Russia and Ukraine Update

Almost ten months into the Russo-Ukrainian war, President Vladimir Putin of Russia sent an announcement across the nation. He claimed that the Ukraine war would last for a much longer time than anticipated, a statement that rallied the fears of a war-tired population. This sharply contrasts with the Kremlin’s blitzkrieg strategy that had been enforced at the beginning of the war.

As of now, there is waning support in the Russian population for the war. Recently, the Kremlin’s human rights council had come in after a drone attack by Ukrainian forces. These attacks, coupled with the earlier drafting of hundreds of Russian men, have raised the apathetic population’s attention. Putin’s recent statement, as analyzed by political scientist Abbas Gallyamov, means that Putin is trying his best to delay the second wave of mobilization. The partial mobilization, which had taken place in September, had a tremendous impact on Russian society as thousands aimed to leave the country. Many political figures claim that if Russian armies underperform, the dissatisfaction of the nation will continue to rise. 

The rampant destruction in the cities of Ukraine continues, with the United Nations counting about 6,700 civilian deaths. Ukrainian officials claim that the actual number is much higher, as Russia has hit civilian targets across the country. Most shelling sites are currently under investigation. Most recently, there was shelling in a civilian area in Kurakhove, a region in the east, and this site is also currently under investigation. After a powerful hit on the city on Dec. 7, 2022, and another strike on a marketplace and building on Dec. 8, 2022, several civilians were killed. Many people, after responding to the evacuation request issued by the government, are leaving to go to much safer parts of the country. The older population is remaining in the area, despite the evacuation recommendations. 

Currently, Ukraine is working with the European Union and the US to strengthen the sanctions that were placed on Russia. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized the need to enforce additional sanctions on Russia, as the war does not seem to be ending. He noted that the ninth European Sanction package is in Progress.

John Kirby, a spokesman from the United States National Security Council, claims that the US has expressed concerns to Ukraine about expansion to the war, and respects Ukraine’s independence when deciding how to employ the weapons supplied by the US and other western allies. Meanwhile, Putin claims that the territory of Russia has expanded by the Ukrainian annexation. Though these claims are internationally disputed, he mentions that there are four new Ukrainian provinces as part of Russia. 

Many speak of the threat of nuclear war as the conflict lengthens. However, Putin has played down the use of nuclear weapons as a means of fighting. He claims that the country has not gone mad, as they definitely realize the potential of nuclear weapons. He mentions that they are not about to “run around the world brandishing this new weapon.” 

As the war enters its tenth month, the two countries are entering into an increasingly intense battle, further amplified by the extreme weather conditions.