Russia-Ukraine War

Abbygail Burns, Staff Writer

The War Continues on and Ukraine Remains in Our Thoughts

The Russo-Ukrainian War had been going on since February 2014, but recently had escalated after the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Since the invasion, many things have happened in the past few months.

Although Ukraine is a smaller country than Russia with a smaller military, they still successfully made a counteroffensive attack against Russia. The counteroffensive occurred on two fronts simultaneously; the East front in the Kharkiv region, and the South front, in the Kherson region. It started with the largely publicized disinformation about Ukraine making a strong southern counter-offensive. With this in mind, Russia moved much of their equipment and resources to the south to prepare for such an event, creating the perfect opportunity for an offensive on the eastern front. According to Ukrainian special forces spokesperson and former national security advisor Tara Berezovets, “[Russia] thought it would be in the South and moved their equipment…the offensive happened where they least expected, and this caused them to panic and flee.”

On September 6th, Ukrainian forces launched their counteroffensive. They recaptured an estimated 2,500 square miles by September 9th. Much of the success is attributed to support from western forces, specifically, HIMARS. Also known as High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, HIMARS are able to hold six guided missiles or one tactical missile, and can be reloaded by a couple of people within a matter of minutes. The U.S. has provided copious amounts of security assistance, adding up to at least $14.5 billion dollars, including 16 HIMARS, according to the DOD.
On September 21st, Putin announced a new campaign, calling for partial mobilization, only for people who had previous military experience, totaling up to 300,000 soldiers. He also threatened to use nuclear warfare on the western powers for supporting and supplying Ukraine with weapons.

Recently, Russian-appointed military officials in Ukraine conducted referendums (direct votes on a proposal, law, or political issue, as opposed to representative). The referendums took place in four Russian areas of Ukraine, the Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia Oblast. They were highly controversial and condemned by the United Nations and Ukraine, as well as other countries, due to the manner in which they were conducted. During this process, armed soldiers went door-to-door, coercing voters into voting, essentially asking whether the voter wanted their region to leave Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. The ballots themselves were filled out by the soldiers after the voters verbally conveyed their decision, and they didn’t even need identification to vote. The referendums were conducted to justify the annexation of all four regions, but are highly controversial and condemned by the United Nations and Ukraine, as well as other countries.