The Ramifications of War
Below is a list of events that led up to and followed Russia’s initial invasion of Ukraine. As the situation evolves, we will continue to monitor these events.
On the Ground:
Recognition sets the Stage for Invasion: On Monday, Putin recognized the separatist regions of Luhansk and Donetsk as independent republics and which preceded an announcement that Russian troops would be sent to Ukraine for a peacekeeping mission. In the same speech, he contended that Ukraine is not a real nation and that the government in Kyiv is illegitimate.
Bloodshed: The Ukrainian Ministry of Health reported that Russian troops have killed 57 and wounded 169 Ukrainians. Russian forces have targeted artillery strikes at military facilities and airfields in several cities across the country.
- Eastern Stronghold: Ukrainian forces have stood their ground against Russian attacks near the Donbas. Ukrainian artillery stopped a column of armed vehicles, cluster-fired rockets, and other Russian personnel near Sentianivka, which is just to the northwest of Luhansk.
A New Iron Curtain: Zelensky emphasized that Russia’s invasion is creating a new cold war scenario. He believes a new Iron Curtain is encircling Eastern Europe, which is “closing Russia off from the civilized world.”
- Putin’s Promise: Putin said that he did not plan to occupy Ukraine long-term, but he has been cryptic about his ultimate goals. He did make another veiled threat about the possibility of nuclear war by discussing Russia’s nuclear capabilities and stating that “Whoever tries to hinder us… should know that Russia’s response will be immediate. And it will lead you to such consequences that you have never encountered in your history.”
Targeted Goals: Russia’s Defense Ministry announced that it had achieved its goals in Ukraine, including the destruction of 83 land targets. However, battles are still ongoing and the full scope of the invasion will not be clear for several days.
Around the Globe:
Biden Delivers Speech Thursday: In brief remarks Thursday afternoon, President Biden announced new sanctions on Russian institutions. Interestingly, the sanctions did not include ones levied directly against President Putin. Some have been calling on Biden to expel Russia from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT. This would prevent Russia from being able to conduct international financial transactions. Many have pointed out that this is not a decision the US can make unilaterally.
- Germany Halts Nord Stream 2: Germany added their own sanctions to the long list of economic punishment levied against Russia. Following the Russian recognition of the separatist regions in eastern Ukraine, Germany terminated its approval of the controversial new pipeline. The natural gas supply line is a pariah in the international community because critics view it as a tool to further increase European reliance on Russian energy.
- Stock Markets Tank, then Recover: Before Biden’s speech on Thursday, US Stock Markets were down more than 2%. Biden’s reluctance to implement the harshest sanctions led to a recovery later in the day. In Russia, the stock market lost nearly 40% of its value.
Poland Prepares for Massive Refugee Waves: Poland, with the help of US forces, has begun to establish processing centers for the expected large wave of refugees leaving Ukraine. Processing centers will dispense food, relevant information, and medical care.
Russian Anti-War Protestors Detained: Russian officials arrested over 650 anti-war demonstrators. Hundreds of individuals organized protests in St. Petersburg and Moscow to denounce their government’s incursion into Ukraine. Top Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny condemned the invasion as he awaited his own fate in a Russian trial.