The latest in Russia’s Invasion

Russian President Vladimir Putin bombs Kyiv, Ukraine on February 25th. Photo by Giovanni Cancemi on

On Feb. 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed his nation, announcing a “special military operation” against Ukraine.

“We have [tried] to resolve the matter peacefully,” he said. 

“The problem [occurred] not by our fault, and in this regard, we were forced to launch this special military operation. The Russian troops near Kyiv, near other Russian cities, have nothing to do with our intention to occupy the country. That’s not our objective.”

It’s been nearly a month since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, and much has happened.

Peace talks continue as Ukraine and Russia attempt to progress on a 15-point plan. 

Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, now says there is ‘hope for reaching a compromise.’ He says, “absolutely specific wordings are close to being agreed on neutrality for Ukraine and guarantees for Russia.”

Many have said there is no way of knowing if the Russians are negotiating in good faith.

Friday, Putin made a rare public appearance at Moscow’s largest stadium to address a crowd of tens of thousands of Russians who support the invasion of Ukraine. 

He has taken several measures to ensure his narrative of the war is the only one Russian citizens hear. 

Russia has now blocked Facebook, limited Twitter and made it a crime to refer to the fighting in Ukraine as a war, making it nearly impossible for Russian citizens to have access to independent news.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky continues to attempt to gain support against the invasion of his country, explaining that there will also be long-term effects on Russia if this war continues.

“I want everyone to hear me now, especially in Moscow,” said Zelensky on Saturday. ‘It’s time to meet, time to talk. It is time to restore territorial integrity and justice for Ukraine. Otherwise, Russia’s losses will be so huge that several generations will not be enough to rebound.”

Michael Kofman, an expert on the Russian military, said Russians appear to now be fighting with three objectives; to encircle spread-out Ukrainian fighters in the east, surround Kyiv and break through the major port city of Odessa in the west.

On the ground

On Mar. 5, the Russian military reported using its latest hypersonic missiles for the first time in combat. Russians designed The Kinzhal (Dagger) hypersonic missile to launch from MiG fighter jets.

As of Mar. 7, Kherson, a city in southern Ukraine, is currently under Russian control.

Ukrainian police said Saturday dozens of civilians were killed and injured because of attacks in the eastern Donetsk region.

This last week Russia has mainly targeted Ukraine’s residential areas. Russia could not take control of Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine, so they destroyed it with artillery, rockets, cluster munitions and guided missiles.

A Russian rocket attacked military barracks in Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine on Friday, killing more than 40 soldiers.

Russia has also shelled many major cities and areas, housing civilians. As a result, US, UK, France, Albania, Ireland and Norway have accused Russia of war crimes. 

Paris claimed Putin is only pretending to be interested in a peace deal.

On Mar. 16, the Russian military bombed a theatre in Mariupol where hundreds of people, including many children, had taken shelter. 

They have also attacked preschools, a boarding school for visually impaired children and a maternity hospital in Mariupol.

Millions of Ukrainians, around 20% of the population, have been internally displaced or have fled the country. 

Those who remain struggle as cities run low on food, lack clean water, have no access to medical care and have no heat or electricity in many places. They are also at a heightened security risk with threats to infrastructure, such as the destruction of bridges and roads.

On Friday, The United Nations sent humanitarian aid convoys to Sumy, a hard-hit city in eastern Ukraine.

“More than 9,000 people were evacuated from the besieged Mariupol,” said Zelensky in an overnight address to the nation Thursday night. “In total, more than 180,000 Ukrainians have been rescued by the humanitarian corridors.”

The Polish city of Rzeszow has become a humanitarian hub for the region. Poland has so far taken in more than 2 million Ukrainian refugees.

International reaction

Pope Francis spoke out, calling the attack on Ukraine a “perverse abuse of power” in a message to a gathering of European Catholic representatives on Friday, without outright calling out Putin. 

A Russian Orthodox church in Amsterdam announced it would be cutting ties with the Moscow patriarchate.

Halliburton and Schlumberger announced Friday they had suspended operations in Russia.

As of Thursday, President Rodrigo Duetre of the Philippines plans to remain neutral in the war. Putin is ‘a personal friend’ and ‘this is not our fight.’

Japan and South Korea have imposed various sanctions on Russia over the last couple of weeks.

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck will discuss liquified natural gas (LNG) to make Germany less dependent on Russia for gas. Russia is currently the largest supplier of gas to Germany.

“This man is unpredictable,” said Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Laima Andrikiene to the Helsinki Commission. 

“Putin is targeting not only Ukraine, but he’s also targeting our security architecture in Europe… if we fail in Ukraine, it will be only a matter of time until Putin continues his aggression against us.”

A British general warned that Russian forces are resorting to “indiscriminate use of power.”

“His instinct will [always be] to double down because he’s got himself into a dreadful mess, a huge strategic blunder,” said Michael Clarke, former head of the British-based Royal United Services Institute, a defense think tank, on Saturday. 

“I don’t think it’s in his character to try to retrieve that, except by carrying on, going forward.”

In China, there appears to be overwhelming support for Putin. Although, China’s strict censorship and policing of public opinion would make it hard to understand how strong of opposition, if any, there is for China’s citizens.

Hu Wei, a politically well-connected scholar in Shanghai, said Friday that inside China, the war in Ukraine “has ignited enormous disagreements, setting supporters and opponents at polar extremes.”

As the situation develops, we will bring you the latest.