An Update on Ukraine


“We live with the thought that they will attack again,” said Ukrainian Major General Andrii Kovalchuk in an interview with Sky News. Almost one year ago, on February 24, 2022, Russian forces invaded and devastated Kyiv. Today, Ukraine awaits another potential Russian attack from the north, speculated to occur on the anniversary of the militant nation’s first attack.

After centuries of prior conflict and tension, the current Russo-Ukrainian War officially began with the Russian invasion of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014, eight years before Russian president Vladarmir Putin called for his self-proclaimed “special military operation” in 2022. 

From February until June, Russian troops captured many prominent Ukrainian cities including port cities on the Black Sea and those close to the Russian border. Five months into the conflict, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak estimated that between 100 and 200 Ukrainian soldiers were dying daily. July saw the country’s forces lose control of their last city in the Luhansk province in Eastern Ukraine. 

However, Ukrainian forces retook Snake Island in June and secured nearby cities like Odesa. September then marked a quick Ukrainian offensive, where troops fought to reclaim cities in the country’s northeastern region. Now, Russia occupies only some parts of southeastern Ukraine. So far, the war has displaced nearly 8 million Ukrainians. Many citizens who still live in the country remain without power, heat, and water. The war’s total casualties have amassed to tens of thousands of deaths at a minimum. 

So far, the war has displaced nearly 8 million Ukrainians. Many citizens who still live in the country remain without power, heat, and water.

In December, Putin finally ordered a ceasefire for Orthodox Christian holidays, but it was barely implemented as fighting continued.Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba suspected that Putin’s proclamation simply served as an “excuse to regroup” his army.

As the current conflict approaches its 12-month anniversary, Russia refuses to retreat; negotiations laid out in Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky’s 10-point “peace formula” were also rejected by Russia before the new year. 

On January 11, Putin announced that the top commander in charge of the war, Sergey Surovikin, would be demoted to one of three major deputies after being chosen to serve as the head in only October. It is uncertain why this change has been made, but it suggests that Putin believes new General Valery Gerasimov can improve the organization of the country’s military and, consequently, its progress in the war

Whatever Russia’s next steps, Ukrainian officials are preparing for a looming, new Russian offensive. Ukraine’s Head of Armed Forces, General Valery Zaluzhny, warned of the critical months to come. That time will decide a new, unnervingly unpredictable direction of the war. Zaluzhny told The Economist, “I have no doubt [Russia] will have another go at Kyiv.”