In April of 2014, Russia declared war on Ukraine as a result of the Ukrainian or “Maidan” Revolution. This was sparked when the Ukrainian government made the decision not to sign an EU association agreement, which would have declared Ukraine as an official member of the European Union, and instead brought Ukraine into closer ties with Russia, denying the promising futures of many young Ukrainian citizens. Now it has been seven months since the beginning of Russia’s full blown invasion into Ukraine began on February 24, 2022. Historians have already divided the invasion into three major phases, the first simply being the very beginning of the invasion. Here are some of the major events that you might have missed over the summer.
Events of June:
The events that transpired during June took place in the “2nd Phase” of the invasion which, for the majority, Ukraine was victorious for in their counter offensives in the eastern regions of the country.
On June 2, the governor of the southern region of Kherson reported the liberation of 20 villages in the region. The U.K. announced that they will begin sending M270 rocket systems with ranges up to fifty miles to Ukraine on June 6, which undoubtedly helped the liberation of an additional 1,026 settlements from Russian controlled territory by June 22, this was a major feat for Ukraine which has been progressing since the beginning of the invasion. Two days later on the 24th, the European Union officially invited Ukraine and their western neighbor Moldova to become candidate countries for official E.U. memberships, achieving the Ukrainian Revolution’s main and original goal.
Events of July:
By July, “Phase 3” had begun with a shift in Russia’s strategy for gaining occupational control and persistent victories for Ukraine.
On July 3, Russia declared that they had taken majority control over the eastern Luhansk region despite relentless fighting with Ukrainian proponents. The next day at an international conference with forty countries, Ukraine claimed that they will be needing $750 billion dollars to rebuild all the infrastructure that has been destroyed by the constant fighting. In an interview on July 20, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia was going to begin focusing on the southern regions of Zaporizhia and Kherson rather than the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk. This is most likely due to the ongoing Ukrainian victories in the east. On July 6, in an attempt to conserve fuel for the war, Russia cut its gas exports to Europe by 80% despite the fact that many European nations are 100% reliant on this trade. Thirteen days later on July 29, an explosion destroyed a Russian prisoner of war facility in Donetsk killing 50 of the Ukrainian prisoners. Russia claims that Ukraine targeted their own captured troops, while Ukraine says that Russia detonated this detention facility to “cover up their war crimes” as there have been various reports of Russian soldiers torturing their captives to death.
Events of August:
Ukraine has begun launching daring attacks on Russian bases that are not only located in occupied territories of Ukraine, but also in the former Ukrainian peninsula region of Crimea which was annexed by Russia in 2014.
Between August 6 and 7, Ukraine successfully reached and destroyed 63 Russian rocket launchers, a T-62 tank, 5 armored vehicles and 2 ammunition warehouses all in the Kherson region, crippling Russia’s ammunition stockpile for that region. Two days later on the 9th, reports indicate that Ukraine has destroyed nine Russian warplanes behind enemy lines in Crimea, the first successful attack in official Russian territory. On August 18, the United Nations secretary general Antonio Gutteres pleaded to Russia and Ukraine to cease the launches of artillery near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Fearing that a shell could potentially hit the power plant and cause another Chernobyl incident, he claimed that if the two nations did not stop then it would be complete “suicide.” On Ukraine’s 31st Independence Day on August 24, which also happens to be the sixth month anniversary of the Russian invasion, celebration in Ukraine was kept to a minimum and public celebrations have been canceled in fear that Russia may attack to coincide with this holiday. However, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy did give a contentious speech claiming that Ukraine had been “reborn” since the beginning of the invasion:
“We don’t care what army you have, we only care about our land. We will fight for it until the end.”
As for what has been happening recently, Ukraine’s recent Kharkiv operation has reclaimed roughly 3,400 square miles of the eastern region of Kharkiv which has come as a surprise to the Russian military seeing as how the majority of their focus has been on claiming land in the south. Despite this major victory, reclaiming the east is currently one of Ukraine’s biggest struggles that they will have to face in the coming months of the war.
Assuming that Ukraine can continue to slowly reclaim territory and push the Russian forces out, the outcome of this war would certainly be leading towards a Ukrainian victory. America has been providing more than 17 billion dollars towards training and military equipment for Ukraine. Despite this financial aid, it is uncertain whether or not Ukraine has the resources to continue in this direction and as a result could lead to Putin driving his invasion into deeper territory until all of Ukraine is captured.
“In terms of what the ultimate goal is for this war, it depends on how far both sides of the war are willing to go,” said AP world history teacher Mr. Oftedal. “How far Putin is willing to go seems that it would largely depend on how much support he can get from China and other autocratic allies”.
Roman Trovato is in 11th grade at San Marcos High School…