims that Ukraine is targeting its men, while on the other hand, Ukraine claims that Russia blew up its penal colony to cover up war crimes.

Aug. 1-24, 2022 – About nine Russian war plans are rumored to have been destroyed in an airbase in Crimea—this is what appears to be Ukraine’s first major attack on the Russian base. The village of Mayskoye is victim to a series of airstrikes, in which a Russian ammunition depot goes up in flames. Russia calls this a “result of sabotage” without placing the blame on anyone in particular. The daughter of a prominent Russian ultranationalist is killed in a car bombing that is suspected to have been an assassination attempt on her father. Ukraine has denied Russia’s claims that they are responsible for the attack.