Almost a year ago today, on February 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, leaving everyone shocked and devastated. Most people across the globe understood that this was an unexpected battle, so we all kept a close watch on the events unfolding. After months with no resolutions, many people stopped paying attention to the war in Ukraine, even though people are still losing their lives every day.
Russian soldiers alone have lost more than 200,000 people in the past eleven months. This death toll is eight times higher compared to America’s war in Afghanistan, which lasted about twenty years.
There are no American troops fighting in Ukraine, but President Biden has allocated about $20 billion in security assistance. We don't know exactly what security measures the money is being funded towards, but many Americans are concerned with how effectively this money is being spent.
Ukraine is facing an estimated 100,000 regular citizens injured, with 30,000 dead. Unfortunately, these statistics are significant guesses. Russia is isolating as much as Ukraine as possible. These injury and death estimates were formed through satellite imagery, interceptions of communication, social media, and on-the-ground reports, as well as official announcements from both countries themselves. Almost everything has been silenced since November, so these statistics are months old and cannot be accurately estimated as of now.
What we do know for sure that is still happening in Ukraine is that Russia has not lightened up at all, and is instead testing different terrorizing methods. Instead of invading with soldier troops, Russia is shooting long-range missile strikes, targeting military assets, urban residential areas, and communication and transportation infrastructure. Russia’s plan was to “freeze out Ukraine” during these winter months, meaning they were destroying infrastructure that supplied heat and power and even water.
Hospitals are also being bombed. These attacks are mainly grouped in the north-east part of Ukraine.
Russia has completely withdrawn troops from Ukraine’s capital region. Not before executing what civilians described as literal war crimes, including torture, rape, countless murders, and forced disappearance- which means Russia has taken prisoners. There are no official guesses to how many people have been taken prisoner, though. Ukraine’s capital and largest city Kyiv was the only city Russia was able to conquer during this war, but now they’ve completely withdrawn from there, too.
The most recent update as of today, February 8th, is that President Zelensky announced that Ukraine and the United Kingdom have agreed on “a powerful defense package”. Zelensky further shared that they “have agreed on a significant number of armored vehicles and the supply of long-range weapons” and “agreed to start training Ukrainian pilots.” This announcement followed Zelensky’s first visit to the United Kingdom since Russia first invaded.
Even with this good news, Ukraine citizens are still seeking refuge in other countries. Neighboring Poland has gained 9,329 Ukrainian refugees. Hungary has accepted 2,151, and Romania has accepted 1,903. These thousands of refugees barely make up the population of over 8 million Ukrainians who have fled the country in the past year. Another 8 million have been displaced from their homes, which could mean they’re missing or their homes have been destroyed. Ukraine had 43.79 million citizens in 2021, so one-quarter of the population has now left their homes since March of last year.
NATO and allies are supporting Ukraine. They’re sending humanitarian and non-lethal aid, along with light and heavy military equipment. Russia is being punished immensely by NATO, and they are raising costs on resources to make it more difficult for Russia to manufacture and finance this war.
One reason Putin believes his war is justified is because Ukraine has “biological weapons”, and the only way to fight these programmes is with nuclear weapons. These claims are supported with no evidence, and NATO has made it clear that any use of biological or nuclear weapons would be in violation of international law and war crime, and would result in severe consequences.
Vladimir Putin’s military options are running slim, and Ukraine is gaining more support, so officials are expecting attacks to slow down and possibly reach a resolution by the end of this year.
NATO is trying to support Ukraine as much as possible while punishing Russia as much as legally possible. Drastic measures are not being ordered in favor of the civilians' well being. Unless an agreement is brought upon Ukraine and Russia, the war is expected to have a very slow decline towards the end.