Situation Update #12: The Ukraine Crisis

Foreign Policy Brief #145 | By: Ibrahim Sultan | August 27, 2022

Header photo taken from: Financial Times




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Local residents, many of whom fled the war, gather to hand out donated items such as medicines, clothes, and personal belongings to their relatives on the territories occupied by Russia, in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, Aug. 14, 2022.

Photo taken from: AP

Here are the most recent events related to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

This week marked an important date for Ukraine, August 24, 2022, which marks six months since the Russian invasion and the 31st anniversary of the countrys independence from the Soviet Union. The same day also saw a missile strike on an eastern Ukrainian train station that killed 22 people. People across the country paid tribute to fallen soldiers and civilians. 

Ukrainian President Zelensky addressed the nation and declared that Ukraine would achieve victory over the invaders. He also warned that in the wake of independence day Russia might increase its attacks. He later met with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who announced a $66 million aid package for Ukraine. President Biden on the same day reaffirmed the US’ commitment with a new $2.98 billion investment in security assistance for the war-torn country.

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A funeral procession in Lviv, Ukraine, in March ends at grave sites where soldiers Viktor Dudar, 44, and Ivan Koverznev, 24, will be buried, as priests say their blessings and mourners look on.

Photo taken from: Claire Harbage / NPR

Half a Year of War

Six months on and 13 million Ukrainians have been displaced, with nearly 6.7 million spread across Europe and 6.6 million internally displaced. Most people who have fled are women and children as men aged 18-60 have been barred from leaving the country in order to help in the war effort. Russia now controls about 20% of Ukraine’s territory, a threefold increase since its invasion began in February. Commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed forces, General Zaluzhny said this week that Ukraine has lost nearly 9,000 military personnel. 

The UN human rights office has documented 5,600 civilians deaths. Both death tolls are likely to be much higher as fighting continues to prevent accurate counts of the killed and wounded. Russia in March reported that 1,351 of their own soldiers died in the first weeks of the war, but have not released updated numbers since. In a sign of increased struggle in the Russian war effort, President Putin on this week signed a decree to increase the size of Russia’s armed forces from about 1.9 million to 2.04 million. 

Likely to replace the high number of losses Russian troops are believed to have lost, as well as provide respite for Russian troops disillusioned with six months of non-stop war.

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The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station, seized by Russian forces in March, is in southeastern Ukraine and is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and among the 10 largest in the world.

Photo taken from: Andrey Borodulin, AFP, Getty Images

Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

Russian forces captured and are currently in control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe’s biggest nuclear plant. The plant was disconnected from the Ukranian power grid for the first time in its history on August 25, 2022. US State Department officials warned that Russia’s actions at the nuclear power plant have greatly increased risks of possible nuclear radiation release. Additionally, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency said he would soon visit the power plant to check on the situation.

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Daughter of prominent Putin supporter killed in Moscow car bomb attack – Daria Dugina’s nationalist father Alexander Dugin said to have influenced Russian leader’s decision to invade Ukraine

Photo taken from: / Handout / Reuters

Killing of Daria Dugina

On August 21, 2022 a car bombing killed Daria Dugina, a Russian far-right political commentator and daughter of Alexander Dugin. Dugin is a far-right political figure who has and continues to advocate for the invasion of Ukraine. He has previously said that Ukraine doesn’t actually exist as a state, and is actually a creation of the West as a kind of anti-Russian strategy and must be retaken for the Russian empire. 

Dugin’s ideology is extreme but not widespread in Russia, though he does have a cult following among Russian ultranationalists. Though he has become a big name in contemporary far-right thinking globally and has resonated with far-right groups in both the US and Europe. It’s suspected that the bombing targeted Dugin instead of his daughter, who was killed in his place. Russia on Monday blamed Ukraine for the attack, claiming it was planned by “special services”. Ukraine has denied any involvement, but it is likely that the death of Dugina will intensify the war even further.

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