War in Ukraine


Ukraine, Eastern Europe

In 2004, mass protests took place in Ukraine to overthrow pro-Russia president Viktor Yanukovych. Described as the ‘Orange Revolution’, the protests successfully enabled the pro-Western candidate Volodymyr Zelenskyy to gain power. In response, Russia limited gas supplies to Ukraine and, in addition to the global financial crisis, depleted the value of the Ukrainian currency. Shortly after, in 2010, Viktor Yanukovych won a decisive election to become president again. For the upcoming years, these events intensified the long-term divide in Ukraine between pro-Russian and pro-Western movements. In 2014, this escalated when president Viktor Yanukovych declined an agreement that would have effectively brought the country closer to the European Union (EU). Mass protests, which later morphed into a revolution, took place against this decision and subsequently resulted in Viktor Yanukovych resigning. During these protests, almost 80 protesters were killed by police and security forces. Like the 2004 protests, Russia responded again, though this time more intensely by completely annexing the Ukrainian region of Crimea via an unrecognised referendum. This intensified the already present pro-Western and pro-Russia division in the country and witnessed outside intervention in the form of sanctions by the United States and the EU. Russia’s annexation of Crimea ultimately encouraged other Russophone regions in Ukraine to demand independence, namely in Donetsk and Luhansk; together referred to as the Donbass. Ever since the initiation of such pro-Russian protests, the Ukrainian government has been at conflict/war against the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics; both supported militarily by Russia. With various failed ceasefires brokered by EU members states, the conflict is still ongoing, with Russian influence both politically and militarily increasing. Currently, a Donbass autonomy deal has been signed which has halted violence temporarily as both sides have withdrawn troops from the Donbass region. Large amounts of Ukrainians have protested this deal, however, claiming it represents a betrayal of the Ukrainian people. NATO announced that it would formally recognize Ukraine as an Enhanced Opportunities Partner, joining such countries as Sweden and Finland. Though this does not ensure Ukraine’s eventual NATO ascension, it does mean that NATO and Ukraine’s military may cooperate more in the future and share information more freely. 

After months of build-up, the Kremlin formally recognized the breakaway regions of Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics. This was followed by Russian Troops marching, on Vladimir Putin’s orders, into these regions on what the Russian Government described as “peacekeeping operations”. President Vladimir Putin then announced that Russian forces would be conducting a “special military operation” to “demilitarize,” and “denazify” Ukraine on. This announcement was quickly followed by a ground invasion across the Ukrainian border. Russia’s war has sparked widespread condemnation and resulted in a myriad of heavy sanctions against Russia’s economy. Ukrainian forces have put also up a stiff resistance, forcing Russian ground forces into an attritional-style conflict. With both sides locked-in, a swift end to the conflict is unlikely.

As the military situation slowly favors Ukraine, Russia’s sustained bombardment of Ukrainian infrastructure, including water, power, and heating centers, and civilian homes, batter Ukraine’s economy and the quality of life of millions of Ukrainians. Unemployment reached 35% (National Bank of Ukraine), the poverty rate rose from 2.5% in 2020 to 25% in 2022 (World Bank via Reuters), including half a million children (UNICEF).

 

"If this crisis is not quickly stopped, it will have not only devastating humanitarian consequences but it also has the potential to destabilize the whole region. After the lessons of the Balkans, it is hard to believe a conflict of these proportions could unfold in the European continent"

Key Facts

+40,000

People killed

13.5 Million

People displaced

3.5 Million

In need of assistance

Where: Russophone regions in Ukraine, particularly the east, including the Donbass area containing the cities of Luhansk and Donetsk, and the Crimean Peninsula.

Militaries: Over 200,000 (Ukraine), 45,000 (Separatist groups support by Russia), according to Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence.

Deaths: The military casualties of both the Ukrainian and Russian armies have eclipsed those of any modern conflict in recent memory, and though neither side has released casualty numbers, third party analysts estimate no less than 15,000 Russian military deaths and a death toll in the tens of thousands for Ukraine as President Zelensky describes perhaps 100 deaths a day in Donbas.

The Key Actors

The Situation

Classification: Open War

Analyst’s suggestions:

  • The OWP advocates for the implementation of the Minsk Protocol, which would effectively grant the Donbas region more power, thus rendering it a semi-autonomous
    region.

Weekly report:

  • Coming soon
  •  

Worsening

Russia has now resorted to targeting civilian infrastructure across Ukraine, including Ukrainian homes, as well as power and electric facilities needed to keep Ukrainians warm and safe during the winter.

Timeline of Events

After declaring independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine’s early years are concentrated with the balancing of interests between the West and Russia. Ukraine’s bid to join NATO in 2002 largely indicated the country’s pro-Western aspirations, thereby angering Russia and pro-Russian members of the Ukrainian population. These events fuelled the pro-West and pro-Russian political crisis that is present today.

Tensions between pro-Western and pro-Russian movements mount as the ‘Orange Revolution’ takes place. The revolution successfully forces pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych to step down after pro-Western candidate Viktor Yushchenko wins election in 2005. The revolution and subsequent ousting of Viktor Yanukovych angers Russia and tensions worsen consequently.

The Ukrainian revolution results in the ousting of the Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, who is supported by the Russian government. The revolution is motivated by the Ukrainian government’s decision to suspend the signing of a European Union ascension agreement. Protests in the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine break out in response to the government that was installed after the revolution. In particular, protests break out on the Crimean peninsula and within the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces in support of Russia.

Viktor Yanukovych is elected as president again and is described by critics as a puppet of Russia.

Newly appointed pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych announces the country’s decision to withdraw an application to join NATO. Yanukovych argued that this decision was declared in order to repair relations with Russia.

Viktor Yanukovych shocks many as he declares that the Ukrainian government is withdrawing from a trade deal with the EU. The Ukrainian government states that the decision had been made to protect the country’s ‘national security’, consequently seeking closer ties with Moscow. Sparking outrage, many echoed Swedish Minister Carl Bildt’s remarks that the Kremlin had used “politics of brutal pressure” to influence Ukraine’s decision.

Angered by Ukraine’s sudden decision to abandon its deal with the EU, over 300,000 people protest in Kiev, marking the beginning of the Maidan/Euromaidan revolution. The Ukrainian government invokes anti-protest powers, resulting in the deaths of over 100 people and 2,500 injured. Viktor Yanukovych flees to Russia.

Between the 22nd and 23rd February, Russian President Vladimir Putin holds an all-night security meeting in which it is decided that the Crimean Peninsula should be returned to Russian control by force.

Shortly after, between the 25th and 26th February, several hundred pro-Russia protesters block the Crimean parliament to demand a referendum on Crimean independence. Thousands of Ukrainian Tatars who support the Ukrainian government launch a counter-protest to the pro-Russia protesters that continue to demand a referendum.

Nearing the end of the month on the 27th February, masked Russian troops without insignia seize control of the Crimean government. They take control of the Crimean Supreme Council, important strategic sites, raise Russian flags over government buildings, and install a pro-Russian government in Crimea through the parliament, which votes to install a new pro-Russian Prime Minister of Crimea. By the end of the day, additional troops arrive and set up security checkpoints, cutting Ukraine off from the Crimean Peninsula.

The new Crimean Prime Minister takes control of Ukrainian military installations on the Crimean Peninsula and asks for additional Russian military assistance. By the 2nd, Russian president Vladimir Putin receives authorization from the Federation Council of Russia for a military intervention in Ukraine and sends additional troops, armor, and helicopters to secure Crimea.

Putin defends intervention in Crimea as necessary to protect citizens in eastern Ukraine on behalf of pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych, of whom Putin claims had been ousted as a result of an illegitimate coup.

In the early stages of March, the Crimean Supreme Council sets the date for the independence referendum to the 16th of March with the Crimean parliament voting in favour of Russia. However, various members of the international community reject the legality of the Crimean referendum, with countries such as Germany threatening to impose severe sanctions on Russia.

On the 15th March, a UN Security Council Resolution to affirm Ukraine’s sovereignty fails after Russia vetoes the resolution. China abstains from voting, but all 13 other members of the Security Council voted in favour of the resolution.

A day after, on the 16th March, despite being declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine and the Crimean parliament, the Crimean independence referendum is held with an overwhelming majority of 95% voting in favour of independence.

In the days after, Crimean leaders meet with Russian leaders to draft and sign a treaty of ascension for Russia to formally annex Crimea. By the 20th, the treaty has been signed, upheld by the Russian Constitutional Court, and ratified.

The G8 countries remove Russia from the G8 in retaliation for the annexation of Crimea. On the 27th, the UN passes a non-binding resolution condemning Russia for the annexation of Crimea. By this time, the US and most of the EU have imposed economic sanctions on Russian oligarchs as retaliation, contributing to the collapse of the Russian rouble.

NATO also announces on the 1st April that it will suspend all civilian and military cooperation with Russia following the Crimean annexation.

Putin withdraws troops from Ukrainian border and agrees to return Ukrainian weapons left in Crimea to Ukraine. On the 31st of March, Russia also agreed to increase the salaries and pensions for people living in Crimea.

In protest of the Ukrainian revolution and spurred by Russia’s successful annexation of Crimea, 1,000-2,000 pro-Russia separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces of Ukraine seize control of government buildings and demand an independence referendum similar to the Crimean referendum be held. After the regional government fails to meet their demands, the separatists in Donetsk hold an assembly, vote for independence, and unilaterally declare themselves to be the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).

Starting from the 8th April, violent brawls occur throughout Ukraine. On the 8th, Ukrainian ministers clash in the Kiev parliament following the captures of various Ukrainian government buildings by pro-Russian forces.

In response to the capture of various government buildings, on the 9th April the Ukrainian President vowed to launch an anti-terror campaign, and the Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs publicly states that the conflict will either be resolved by military force or negotiations. On the latter, Ukraine offers additional powers and autonomy to eastern cities in an attempt to prevent another referendum of independence.

On the 12th April, pro-Russian forces storm police headquarters in Kramatorsk, resulting in a gun battle with the police defending the building. Throughout the rest of the month, sporadic violence occurs between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukraine government. EU member states and the US continue to threaten additional sanctions and various truce agreement are broken. Putin describes Ukraine as being on the brink of civil war.

Pro-Russian separatists in Luhansk on the 21st April declare a referendum on increased autonomy to take place on 11th May.

A week later, on the 27th April, separatists in Luhansk declare independence as the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) and demand that the Ukrainian government release arrested protesters, enshrine Russian as an official language, and hold a referendum on the status of the Luhansk province. They issue an ultimatum that if their demands are not met within 48 hours, they will join Donetsk in their insurgency.

The US and EU begin a second round of sanctions on Russia, targeting executives of Russia’s state owned oil company, Rosneft, and 15 other companies.

Russia rejects proposals for peace by EU member states in the early stages of May.

After holding a successful independence referendum, the new leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic petitions Russia for military support. By this point, government and insurgent forces have begun to fight for control over various cities in both Donetsk and Luhansk.

Petro Poroshenko is declared Ukraine’s new president as he claims that he would never recognise Russia’s control of Crimea.

Massive disruption takes place on the 27th May as fighting between Ukrainian and pro-Russian forces occurs at Donetsk airport, described as the worst violence seen in the region since the beginning of the crisis with dozens of people being killed.

Following the violence, NATO accuses Russia via satellite imagery of suppling tanks to pro-Russian forces in Ukraine. On the 14th June, Ukrainian protesters attack the Russian embassy in Kiev whilst a Ukrainian military plane containing more than a dozen people is shot down.

Ukraine’s prime minister accuses Russia of trying to destroy the country as Russian gas companies cut supply of gas to Ukraine.

Ukraine’s new president Petro Poroshenko declares a ceasefire with rebels in the eastern part of Ukraine. More than 300 reported dead in eastern Ukraine in the last 2 months.

Petro Poroshenko signs an EU partnership agreement with Georgia and Moldova; a move strongly condemned by Russia.

Petro Poroshenko cancels ceasefire agreement claiming that his Ukrainian forces will ‘liberate our land’.

In the next couple of weeks, Ukrainian government forces slowly reclaim territory and push insurgents into Donetsk and Luhansk cities.

Malaysian flight MH17 is shot down in eastern Ukraine on 17th July, causing increased tension as the shot came from pro-Russian forces. Pro-Russian forces prevent entry to the crash site causing international condemnation.

The EU agrees to increase sanctions against Russia.

As Ukrainian military rejects rebel calls for ceasefire, Russia sends multiple aid convoys into Ukraine which is described by NATO as a “direct invasion” of Ukraine’s sovereign territory.

The first Minsk ceasefire is signed by Ukraine, Russia, the DPR, and the LPR, after being organized by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, an intergovernmental organization that works on arms control and human rights within Europe.

Despite the MINSK agreement, multiple ceasefire violations are reported on the 6th and 7th September.

Human Rights Watch reports that cluster bombs – a military technique that often results in civilian casualties – have been used by the Ukrainian military.

Heavy fighting resumes despite the ceasefire still nominally still being in effect. By late January, 9,000 Russian soldiers and 500 tanks and armored personnel carriers have been deployed to support the insurgent forces.

A new ceasefire agreement, dubbed Minsk II, is negotiated, signed, and largely observed across the combat zone despite occasional violations.

The Minsk II is observed, heavy artillery is mostly withdrawn from the combat zone, and casualties on both sides are reduced.

The UN also announces that 6,000 have been killed in eastern Ukraine since 2014.

Heaviest fighting since Minsk II ceasefire takes place on 3rd June near Donetsk between pro-Russian and Ukrainian militaries. As a result, the Ukrainian government labels Minsk II “unworkable” and “impossible to implement” following a recent surge in violence.

Late in the month, the EU extends sanctions against Russia until 2016.

Protests break out after plans to give more autonomy to eastern Ukraine. Over 120 people are injured and at least 1 killed.

Both sides agree to halt all fighting in a new ceasefire on the 3rd September. No agreement is reached to sign a formal peace treaty, and the conflict becomes frozen – no territorial changes take place, and small skirmishes occasionally occur along the line of contact. As a result, violence in eastern Ukraine is recorded at the lowest level since the beginning of the crisis.

Following a record number of days without any immediate violence, Petro Poroshenko claims the ‘real truce’ has begun.

EU-Ukraine trade deal comes into effect. In retaliation, Russia imposes increased taxes on Ukrainian goods.

The conflict remains frozen, with 2016 marking the first full calendar year where the Ukrainian government has not lost territory, and casualties are greatly reduced.

The ‘Normandy Four’ countries (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine) hold a meeting in Berlin but fail to reach a unilateral agreement following various meetings.

On 17th January, Ukraine files a case at the International Court of Justice against Russia on the grounds of ‘acts of terrorism and unlawful aggression’.

The filing of the case arrives at a time where the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) expresses concern over a recent upsurge in violence seeing a dozen killed.

A series of minor skirmishes and a string of ceasefires broken by both sides within hours of being signed throughout eastern Ukraine.

The US and the EU extend sanctions against Russia until January 2018.

The EU fully ratifies the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement which ex-president Viktor Yanukovych rejected in 2013. The agreement brings Ukraine closer to the EU and the West.

Russia rejects Donetsk self-proclaimed rebel state and instead maintains committed to the Minsk accords, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

The United Nations Human Rights Council release a report on the 25th September showing the human rights violations committed by Russia in Crimea.

Human Rights Watch releases a report on 18th September that displays the human rights violations committed by Ukrainian authorities.

The US imposes 28 new sanctions aimed at Russian companies, whilst on the 12th March, the EU extends further sanctions against 150 Russian authorities and 38 companies.

The Ukrainian Donbass reintegration law comes into effect. The law affirms Russia as an aggressor state in the region and provides the Ukrainian military with a legal mandate to remove the Russian army from the country. The Russian government criticizes the bill as “preparations for a new war”.

Two new “Easter ceasefires” are signed and collapse within days by Russian-backed forces.

The UN’s International Organization for Migration announces urgent appeal for more than 300,000 people in assistance in Ukraine, pledging $38 million. It is also stated that more than 3 million people living in Ukraine are affected by the conflict and require humanitarian assistance.

Russia opens a bridge between Crimea and Russian land, invoking anger by Ukraine of which calls the construction illegal.

Alexander Zakharcheko, leader of the separatist group the Donetsk People’s Republic, is killed during fighting between the Ukrainian military and the separatist group. Several are killed in the Donbass region of Ukraine by separatist forces.

Russian president Vladimir Putin warns that the death of separatist group leader Alexander Zakharcheko risks undermining current and future peace agreements.

EU member states further extend sanctions against Russia that have been in place since 2014.

The UK also agrees to send military personnel and equipment to support Ukraine.

The International Criminal Court on the 7th December labels the conflict in Eastern Ukraine as an international armed conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation.

The Ukrainian government increases naval presence.

Martial law in Ukraine ends in Ukraine following the recent conflict in the Sea of Azov.

Shortly after declaring the end of martial law, Russia announces the completion of a 60km fence across the Ukraine-Crimea border. This is condemned by the international community of whom still fail to recognise Crimea as Russian territory.

Ex-president Viktor Yanukovych is sent to 13 years in prison on accusations of treason leading to the annexation of Crimea.

The 2019 Ukraine Humanitarian Response Plan is launched which details the continued severity of the conflict and the importance to assist the 3.5 million people in need.

TV comedian, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, is declared Ukraine’s new president.

The Ukrainian Army raid and progress into Donbass region despite Russian-backed hostility. Leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Eduard Basurin, claims that over 1,000 members of the Ukrainian military have been injured or killed since 2018.

Russian-backed military also makes gains near the Donbass region.

The Government of Japan on 17th May continued its humanitarian assistance to vulnerable people in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of Eastern Ukraine by providing $2.8 million for support.

After campaigning against political corruption, Ukraine’s newly elected president Volodymyr Zelensky announced that he would dissolve parliament, stating that those in power must serve the public. Zelensky also declared that the first item on his agenda would be to achieve a ceasefire in the Donbass region.

In a statement, UNICEF announces that the number of traumatized students has increased four-fold since the outbreak of conflict in Eastern Ukraine. With over 750 attacks on schools, UNICEF stresses that children are too terrified to learn.

The UN’s International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ordered the immediate release of Ukrainian naval vessals that were captured by Russia last year. Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukraine’s prime minister, stressed the importance that Russia’s compliance could mean for peace in the region, signifying a readiness to stop the ongoing conflict.

The Pentagon announces $250m in military aid to strengthen Ukraine’s naval and land force. Since 2014, the Pentagon has invested over $1.5bn to Ukraine to help in its conflict against Russia.

International arrest warrants have been issued for 3 Russians and 1 Ukrainian on charges of murder for the shooting down of passenger flight MH17. Russia has denied credibility for the accusations and has described them as “absolutely threadbare”.

Ukrainian representatives walk out of the Council of Europe parliamentary assembly after MPs vote in favour of Russia’s return to the human rights body. This decision sparked outrage amongst Ukrainian delegates of whom argue that the decision showed a sign of weakness in Europe’s ability to control Russia. Russia’s return to the human rights organisation is particularly troublesome being that the county’s annexation of Crimea was largely deemed a violation of international law.

Furthering Ukraine’s European ambitions, the EU reaffirms its commitment to Ukraine by suppling 17.7 million euros in assistance. This involves healthcare, educational services and humanitarian support along the line of conflict in non-government-controlled areas.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy hold talks via a telephone conversation to discuss the ongoing conflict in Eastern Ukraine. Some of the topics discussed involved: the release of prisoners, continuation of the ‘Normandy Four’ talks, and the release of Ukrainian navy sailors with the Azov incident.

The UN has stressed that the ongoing conflict in Ukraine poses serious daily challenges to those living in the area of conflict. The UN reports that civilians face indiscriminate shelling on a daily basis which has resulted in over a dozen civilian deaths.

In what is reported as being a substantial step towards ending the conflict in Ukraine, both Russia and Ukraine have agreed on a comprehensive ceasefire. The agreement places a ban on reconnaissance activities as well as the importing of heavy weaponry. Albeit a substantial agreement, both sides are wary as previous ceasefires have consistently failed.

Ukrainian president Zelenskiy proposes a prisoner exchange for a Ukrainian filmmaker being held in Moscow. The move is argued to be a ‘goodwill’ gesture by Zelenskiy and could bolster the relationship between Kiev and Moscow following the recent ceasefire agreed by both parties.

In what is being described as retaliation for Russia’s actions against Ukrainian vessels earlier this year, Ukrainian authorities seize Russian maritime tankers operating near Crimea. This action undermines recent progress made to end the ongoing crisis throughout the country.

Zelenskiy and Putin hold fresh peace talks amid a recent surge in violence in the Donbass region. The peace talks, which were prompted by the killings of 4 Ukrainian soldiers, undermine progress made in peace talks negotiated only a month ago.

New research collected by a UK independent research group illustrates Russia’s military involvement in Ukraine conflict. Although Russia continually denies this, the new research will be used as evidence in a European Court of Human Rights case.

EU member states including Germany, France and the UK have refuted the suggestion by U.S President Donald Trump of readmitting Russia to the G7 group. France has argued that Russia could potentially re-join once the Ukraine conflict ends.

In a landmark deal proposed last month, Ukraine and Russia have completed an exchange of prisoners. The deal carries vital significance in efforts to ease tension and end the ongoing conflict affecting both countries.

Thousands of people protest in Ukraine’s capital against the peace plan announced in the Donbass region. The protestors, some of whom are former fighters, have criticised the deal as leaning towards Russian control.

Both Ukrainian and Russian-backed separatists begin the process of withdrawal from the Donbass region following the recently signed deal granting increased autonomy to Donbass separatists.

For the first time since 2014, Zelenskiy and Putin agree to a continuation of the Normandy Four peace talks involving France and Germany.

Russia returns three Ukrainian ships after their capture in Crimea a year ago. This event follows recent attempts to ease tensions between both sides.

Russia and Ukraine meet with German and French leaders to hold peace talks in Paris.

Both Russia and Ukraine, along with leaders from France and Germany, agree to a fresh ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine. The peace talks, however, remained limited and both Russia and Ukraine failed to agree on several issues, such as elections in Eastern Ukraine.
The EU extends sanctions on Russia following the 2014 annexation of Crimea. The extension of sanctions comes shortly after the Normandy Four peace talks which took place a couple of days earlier.
The EU have condemned Putin’s decision to open a railway bridge connecting Russian-annexed Crimea to Russian land. The EU describes the bridge as another violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty.
Ukrainian forces begin the process of a prisoner exchange with Russian-backed rebels fighting in the Donbass region. The prisoner exchange was agreed during the Normandy Four talks.
Despite positive talks during the Normandy Four talks, Ukraine’s foreign minister has declared that no progress is being made to further sustain peace in the Donbass region in terms of a summit.
Ukraine and Russia agree to a new prisoner exchange planned to commence in March.

The Ukrainian government closed all crossing points between war-torn Eastern Ukraine and the rest of the country due to fears of Covid-19, leaving dozens stranded on the border and without the capability to return to their families or to cross over to receive pensions from the government.

After an earlier agreement between Russia and Ukraine, both sides of the conflict conducted a prisoner exchange for the first time this year.

According to a statement released by Ukraine’s Joint Forces Operation, Separatist forces launched attacks on Ukrainian positions that resulted in two Ukrainian service members being wounded and several Separatist forces killed.

NATO announced that it would be formally recognizing Ukraine as an Enhanced
Opportunities Partner, bringing Ukraine into a fold that includes countries such as
Georgia, Sweden, and Finland. This is a bold move by Ukraine towards pursuing a
partnership with NATO, something which may anger neighboring Russia.

Ukrainian NGO Right to Protection stated that dozens of people are trapped in the “gray
zone” in Eastern Ukraine between the two warring parties. The government has
restricted border crossings to those who agree to download a tracking app or stay at a
medical facility to self-isolate. However, many of those at the border lack a smartphone
to download the application and do not have the means to travel to a medical facility. As
such they have been stuck trying to cross the border checkpoints.

Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists have agreed to a new comprehensive
ceasefire aimed at bringing about the end of hostilities in the country’s east. Both sides
immediately accused the other of minor violations but claim to be observing the
agreement.

In an interview with Euronews, Zelenskiy reported that there was a high chance of
ending the war this year in Ukraine. Thus far the current ceasefire has held, with the
exception of minor infractions, and parties will be meeting for a second round of
Normandy talks. The president remains optimistic about the future of Ukraine.

Russia’s Federal Security Agency (FSB) reported that three men tried to cross the
border from Ukraine into Russia over the week, one of which was killed in a resulting
shoot out with border patrol officers after the men resisted arrest. The intentions of the
men are still unknown. The FSB reports that it is investigating the matter but it could
come as a blow in Russian-Ukrainian relations, which have only recently improved after
several prisoner-swaps.

Last Thursday, Volodomyr Zelenskiy’s spokeswoman Yulia Mendel announced that
talks were underway for another prisoner swap in Eastern Ukraine, which would likely
take place before the end of the year. The discussions were held primarily between
Russia, Ukraine, and the separatists however Ukraine also consulted Germany and
France. This comes as another milestone in the War in Donbass, which has remained a
frozen conflict since 2016.

The European Human Rights Court, one of the major human rights bodies, has agreed to take on Ukraine’s case against Russia for human rights violations committed in 2014 when they annexed the Crimean Peninsula. The Court noted that many, though not all, of Ukraine’s accusations have sufficient evidence to prosecute. 

President Volodymyr Zelensky enacted Decree No. 117/2021 implements “the Strategy for De-occupation and Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol.” Though not an open declaration of military hostility towards Russia, the decree makes clear to Russia and the international community that Ukraine sees Crimea as an inseparable part of its country, and that they reject the legitimacy of the 2014 Crimean independence referendum.  

Senior Defense Department officials claim that Russia has only removed a small fraction of the 80,000 troops stationed at Ukraine’s border, despite assurances of deploying them back into Russia. The officials claim that though some soldiers did leave the border, they left behind their trucks and armored vehicles, meaning they could be redeployed quickly.

Members of the far-right Ukrainian political group the National Corps clashed with police in Kyiv near President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s office on 14 August, 2021. National Corps was protesting the Steinmeier Formula, a resolution meant to resolve Ukraine’s seven-year war with Kremlin-backed separatists in Eastern Ukraine. The violence occurred as Zelenskiy has begun strengthening efforts to end the war in Eastern Ukraine, calling on Russian President Vladimir Putin to help him resolve the conflict.

On August 24, 2021 Ukrainians celebrated 30 years of independence. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy delivered a speech to the nation, in which he reconfirmed Ukraine’s commitment to joining NATO and promised to reclaim the Eastern territories of Donbas and Crimea, explaining that “you can temporarily occupy territories, but it is impossible to occupy the people’s love for Ukraine.” 

Following the American withdrawal from Afghanistan, Ukrainian president
Volodomyr Zelenskiy is said to be seeking assurances from US president
Biden regarding Ukraine’s role in Europe, its independence from Russia, and
US-backing for Ukraine in its seven-year war. Ukraine is heavily reliant on
American aid and the collapse of the Afghani government has led to several
US allies questioning how far America will go to support them.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy met with American President Joe Biden on Wednesday, 1 September. The two leaders discussed the ongoing situation in Eastern Ukraine and Ukraine’s plans to join NATO and integrate itself more with Europe. Biden reaffirmed the U.S’s support to Ukrainian national sovereignty and his administration announced that it will send $45 million dollars in humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy announced sanctions on 95 Russian and
Ukrainian citizens in connection with holding Russian parliamentary elections
in Crimea. Zelenskiy commented that Ukraine would retaliate with sanctions against organizers and participants of the Russian parliamentary elections in Crimea and territories
occupied by Russian forces

On October 27, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba reported that Ukraine was prepared to take “asymmetric measures” if Russia tries to shut off gas supplies to Ukraine by using its Nord Stream 2 pipeline with Germany. Ukraine, along with several other Eastern European countries, continues to oppose the creation of the pipeline, claiming that Russia intends to use it as a hybrid weapon against other countries

On 3 November, Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine Anna Malyar warned that the contingent of Russian soldiers along Ukraine’s border may increase throughout the winter. Malyar said that “Russia is in a rather aggressive position” and that there are “about 90,000 soldiers stationed along the border” and sometimes in occupied territory. Malyar also mentioned that the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense will continue to monitor the situation and that the public should not yet be concerned. “We don’t need to sound the alarm,” she reported, “but we are still living in a state of war.”

Ukrainian officials have expressed their growing concern over the increasing amount of Russian troops along Ukraine’s border. According to Ukrainian intel, Russia has been moving troops, tanks, artillery, and
weaponry close to Ukraine’s eastern border. Officials fear that leaving weaponry so close to Ukraine’s border “allows Russian authorities in very short terms to redeploy personnel and to form combat striking groups ready for offensive actions on the territory of Ukraine.”

The U.S. government has pressed Russia to avoid escalating the military conflict in Eastern Ukraine after satellites observed a massive build up of Russian forces along Ukraine’s border. The U.S. warned the Kremlin that encroaching upon Ukrainian territory would be a great “mistake” for Russia. Dmitri Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesman, dismissed the U.S.’s warning and argued that the troop pose “not a threat to anyone.”

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov says around 94,000 Russian troops are at Ukraine’s border and stated that a probability exists for a “worst” case scenario involving a “large-scale escalation on the part of Russia,” with the most likely time for an incursion being in late January. 

Russian troops have begun entering Belarus for “military drills,” as NATO and Ukrainian officials fear that Belarus’s southern border with Ukraine will give Russian troops a platform to attack the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov has warned that Russia’s military build-up on their border is reaching its final stages and that an invasion could begin at any point.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announces that Russia has not withdrawn its troops from the Ukrainian border despite claims to the contrary, and warns that the build-up has only intensified.

In what many see as a prelude to recognizing and annexing the region, Russia has given out hundreds of thousands of Russian passports to people in the internationally unrecognized breakaway states of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine. Reportedly, Russia has also offered things like membership in Russia’s ruling political party and access to the COVID-19 vaccination. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba decried the move the “illegal mass issuing of Russian passports to Ukrainian citizens.”

After months of build-up, the Kremlin has formally recognized the breakaway regions of Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics. This was followed by Russian Troops marching, on Vladimir Putin’s orders, into these regions on what the Russian Government described as “peacekeeping operations”. The decision to formally recognize these territories puts Russia at odds with most of the world, who consider them to be a part of Ukraine’s sovereign territory. Russia has also stated its plans to build military bases on within these territories. 

The United States has unveiled new sanctions against a variety of Russian organizations as well as family members of Putin’s “inner circle”. This includes sanctions against Nordstream AG, the Russian company that operates the Nord Stream gas pipeline from Russia to Europe. This comes after the German foreign minister blocked the construction of the Nord Stream pipeline through Germany. The United States has warned other officials that they could be targeted depending on the actions Russia takes next.

Shortly after moving troops into Eastern Ukraine as part of a “peacekeeping operation”, the Kremlin has announced that it has begun “military operations” in Ukraine. This was quickly followed by missile strikes in Kiev, Kharkiv, and several other cities as well as a general advance by Russian forces across the border. The United States as well as the European Union condemned Russia’s actions and vowed to impose what the white house referred to as “harsh economic penalties”.

The United Nation General Assembly voted in a non-binding resolution to condemn Russia’s invasion, in a vote of 141 countries for, 5 against, and 35 abstentions, after a number of speeches from Ukrainian, European, and American officials. Although non-binding, the symbolic measure is another move in the NATO-EU-US diplomatic efforts to isolate Russia.

A number of officials from the United States and NATO as well as the EU have noted that a diplomatic compromise to the war seems increasingly unlikely as they see little chance of Russia or Putin backing down, regardless of sanctions, Ukrainian military tenacity, and civilian death. As Putin proves unmoved by the unprecedented list of sanctions placed against him while the US and NATO have made clear they have no intention of militarily intervening, the situation on the ground for Ukrainians will only continue to worsen.

After a month of war, Russia has begun to reorient their strategic goals, abandoning the northern push from Belarus to focus on their attacks in the east and south of Ukraine. Despite brutal fighting around the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and alarm from western observers, Kyiv has resisted the Russian attack, and now a protracted conflict in the Donbas region and around southern cities like Mariupol seem likely.

At a UN Security Council meeting, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a “senseless loss of life,” and stating he “will never forget the horrifying images of civilians killed in Bucha,” subsequently, Guterres “immediately called for an independent investigation to guarantee effective accountability.”

In a vote of 93 in favor, 24 against, and 58 abstentions, the UN General Assembly voted to adopt a resolution to expel Russia from the Human Rights Council. But before the resolution could become binding, Russia quit the council and decried what it described as cynical political maneuvers, while Ukrainian, European, and American officials applauded the move. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has stated territorial exchange is out of the question, specifically regarding Crimea and the Donbas region, but is still pushing for negotiations. Despite an earlier hard stance on NATO, Zelensky has shown signs willingness to abandon joining NATO in exchange for more serious security guarantees from Russia. 

Nearly two months of war have seen 30% of Ukraine’s infrastructure, including 5,000 miles of roads, 300 bridges, as well as rail lines, communications networks, and other vital systems damaged or destroyed by the Russian invaders, according to Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksander Kubrakov, who estimates the damage to be around $100 billion. The damage is most severe in areas of direct Russian attack, but Russian missile strikes and air attacks have damaged many parts of Ukraine away from the frontlines as well.

The Ukrainian soldiers of Mariupol have refused a Russian ultimatum to surrender as the eyes of both countries and the world turn to the southern Ukrainian city, a key connection point for eastern and southern Russian offensives and the site of some of the most intense fighting and rampant collateral damage of the war. Some military analysts see this as the key battle of the war as both nations realize its importance. The fate of this will likely be highly consequential.   

Ukraine’s planting season is being disrupted by the war, and as both Russia and Ukraine are among the largest producers of many agricultural resources including wheat, barley, and corn for Europe and the rest of the world. Many experts predict an impending, and indeed already beginning, shortage of global food supply. As NPR notes, food prices have soured around the world and places as far as Lebanon, Bangladesh, and Indonesia have begun experiencing a lack of critical food supplies.

The Riigikogu of Estonia and the Saeima of Latvia, the respective parliaments the Baltic states, have officially recognized Russia’s actions in Ukraine as constituting a genocide, and urged other legislatures to do the same. Both Latvia and Estonia were ruled by first the Russian Empire and later Soviet Union for centuries, and were quick to join NATO following the latter’s collapse. Now they are among the most vocally in favor of greater NATO support for Ukraine.

After attempts last week to broker an Easter ceasefire, UN Secretary-General António Guterres is set to meet in person with Presidents Putin and Zelensky, as well as their respective foreign ministers, next week in separate meetings to urge an end to the fighting. Guterres has consistently called for peace and for respecting human rights in the conflict.

After the Russian missile cruiser and flagship the Moskva was sunk last week reportedly by Ukrainian missiles, the Russian government has been forced to admit to ever increasingly unfavorable truths about the sinking, including admitting today that 1 sailor died and 27 are missing. At first the Russian government denied the ship had been damaged. Then it denied that it had been sunk, instead being towed to port. After this, they admitted it had sunk but that the entire crew had been evacuated, leading to this week’s admission after the families of the dead sailors began questioning where their sons were. The sinking of the Moskva is only the most recent in a long series of difficult narratives the Russian government has been forced to adopt to feed to their people.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin flew to Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Zelensky in a meeting that was not announced until hours before their arrival. Blinken and Austin brought with them assurances of increased US diplomatic, financial, and military support for Ukraine, including weapons and training as well as the appointment of a new ambassador to the country.

Satellite imagery from U.S. firm Planet Labs’ appears to have captured images of what some experts claim may likely be a third mass grave near Mariupol. Images of the grave site, in the nearby village of Strayi Krym, show it being extended 450 feet between March 24th and April 24th. Mariupol’s mayor Vadym Boychenko says these images back up the claims made by Ukrainian officials that Russian troops have used mass graves to bury civilians killed in the weeks long bombardment of the city, as well as reports of Russian troops forcing Ukrainian civilians to dig the graves themselves.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated in an interview with Russian media that though Russia is doing its best to avoid escalating tensions, when asked about WWIII, he said, “the danger is serious, real. And we must not underestimate it.” Nuclear threats both tacit and explicit have been a staple of their diplomatic strategy in regards to the west and its support for Ukraine, though this week specifically condemned the west as being, “engaged in a war with Russia through a proxy and is arming that proxy. War means war.”

Ukraine’s Human Rights Ombudsman Lyudmila Denisova told Ukrainian media broadcaster Suspilne that between April 1 and April 14, a psychological-support hotline set up in partnership with UNICEF had received over 400 calls to report instances of assaults and rapes committed by Russian soldiers. Denisova described instances involving girls as young as 11 years old, as well as certain patterns in the reports including Russian soldiers often between 20-25 years old, which Denisova claims could suggest these are the kind of soldiers who grew up entirely in Putin’s propaganda. Though reports like these have been made since the war began, Denisova’s report is the first official attempt by the Ukrainian government to quantify these incidents.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres met face to face with President Putin and President Zelensky, speaking with both leaders of the importance of negotiating an end to the conflict while focusing on humanitarian efforts to ease the suffering of Ukrainian civilians. After landing in Kyiv, the Secretary-General visited Bucha, the infamous site of a civilian massacre perpetrated by Russian forces, and during a joint press conference with President Zelensky a Russian missile hit a nearby residential area.

Ukrainian Deputy Agricultural Minister Taras Vysotskiy said to Ukrainian television that, “several hundred thousand tonnes” of grain have already been stolen by Russian troops, and warned that up to 1.5 million tonnes could be stolen in the areas Russia occupies. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry accused Russia of grain theft, condemning what it describes as “the looting of grain from the Kherson region, as well as the blocking of shipments from Ukrainian ports and the mining of shipping lanes,” actions that “threaten the world’s food security,”

As tensions between Russia and the EU-US increase, the arena of the political standoff is reaching ever more into economics as the two sides attempt to use oil to their advantage. Russia’s gas monopoly Gazprom cut off all gas shipments to Poland and Bulgaria because they weren’t paying in roubles, despite their original contract stipulating they could pay in Euros. Meanwhile German news network Deutsche Welle reports that insiders in the EU have said that the EU is preparing an oil embargo on Russia with German support, despite earlier hesitation from German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told a press conference in London that the Group of Seven (G7) must work together to prevent international aggression like that seen in Ukraine. Kishida said that the G7 and the rest of the international community must, “never tolerate a unilateral attempt to change the status quo by the use of force in the Indo Pacific, especially in East Asia,” warning that, “Ukraine may be East Asia tomorrow.”

The governments of Sweden and Finland, both neutral nations throughout the Cold War, have begun showing increasing willingness to join the NATO alliance in the face of Russian international aggression. Analysts have suggested that the Baltic pair could join NATO as soon as this summer, as both are wealthy democracies, and US-NATO officials have signalled a willingness to make the application process as quick as possible. Russia has repeatedly and strongly warned against NATO expansion in Northern Europe, with Ukraine’s potential joining of NATO oft-cited as one reason for the invasion, making a variety of threats, including a “military technical response.”

The southern Ukrainian city of Kherson has been under Russian occupation since the beginning of March, and the occupiers have begun implementing changes that many in the city and around the world fear are the beginning of Russian attempts to keep control of the city permanently. A top Putin ally visited the region and said, “Russia is here forever. There should be no doubt about that.” A pro-Russian MP has been installed as regional governor, the Russian-backed regional regime has begun the transition to using the Russian rouble, all the while local journalists report that “at least 100 incidents of abduction,” have taken place against pro-Ukrainian agitators. The UK Defense Ministry warned that Russian actions “are likely indicative of Russian intent to exert strong political and economic influence in Kherson over the long term.”

Though the US and NATO have encouraged huge swathes of the world to enact harsh, unprecedented sanctions against Russia for its aggressive war against Ukraine, the Economist reports that by certain metrics the Russian economy appears to be weathering predictions of imminent collapse. The publication describes the rouble is “as valuable as it was before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” and notes that certain patterns of consumption have remained fairly consistent. The authors credit Russia’s already fairly closed economy, but most important are its carbon exports, having sold $65 billion since the invasion, and says that unless the EU’s oil embargo is enacted, “expect the Russian economy to continue to trundle along.”

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova  officially charged a captured Russian soldier, 21 year old Sgt. Vadin Shyshimarin, for charges of war crimes, specifically over his alleged involvement in the killing of a 62 year old civilian in the first days of the war. Though thousands of reports, videos, and first-hand accounts have emerged accusing Russian soldiers of a variety of crimes, Shyshimarin is the first time the Ukrainian government has begun legal proceeding against alleged war criminals.

Clear incongruities emerge in the negotiation strategies of Western and Ukrainian officials. Statements made by French President Emmanuel Macron, German President Olaf Scholz, and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi make clear they wish for an immediate ceasefire to end the fighting, without pushing for further concessions from Russia. But Ukraine, the UK, and US have signalled a number of demands from Russia. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told POLITICO Ukraine desires the return of Crimea and Donbas as well as reparations for damages, while US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin even said the US, “want[s] to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine.”

EU officials remain optimistic some deal will be reached, though they admit that there are still assurances that need to be made for some countries to join the embargo. Hungary, Slovakia, and Czechia will be allowed to import Russian oil until 2024, and the deal allows for parties heavily reliant on Russian oil a lenient period for finding a replacement supplier in the meantime. Despite this, Hungary has consistently expressed its wariness for an embargo, claiming without Russian fuel their economy will suffer greatly. But EU Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič stated the EU states, “are very much determined to work with Hungary and of course with the rest of the EU member states to have European unity.” 

The foreign ministers of the G7 nations warned Russia’s continuing blockade of Ukrainian exports will create a good crisis for the poorest people around the world, and urged Russia to allow food supplies to pass. In a joint statement, the ministers described how, “Food prices and costs for humanitarian agencies to deliver assistance to those in greatest need are both rising, at a time when 45mn people are already one step away from famine.”

In a call between Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and President Putin expressed his dissatisfaction with the Finnish application to join NATO, despite assurances from Niinisto of Finland’s desire to continue cordial relations with Russia. In addition, Turkish President Erdogan has signalled that, “we [Turkey] don’t hold positive views,” regarding Sweden and Finland, specifically accusing “Scandinavian countries are guesthouses for terrorist organizations,” perhaps in reference to ties with Kurdish groups the Turkish government considers terrorist organizations. Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said he was meeting with his Turkish equivalent in the coming days to find an agreement. Ascension to NATO requires unanimous consensus, meaning if Erdogan’s reservations crystalize into a hard stance, they could block Finland and Sweden from joining the alliance.

The International Criminal Court has sent a 42-person team to examine evidence of Russian war crimes and monitor Ukrainian war crimes trials and investigations. The court has already called for their own investigations into possible war crimes, with Chief ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan calling the war a “crime scene” in April.

US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley said that he had spoken over the phone with his Russian counterpart, Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov, for the first time since the invasion began in late February. A Pentagon spokesperson said that Milley and Gerasimov, “discussed several security-related issues of concern and agreed to keep the lines of communication open.”

After fleeing the initial invasion of Ukraine, many refugees are returning to Ukraine as the war settles into a contained stalemate in the east of the country. Though many still remain in neighboring countries, including Poland, Slovakia, Moldova, and Hungary, NPR reports multi-hour lines of Ukrainians re-entering the nation, even as the war continues.

21-year-old Russian Sergeant Vadim Shishimarin has been sentenced to life in prison following Ukraine’s first official war crimes trial found him guilty for shooting and killing 62-year-old Oleksandr Shelipov, an unarmed civilian, during the first week of the war.

The World Health Organization’s assembly rejected a proposal made by the Russian government to not include the war in the health crisis in Ukraine, instead accepting a western-backed proposal that accepts that the crisis was, “triggered by the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine.”

A number of western analysts are beginning to advocate a more realistic approach to ending the war in Ukraine. They argue that Ukraine does not have the capacity to deliver a climactic defeat of Russia, and that even if distasteful, a negotiated settlement is the only way to end the war. But others claim that any negotiated settlement that Putin would accept will include major losses for Ukraine in territory and sovereignty, functionally rewarding his aggression. Ukrainian defense minister says a negotiated settlement that includes ceding territory will only encourage Russia and that they cannot be trusted to keep any promises they make regarding security, warning that Russia would only return in a few years, as they returned after the 2014 agreements.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced that Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff, a French journalist covering the war in Ukraine, was killed by shrapnel in Luhansk. Specific details of his death have not been released, but the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry have blamed the death on Russian shelling. Leclerc-Imhoff is the most recent of eight journalists killed while covering Russia’s invasion.

Kirill Stremousov, a Russian-installed official of the Ukrainian city of Kherson, told Reuters that the plan to incorporate the Kherson Oblast into the Russian Federation continues, but is delayed by continued fighting in the region. Stremousov also indicated that a referendum may take place despite earlier statements that one wouldn’t be needed, as well as promising to adopt the Russian rouble in place of the Ukrainian hryvnia, and continue allowing occupants of Kherson to gain fast-tracked Russian citizenship.

Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Liudmyla Denisova released a statement on Telegram claiming, “Russia has deported 1,377,925 people to its territory, including 232,480 children. Over the last day – 17,306, including 2,213 children.” Denisova included a video reportedly showing Ukrainian people surrounded by armed men being forced into evacuation zones, whom the Russian government claims are voluntarily “evacuating” to Russia.

After months of negotiations and a number of critical compromises, the EU has drawn up a ban on the majority of Russian gas, which has the support of Hungary. The plan is to ban 90% of Russia’s oil by the end of the year, and keep the last 10% exempt for Hungary, Czechia, and Slovakia until replacement sources can be found.

On International Day for Protecting Children, UNICEF announced that for every day that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has gone on, at least two children have died, a statement backed up by the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights. The agency also described the trauma and suffering children across the country face as a result of the war, urging both sides to sign a ceasefire and support the children in the country.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres solemnly condemned the in Ukraine on the 100th day since Russia invaded, and called on both sides to reach a swift ceasefire. Guterres also noted UN efforts to free up food exports to address the global food crisis.

In UN Security Council meeting, US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield urged the Russian government “to stop rape, violence, and atrocities from within its ranks,” in Ukraine, as well as calling on Russia to end the war. Russia has previously denied accusations of sexual violence committed by their troops, despite evidence.

During a meeting of the UN Security Council European Council President Charles Michel accused Russia of orchestrating the food crisis, describing, “the dramatic consequences of Russia’s war…spilling over across the globe,” which, “is driving up food prices, pushing people into poverty, and destabilising entire regions,” concluding, “Russia is solely responsible for this food crisis.” Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia walked out of the meeting during Michel’s remarks.

Spokeswoman for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights warned that the execution of British and Moroccan nationals in Ukraine amount to a war crime. The three were tried and sentenced to death by pro-Russian separatists of the Donetsk People’s Republic. The statement also described the judiciary of the Donetsk People’s Republic as systemically deficient.

In a detailed report released by Amnesty International, researchers and observers lay out an extensive list of war crimes and human rights’ abuses committed by Russian forces in Ukraine. The report includes hundreds of civilians killed and thousands injured by indiscriminate bombardment, missile strikes, and cluster bombs used against the city of Kharkiv, describing in detail individuals killed and maimed by the Russian onslaught.

Director of the UN World Food Programme David Beasley warned that global food supplies were already threatened by supply chain issues and COVID-19, with the war in Ukraine serving to exacerbate the crisis to new levels. Beasley noted that food riots have broken out in Sri Lanka, Tunisia, and Pakistan, while Burkina Faso, Mali, and Chad face destabilization, noting that these cases are likely only the beginning.

The US State Department confirmed that American citizen Stephen Zabielski was killed fighting alongside Ukrainian forces. Zabielski marks the second death, along with the two missing, American volunteers in the war. The State Department reiterated that it advises Americans to not travel to Ukraine.

After months of negotiations, Ukrainian and European officials announced that Ukraine, along with neighboring Moldova, are officially being granted candidate status in the European Union. Though the process to officially join will take year, both EU and Ukrainian leaders have hailed this as a historic moment and an inflection point in the destiny of both entities.

Chinese and Indian markets, especially their continued purchasing of Russian crude oil, has been credited by New York Times journalists as financially supporting the Russian economy and blunting the effects of European and American sanctions. Despite both countries attempting to position themselves as neutral in the conflict, their continued and growing importation of Russian oil is propping up the Russian economy and even serving to shift oil markets in Asia as the two countries buy less oil from other markets like in Saudi Arabia and Mexico.

Russian missiles struck targets far from the frontlines in Kyiv and the Central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk, the latter striking a crowded mall that the Ukrainian government reported had 1000 people within it. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called the strikes a response to G7 summit calling for more sanctions against Russia.

Despite the stated disapproval of Turkish officials regarding what it described as Finnish and Swedish support for terrorist groups, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced the three countries had come to an agreement to allow the Nordic countries’ ascension to NATO. With this, two new nations in close proximity to Russia have joined the alliance in direct response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, with Russia using the threat of NATO expansion onto Russia’s border as a casus belli against Ukraine. 

After Ukrainian forces evacuated the last city under their control, Lysychansk, the Russian government has claimed that the Russian military has nearly total control over the Luhansk region and gains in neighboring Donetsk, after a slow, grinding campaign of attrition has worn down Ukrainian forces. Some observers believe this will allow Putin to declare victory and give him a strong enough hand to force concessions on the Ukrainian government.

In a conference in Switzerland, Ukrainain Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said that the three phase recovery plan drawn up by the Ukrainian government will cost upwards of $750 billion dollars, imploring western nations to provide funds for this plan. He claims over $100 billion have been incurred in infrastructural damage by Russian attacks, and that some of the funding should come from the confiscated property of Russian oligarchs.

The G-20 group of the largest and richest nations in the world met in Bali, the conference was heavily divided between support for and against Ukraine, leaving the meeting more split than ever, including US and Russian officials refusing to speak, no group picture being taken, and no official post-conference statement being relayed.

A report from OHCHR was stated that the infamous attack on the Stara Krasnianka nursing home by Russian forces was partially caused by Ukrainian forces taking up positions within the hospital, despite claims by Ukrainian officials. Though the report notes that Russia has blatantly and repeatedly targeted civilians, including apartment buildings, shopping centers, and train stations, it does not excuse nor warrant Ukrainian forces breaking international human rights either.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry says it is “deeply disappointed” by the Canadian government’s decision to return a repaired Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline turbine to Germany after completing maintenance on the equipment, saying it sets a “dangerous precedent” and urged the government to change its policy. The Canadian government has said that at the same time that it would expand sanctions against Russia’s energy sector to include industrial manufacturing.

The Ukrainian government announced a series of restructuring projects to take place in the post-war reconstruction period that will shrink governmental agencies from 12 to 20. Zelensky has said that combatting corruption and strengthening rule of law are key goals in these reorganizations to show Ukraine’s seriousness about integrating itself into the EU.

In a statement released by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the US State Department detailed a number of “filtration” operations being carried out by the Russian government against Ukrainian civilians. These included forcibly deporting Ukrainians in Russian territory, illegally detaining Ukrainian civilians, and conducting forced disappearances of Ukrainians connected to the Ukrainian media, government, and military. 

Evgeny Balitsky, Russian installed head of the occupation administration in Zaporizhzhia, announced that the area will hold a referendum on whether to join Russia, seen by many observers as the culmination of Russian ambitions to forcibly cease and Russify the south and east of Ukraine

Ukrainian President Zelensky removed Ivan Bakanov, head of Ukraine’s state intelligence service and Iryna Venediktova, the country’s prosecutor general, leading to accusations of corrupt governance and the consolidation of power from some Ukrainian anti-corruption advocates, while others claim Bakanov and Venediktova were appointed because of their closeness to the president in the first place, and their poor performance has belied corruption that should be rooted out.

Complex negotiations between Ukraine, Russia, the EU, and Turkey have seen slow progress for allowing Ukrainian shipments of grain to pass through the Russian blockade as food prices soar and world supply suffers. Despite each side noting successes in negotiations, tensions remain after Russian missiles strike near the major Ukrainian port of Odessa

As the war drags on Europe is feeling a greater squeeze as the Russian gas it once relied on is no longer able to meet their needs. EU countries are planning to create  proposal to wean themselves off of Russian gas for good as growing fears of Russia cutting off gas in the winter threaten to tank already struggling European economies.

A barrage of missile strikes hit areas across the northern Ukrainian areas around Kyiv and Chernihiv, which had not been targeted in weeks, which Ukrainian officials claim was a message from Russian forces trying to disrupt Ukrainian Statehood Day.

Russia faces criticism for its missile strike of the port of Odessa in western Ukraine, seen by many observers as a show of strength and a warning to Ukraine and the west on the heels of the key Turkish-signed agreement that will allowing Ukrainian food stuffs to get passed the Russian blockade.

UN Secretary General Antoni Gueterres warned that the world was facing a threat “not seen since the height of the Cold War” as he stressed humanity was “just one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation” while speaking at the opening of the tenth review conference of the signatories to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, in response to the US Senate passing a nonbinding resolution urging Secretary of State Antony Blinken to label Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, described the action the US “risk[ing] finally crossing the point of no return,” as “the logical result of such a step becomes a break in diplomatic relations…with all the ensuing consequences.”

The European Council imposed a new set of sanctions against former pro-Russian Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych and his son Oleksandr in response to  undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine and the state’s stability and security,” as well as reaffirming that “the EU stands firmly with Ukraine.”

Ukrainian President Zelensky has said that if Russian conducts its referendums in the occupied areas of Ukraine on whether to join Russia, Ukraine will refuse to entertain peace negotiations and the west will continue to withhold its economic support for Russia.

The Iranian built Khayyam satellite has been launched into space by Russia from Kazakhstan, while both the Iranian and Russian governments deny that the satellite will have any military function. But the Washington Post said that, according to two US officials, the Russian government has been planning to use the satellite for surveillance in Ukraine.

Sources outside of Russia report that the Russian army is facing some difficulties finding replacements for its armed forces, though the Russian government has denied such troubles. Russia’s continued insistence in referring to the invasion as a “special military operation” has limited the number of tools available at their disposal for recruiting soldiers, and general conscription has been seen by many observers as being unpopular in Russia, despite broad support for the war. This has forced the government to aggressively advertise for a shrinking pool of volunteers and recruit from prisons.  

Despite a warning from the Russian Foreign Ministry towards the US, the Latvian parliament, the Saeima, voted to designate the Russian government as state-sponsors of terror, as well as describing Russia’s actions in Ukraine as a “targeted genocide.”

Human rights advocates Amnesty International called on the UN Security Council to prioritize protecting Ukrainian civilians and holding Russia accountable for its aggression and the slough of war crimes for which it has been charged by Ukrainian and international rights groups. Amnesty International also specifically called out Russia’s attempts to obscure their crimes through focusing the Security Council sessions on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

EU member states like Estonia, Latvia, Finland and the Czech Republic, along with Ukraine, have called on the EU to ban Russian short-term visas used by Russian tourists as well as dissidents and those opposed to the war to visit EU states. Though many EU politicians, including Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, have taken up the call, the move has been described by higher level officials as unlikely to happen and could end up making Russia more isolated and insulated from opposing views than they already are.

Ukrainian Health Minister Viktor Liashko described Russian forces as preventing humanitarian corridors necessary for getting medicine to patients in occupied Ukrainian territories, warning that the Ukrainian government, “consider[s] them to be crimes against humanity and war crimes that will be documented and will be recognized.”

Current and former US officials have stated that they approve of reported attacks made by Ukrainian forces into Russian occupied Crimea. An anonymous current US Defense official told Politico, “any target they [Ukraine] choose to pursue on sovereign Ukrainian soil is by definition self-defense,” and when asked continued that “Crimea is Ukraine.” Former US ambassador to NATO and special representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker stated “Russian forces have no business being there, and attacking Russian forces in Crimea is no different than attacking them around Kyiv or in Kherson or eastern Ukraine.”

After Russia occupied the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant near the beginning of the war, Ukrainian and Russian forces are once again fighting in the area around the plant, with many in Ukraine and around the world worried about the potential danger this fighting near the plant could pose to Europe. Both sides claim the other is conducting false flag attacks to provoke or frame the other, and calls from the Secretary General to demilitarize the plant have gone unheeded.

The Russian Defense Ministry released a statement accusing Ukrainian forces being behind a rash of ill soldiers in the Zaporizhzhia area in late July. Ukrainian interior ministers have said that the compound found in the Russian soldiers, Botulinum toxin type B, is also found in expired food, and that could just as likely be the cause of their sickness.

The adult daughter of Russian ultranationalist propogandist Alexander Dugin, whose geopolitical strategy for a post-Soviet Russian foreign policy has guided Russia in Putin’s administration, was killed in a car bombing near Moscow. A source close to the victim said the car belonged to Dugin and he along with his daughter may have been the intended target. The Russian government has blamed Ukraine for the attack, which the latter denies. 

The UN Child’s Fund, also known as UNICEF, reported that at least 1,000 Ukrainian children have died or been wounded since the beginning of Russia’s invasion, though they noted that this only includes confirmed cases and that the real figure is likely even higher. They also say that 1 in 5 Ukrainian schools have been attacked or damaged, further bringing risks to Ukrainian children trying to return to school after the summer.

One of the few remaining free critics of the Russian government and former mayor of Ekaterinburg Yevgeny Roizman was arrested by Russian policy for his continued criticism of the war in Ukraine. Though the Russian government hasn’t confirmed the reason for his arrest, Roizman said he was to be charged for his use of the word “invasion” under strict new laws that ban criticism of the Russian armed forces.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources released a statement accusing Russia of over 2,000 incidents of Russian forces attacking or damaging Ukrainian natural resources, stating that the total degradation to Ukraine’s soil and water resources as well as air pollution caused by Russia’s invasion was worth 395 billion Ukrainian hryvnia, totally over $10 billion.

A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency, a UN affiliate and world experts on nuclear technology, arrived in Ukraine after weeks of anxiety over clashes near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. The plant remains in Russian control but is operated by Ukrainian engineers, while fighting continues around the plant and even leading to an artillery strike hitting one of its roofs. The team will have to travel through the frontlines to reach the plant, and according to sources within the team it will be one of their most complicated missions in the agency’s history.

The mayor of Enerhodar Dmytro Orlov, who lives within 2 miles of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant says he hopes the Russian forces now controlling the complex will move out, following an inspection by the United Nations nuclear regulators, the International Atomic Energy Agency this week.

.S. President Joe Biden announced he will petition an additional $11.7 billion in emergency funding from the US Congress to provide military and financial  support to Ukraine, as well as $22.4 billion for COVID-19 relief in preparation of potential fall case surges, bolstering the already immense support the US has provided Ukraine in weapons, financial aid, and medical support.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken landed in Kyiv to meet with President Zelenskyy and reaffirm the support of the United States government. Blinken also visited a number of child victims of Russian military action at the Ukrainian Children’s National Hospital, as well as workers rebuilding the city of Irpin.

Rafael Mariano Grossi, the Director General of the UN-affiliated International Atomic Energy Agency, said given the increased and continued shelling, there is little likelihood of re-establishing reliable offsite power to the plant, as shelling disrupted necessary infrastructure that connects the plant to the nearby the city of Enerhodar where the plant’s staff, resulting in a complete blackout that also threatens the nuclear facility. He called on both sides to establish a no-weaponry zone around the plant to keep it safe, though neither side has assented.

In a report compiled by the World Bank, the Ukrainian government, and the European Commission, the entities estimate that Russia’s invasion directly caused over $97 billion worth of damage to Ukraine through June 1 alone, and that the total cost to rebuild the country will be nearly $350 billion. The report also said Ukraine lost $252 billion from sustained disruptions to its economic flows and production, and expects Ukraine’s poverty rate to spike to 21% from just 2% before the war.

The frontlines of the war have shifted tremendously following successful misdirection by Ukrainian forces allowed them to take Russian forces in the north of the country off guard and retake huge swathes of the region. People in the occupied regions celebrate the rapid success along with liberating Ukrainian troops.

Senior Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Mykhailo Podolyak warned that Russia may step up its bombardment of the Ukrainian energy sector, including power plants, power lines, and generators, and urged Ukrainians to prepare for a potentially cold winter as Russian attacks disrupt heating.

The Washington Post reported that senior anonymous US officials told the publication that, despite the successes of Ukraine’s counteroffensive, the war remains far from over and warn that Russia’s response may be deadly.

President Zelenskyy announced that mass graves were found by Ukrainian forces in the recently liberated city of Izyum. Though the Ukrainian government said they were still investigating, an Associated Press journalist present said the grave contained 17 Ukrainian soldiers, and sat next to hundreds of individual graves in the same area.

In an in-person meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Putin during the Uzbekistani-hosted Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, the Indian leader said to his Russian counterpart, “today’s era is not an era of war.” Some analysts noted possible fraying relations over Russia’s continued war effort, though others note that India has consistently supported Russian in this war economically, refusing to join any sanctions and still buying Russian oil, and that this exchange may have been an attempt by Modi to appear neutral.

The Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, lands formerly ruled by Russian and Soviet overlords, banned nearly all Russians from crossing into their countries, citing persistent domestic support for Russia’s war with Ukraine. The bans, aimed at Russian tourists trying to travel west, include exceptions for humanitarian reasons, family members of EU citizens, Russian dissidents, serving diplomats, and a number of others.

As Ukrainian forces continue to roll back Russian gains in the northeast of the country, the military, government, and people of Ukraine have finding evidence of extensive torture and abuse conducted by the Russian army against Ukrainian soldiers, prisoners of war, and civilians, as well as evidence of mass killings. The Ukrainian government vowed to investigate all instances of war crimes and build a comprehensive case against Russia.

The Russian government, still insistent that the invasion is not a war but a “special military operation,” announced that it will begin a partial mobilization of hundreds of thousands of reservists. This will include those who have been in the military previous, had military training, or otherwise are in the military reserves, with the number most often cited as 300,000. Though not stated by the Russian government, analysts suspect this is in response to the success of the Ukrainian counterattack in Kharkiv.

Despite warnings from the Ukrainian government and many powerful members of the international community, the Russian government announced the beginning of referendums held in parts of southern and eastern Ukraine for joining the Russian federation. Many of the regions with referendums are not entirely or even mostly controlled by Russia, and no other international observer will be present to verify the results, leading many in Ukraine and the west to warn Russia will fabricate results favorable to itself.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey, before the UN General Assembly, called Russian’s invasion of Ukraine necessary, saying it had, “no choice,” but to intervene against the Ukrainian government. He also made claims of the west provoking Russia and of stoking “Russophobia” around the world.

Following the Russian government’s announcement of partial mobilization, scattered reports of violence and an evident rise in emigration are emerging from Russia. A man in Siberia named Ruslan Zinin shot a recruitment officer, while videos of arson against recruitment offices and protests are being shared across Russian dissident social media. Russian men of fighting age have also fled the Russia to neighboring countries.

Following a video released showing unexplained damage to the Nord stream pipeline, Swedish police announced  they will begin a preliminary investigation into possible sabotage after seismologists said they detected what they described as two explosions in the regions of the Baltic sea where the leaks have occurred.

Russia announced that the regions that held referendums to join the Russian Federation have come back as assenting, despite little international recognition. Along with the US-NATO-Ukraine aligned countries who already expressed their doubt in the elections, Russian allies like Kazakhstan and Iran have issued saying they will not recognize the referendums.

The US State Department released a statement explicitly denouncing the Russian-held referendums in Ukraine as completely illegitimate, promising to continue its support for Ukraine and quoting US President Biden in saying, “we will never recognize these areas as part of any country other than Ukraine, and we will support Ukraine for as long as it takes.”

The Ukrainian state nuclear company Energoatom released a statement saying Russian security forces stopped, blindfolded, then detained director-general of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant Ihor Murashov, and he has since been taken to an undisclosed location. The International Atomic Energy Agency said they were aware of the accusation and are attempting to petition Russia for his release, though Russia has not confirmed he is being held.

A number of notable political and military figures in Russia, as well as the Russian media, have aired more open criticism of how the war is being handled, though none criticize Putin or the justifications behind the war. Former senior official in the Russian Defense Ministry General Andrey Kartapolov criticized the war effort on Russian television, saying that officials are lying about the losses in border cities like Belgorod, and infamous Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov has made multiple rebukes of the Russian military’s poor organization and leadership.

Ukrainian culture minister Oleksandr Tkachenko accused Russian forces of deliberately trying to destroy artifacts related to Ukraine’s historical heritage, including the theft of 1,500 year old diadem that disappeared from a Ukrainian museum after Russian occupation of Melitpol. Tkachenko alleged the looting of historical artifacts has affected over 40 museums and amounted to hundreds of millions of euros in losses.

The Kerch Bridge that connects Russian-held Crimea to the rest of the Russian Federation was damaged in a massive explosion, leaving parts of it unusable and prompting critical Russia supplies traveling over the bridge to slow or cease entirely. Though experts says Ukraine is almost certainly responsibility for the attack, they have not taken credit for the attack and the means of its implementation remains unknown.

The President of the UN General Assembly Csaba Kőrösi said before an emergency session of the General Assembly that diplomatic channels need to be kept open between Russia and Ukraine, and that threatening to use nuclear weapons should be “universally condemned.” He reiterated the UN’s plea for peace.

Ukrainian cities are once again facing intense and indiscriminate bombing campaigns by Russian missiles and air strikes as Russian forces retreat in the east and south of Ukraine. Experts and officials in Ukraine say this renewed effort is a form of revenge for Ukraine’s attack on the vital Kerch Bridge that connects Russia to occupied Crimea.

In a document published by the Russian government, officials say repairs on the vital Kerch Bridge to Crimea are planned to be finished by July 2023. The bridge serves as the easiest connection between Crimea and Russia and serves as a critical supply route for Russian forces in southern Ukraine.

As Russia ramps up its bombing campaigns of Ukrainian cities, videos and reports from Ukraine appear to show Iranian Shahed suicide drones. Both Iran and Russia deny their use, but US and Ukrainian military intelligence have confirmed that the drones spotted and filmed appear to be a model of Iranian drone

In an address to the nation, Zelenskyy says Russian air and missile strikes have destroyed 30% of Ukraine’s power stations, leaving many Ukrainian cities with blackouts and power outages as winter draws closer. Zelenskyy appealed to his international allies to help bolster Ukraine’s air defense capabilities.

Zelenskyy warned the EU that Russia was attempting to create a second wave of flight from Ukraine by directly targeting Ukrainian power and water infrastructure. The European Commission has said it is updating its emergency migration contingency measures in preparation for Ukrainian civilians fleeing Russian attacks and poor conditions in a powerless winter.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu spoke over the phone in their first direct communication since May 13th. Both countries confirmed the discussion, which included the topic of Ukraine, and reaffirmed the importance of keeping lines of communication open.

Russian President Putin has announced the creation of a new committee meant to accelerate the production of weapons manufactories needed to keep Russian forces in Ukraine supplied following substantial losses of troops and equipment.

The Russian Foreign Ministry announced that Russia will be exiting the UN and Turkish-brokered grain deal with Ukraine for an unspecified amount of time. Russia accuses Ukraine of attacks on its ships and refusing to allow Russian fertilizer to be exported. Both the US and Ukrainian governments condemned the move as politically motivated under false pretences, and some experts fear food crisis will only worsen.

The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres  released a statement applauding the Russian government’s decision to reverse their suspension of their grain deal with Ukraine, thanking diplomatic efforts by Turkey and UN officials. Guterres said he, “remains committed to removing the remaining obstacles to the exports of Russian food and fertilizer.”

In his nightly address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, “about 4.5 million consumers have been temporarily disconnected from energy consumption,” because of Russian missile and drone attacks, accusing the country of resorting to “energy terrorism” because of their lack of success on the battlefield.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has laid out the steep conditions Russia needs to meet before negotiations can begin, ones Russia is unlikely to meet any time soon. They include returning all occupied territory, meaning also Crimea, paying war reparations for the invasion, the punishment of all war criminals, and a legal guarantee Russia will not invade again. 

The Russian government announced a general retreat from the beleaguered Ukrainian coastal city of Kherson, the largest and most populous city Russia managed to occupy during the invasion. But Ukrainian officials like presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak expressed their scepticism, warning of a potential Russian trick.

Following Russia’s official withdrawal from the city and its liberation by Ukrainian forces, President Zelenskyy told Ukraine in his nightly address that Russian forces dismantled the city’s infrastructure as they left, saying, “there is no electricity, no communication, no internet, no television. The occupiers destroyed everything themselves – on purpose.”

Despite wide ranging speculation and fear of a Russian attack of the NATO member state of Poland, the Polish President Andrzej Duda confirmed that the explosion that killed two Poles was not a Russian missile. He stated, “we have no evidence at the moment that it was a rocket launched by Russian forces. However, there are many indications that it was a missile that was used by Ukraine’s anti-missile defense.”

In a trial held with the accused being tried in abstentia, Russians Igor Girkin and Sergey Dubinskiy and pro-Russian Ukrainian separatist Leonid Kharchenko were convicted of shooting down the Malaysia Airlines over Ukraine in 2014 that killed almost 300 people. The three men were handed life sentences, but remain at large while the Russian government continues to deny any Russians were at fault for the downing.

In a largely symbolic but still significant move, the European Parliament declared Russia is a state sponsor of terror following its sustained and intensive attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure. The move was welcomed by President Zelenskyy and maligned by Russian officials.

President Zelenskyy told a news conference that the price cap on Russian oil barrels should be lowered to $30-$40 per barrel, rather than the G7 proposed cap of $60-$70, in order to ensure Russia is affected by western sanctions.

While in neighboring Romania for NATO talks, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the US will provide $53 million in extra assistance for repairing Ukraine’s damaged infrastructure as winter sets in.

As Russian drone and missile strikes continue to intensify and target Ukrainian infrastructure, Ukrainian power companies, including the state-run Ukrenergo and the private DTEK, are working around the clock to keep Ukraine’s power system repaired. But because of the strikes, Ukraine’s energy producers can no longer generate enough electricity to meet demand, and therefore have to impose scheduled power outages, often in blocks of four hours at a time.

During a televised meeting with Russia’s Human Rights Council, President Putin admitted that the “special military operation…can be a long process,” but said of any additional mobilization, “talk about any additional mobilisation measures simply makes no sense,” and that despite a number of threats made by his government, “we haven’t gone mad, we realise what nuclear weapons are…we aren’t about to run around the world brandishing this weapon like a razor.”

President Zelenskyy said during one of his nightly addresses that a Russian drone strike on an electrical facility, more than 1.5 million people in the Odessa region in southern Ukraine are without power in the midst of winter.

Reuters provided a summary of the damage done to the world’s economy up until December by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including record high inflation caused by skyrocketing oil prices and sharply worsening an existing  energy crisis as people and businesses struggle to afford fuel, forcing governments to invest in keeping large energy firms open and putting others out of business.

After the Russian Foreign Ministry warned of “consequences,” if the US sends Patriot Missiles to Ukraine, it will be a new escalation in the conflict and means, “the U.S. has effectively become a party [in the war],” a wave of at least 70 missiles rained down across Ukraine, including the capital of Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Zaporizhizhia

President Putin admitted that Russian forces were having difficulties in the occupied parts of Ukraine Russia illegally annexed in September, noting “terrorist attacks” and claiming “foreign special forces” were disrupting their control of the region, and exhorting Russian forces to more strictly control the occupied Ukrainians.

In his first visit to the US since the war began, Zelenskyy met with US President Joe Biden and spoke before the US Congress, appealing to lawmakers there to continue sending Ukraine support in its struggle against Russia. The US pledged to provide another $45 billion in support to Ukraine, as well as Patriot missiles.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Ukraine would be willing to negotiate with Russia the end of the war by February of next year, preferably with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as negotiator, but only after Russia faced a war crimes investigation, and noting that Russia has so far proved resistant to negotiation.

According to reports found by a number of media sites, Russian sausage oligarch Pavel Antov fell out of a window in the Indian city of Rayagada, becoming the latest in dozens of Russian oligarchs who have died or been found dead around the world since the war started. Antov had criticized the war in June, calling the Russian bombing of a residential building a “terror” attack. 

The US Treasury Department brought a new round of sanctions targetting six executives and board members in the Iranian defense conglomerate Qods Aviation Industries, citing its production of drones used by Russia to target Ukrainian civilians and infrastructure.

The Russian government announced that 50 Russian soldiers had been returned to Russia from “territory controlled by the Kyiv regime,” and Ukraine confirmed that 50 Ukrainian soldiers had been returned in exchange.

President Putin declared a 36-hour ceasefire on January 6th to 7th in accordance with the observance of the Eastern Orthodox date for Christmas. Ukraine rejected the ceasefire, saying it was a ploy by Russian troops to regroup and regain strength, and claimed that Russian troops carried out 40 shelling attacks during the truce period despite Putin’s declaration.

In response to Russian forces claiming they captured the eastern Ukrainian city of Soledar, President Putin claimed the war was going according to play, telling Russian media, “the dynamic is positive…everything is developing within the framework of the plan of the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff,” and that he, “hope[s]s that our fighters will please us even more with the results of their combat.”

An apartment complex in the southern Ukrainian city of Dnipro was hit by a Russian missile, with the reported death toll rising to 40 while 30 remain missing. Ukrainian sources further reported that 39 people were rescued and 75 were wounded, one of the deadliest missile strikes in weeks. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemned the attack.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov laid out a number of threats and warnings to the west if they supplied Ukraine with heavy weaponry like main battle tanks, saying, “potentially, this is extremely dangerous. It will mean bringing the conflict to a whole new level which, of course, will not bode well from the point of view of global and pan-European security.”

Corruption probes have been a key means of Ukraine proving its seriousness of meeting democratic standards for joining the EU, with a probe this week citing two Ukrainian officials for war profiteering. The first, against prominent Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, involved the purchases of military rations at inflated prices at the behest of the supplier, while . the other targeting a deputy infrastructure minister who was fired in a case linked to an overpriced public purchase of electrical generators. President Zelenskyy has promised a swift response to the allegations when and if they are proven.

A number of western nations, including the US, Germany, and Poland, agreed to send Ukraine dozens of their modern main battle tanks to Ukraine after months of negotiations and Ukrainian petitioning. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said these tanks’ military capacity is “clearly exaggerated,” while the Russian embassy in Germany called the move is, “extremely dangerous” and, “takes the conflict to a new level of confrontation.”

President Zelenskyy announced an international campaign to get Russian athletes banned from the 2024 Paris Olympics, following Sports Minister Vadim Guttsait warning Ukraine may boycott the games if Russian athletes compete. Spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova said that efforts to get Russian athletes banned are, “doomed to fail.” Russian and Belarusian athletes are already barred from competing under their countries’ colors, instead needing to compete under neutral organizations, and the Olympics have already stated they will not allow any Russian athletes who have directly aided the war to compete.

Ukraine’s Sports Minister and head of the Ukrainian Olympic Committee called for all Russian and Belarusian athletes to be banned from participating in the 2024 Paris Olympics, with the possibility of boycotting the Olympics if the International Olympic Committee doesn’t comply. Russian athletes are already barred from competing under their own flag, but Ukraine is pushing for the complete ban of any Russian or Belarusian national from competing.

The G7 nations agreed to price caps on Russian energy exports, including diesel, kerosene, and oil, which was followed up by the EU banning Russian diesel fuel and other refined oil products.

A statement from the Russian embassy in the UK quoted by Russian media warned of, “bloodshed,” during President Zelenskyy’s visit to London, where fighter jets were discussed to be on the table. The statement concluded by warning of, “the next round of escalation and resulting military and political consequences for the European continent and the entire world,”

After months of preparations in the winter, Russian movement throughout eastern Ukraine has been declared to be the long awaited offensive by Ukrainian officials, and has seen another round of intensive shelling in cities along the front. Ukrainian General Staff reported that 12 missile, 32 air strikes, and 90 rounds of shelling from multiple rocket launchers struck Ukraine within 24 hours.

In a statement released by the US State Department, Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Russia of a myriad of crimes against humanity. These include, “execution-style killings of Ukrainian men, women, and children; torture of civilians in detention through beatings, electrocution, and mock executions; rape; and, alongside other Russian officials, have deported hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian civilians to Russia, including children who have been forcibly separated from their families,” going on to conclude, “these acts are not random or spontaneous; they are part of the Kremlin’s widespread and systematic attack against Ukraine’s civilian population.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that, according to US intelligence services, the People’s Republic of China is planning to send weapons to their beleaguered ally Russia, something Blinken told press that he expressed to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi would be unacceptable to the United States, with US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield calling China sending lethal weaponry to Russia, “a red line.”

US President Joe Biden made a surprise visit to Kyiv to meet with President Zelenskyy, an early detour before his scheduled meeting in Warsaw in neighboring Poland. Biden toured the city with Zelenskyy and expressed his admiration and pledged continued support for Ukraine in the war.

During a televised addressed to the Russian people, President Putin accused the west of trying to, “inflict a ‘strategic defeat’ on us and try to get to our nuclear facilities at the same time,” and said that Russia will repudiate the 2010 New START treaty with the US that banned nuclear weapons tests following the end of the Cold War. This change, he stressed, was just a suspension rather than a total repeal, and could be reversed if the US addressed his accusations.

In an address to the nation, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy lauded the strength of the Ukrainian people, urging his nation to stand strong and promised victory in the coming year.

US President Joe Biden released a statement via the White House press room reaffirming US support for Ukraine and announced a new package of aid,

The People’s Republic of China released a statement calling for a negotiated end to the conflict, with Chinese Director of the Office of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission Wang Yi meeting with Putin and stressing this viewpoint, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Kazakhstani Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tileuberdi and President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the first stop in a trip aimed at the former Soviet Republics, and ostensible Russian allies, of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan, none of whom have endorsed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Blinken directly referenced Russia’s aggression against its neighbors in a thinly-veiled threat to Russian control over the region, telling reporters, “in our discussions today, I reaffirmed the United States unwavering support for Kazakhstan, like all nations. To freely determine its future, especially as we mark one year since Russia lost its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in a failed attempt to deny its people that very freedom.” Blinken also announced funding from the US related to expanding trade ties.

Two Ukrainian soldiers active in Donbas told the Associated Press that the weight of Russia’s greater number of troops is beginning to affect the front, saying, “The Russian mobilizational reserve is pretty much infinite,” and that Ukraine’s reserves of skilled soldiers are being expended, as, “most of the people that were ready to take guns and fight, they came in the first two months and those people are coming to an end,” leaving less motivated conscripts on the Ukrainian side.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met in person for the first time since the Russian invasion began in February of last year, holding an informal meeting while attending the G20 meeting held in India. Blinken told the press their brief meeting included nuclear weapons, the release of an American soldier, and encouragement of serious diplomatic efforts to end the war, while a spokesperson for Lavrov only said of the meeting it was held, “on the move,” and was at Blinken’s request.

Russian President Putin described an incident in the Russian-Ukrainian border region of Bryansk as a “terrorist attack,” which targeted civilians and was orchestrated by Ukraine, which Kyiv denies. The governor of Bryansk claims a drone targeted a home and killed a child.

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian Air Force wrote on their respective Telegram networks that a series of Russian missile attacks were carried out across the country, killing at least six people. The Air Force claims that 6 of the more than 80 missiles fired were Kinzhal hypersonic missiles, which Ukrainian forces are incapable of intercepting, and which they say have never been fired in this amount.

International tensions spike as the US and Russian militaries exchanged differing narratives of how a US drone flying over the Black Sea was downed, with the US saying it was deliberately struck by the wing of a Russian jet, while Russia claims the drone crashed due to making a sudden maneuver. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told media that the US is undeterred and will continue flying drones, “wherever international law allows,” and the US later released footage from the drone which appeared to show Russian jets dumping fuel on and then clipping the drone with its wing.

In a largely symbolic move, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for breaches of international law, specifically saying, Putin is, “allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of (children) and that of unlawful transfer of (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.” The Russian government immediately dismissed the move as politically motivated, and experts believe there is little, if any, chance Putin will be arrested given the largely voluntary jurisdiction of the ICC.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, fresh off his re-election earlier in the month, visited Moscow to meet with President Putin. The two expressed admiration for the other’s nation and reaffirmed their ties, as well as Putin saying he back Xi’s proposal for diplomacy and a political settlement in Ukraine. 

Prime Minister of Japan Fumio Kishida made a surprise visit to Ukraine, where the Japanese Foreign Ministry said he will, “show respect to the courage and patience of the Ukrainian people who are standing up to defend their homeland under President Zelenskyy’s leadership,” and reiterating the, “absolute rejection of Russia’s one-sided change to the status quo by invasion and force, and to affirm his commitment to defend the rules-based international order.”

The Ukrainian Air Force says at least 10 civilians were killed while 20 were wounded in a series of missile strikes across Ukraine, including one that targeted an aide center for refugees.

Following the arrest of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich on charges of alleged espionage, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the arrest “hostage taking,“ and that the US, “in the strongest possible terms…condemn[s] the Kremlin’s continued attempts to intimidate, repress and punish journalists and civil society voices,” while White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called the charges “ridiculous” and the arrest of an American citizen “unacceptable.”

An abbot of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra Metropolitan Pavlo of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has been placed under 60-days house arrest by Ukrainian officials. Pavlo maintains his innocence, while he and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Ukraine’s second-largest, have been accused of being pro-invasion and maintaining ties with the Russian-state aligned Russian Orthodox Church despite officially cutting ties after the invasion.

The northern European nation of Finland officially joined the US-backed NATO alliance, adding hundreds of kilometers of well-defended territory onto Russia’s borders in a huge blow to their strategic interests.

In a scandalous leak of US Defense Department documents detailing a number of foreign policy actions and analyses, a number of revelations were made about Ukraine, including estimates that indicate Ukraine may be running out of ammunition and that Ukrainian forces were more involved in previously denied operations in Belarus and Russia.

Japan became the first G7 country to purchase Russian oil at above the agreed upon $60 a barrel price cap agreed to earlier this year.

Shock and horror from around the world and in Ukraine following the release of what appears to be a Russian military unit brutally beheading a Ukrainian prisoner while he screams. Russian media and its armed forces have questioned the veracity of the video, but others are outraged by the alleged killing, with Zelenskyy calling the video an act of, “terror” and the Ukrainian SBU calling it a war crime.

The Presidents of Ukraine and Russia visited their respective troops at different areas of the front, with Zelenskyy visiting Avdiivka and Russia visiting occupied-Kherson, each encouraging their troops to hold firm.

During a joint press conference with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenburg, President Zelenskyy said that, though Ukraine has been invited to the NATO summit in July, he says the alliance should invite Ukraine to formally join the alliance, while Stoltenburg said, “Ukraine’s rightful place is in NATO.”

According to sources connected to the Washington Post, Iran has supplied their Russian allies with 300,000 artillery shells and 1 million rounds of ammunition since November. Alongside their notorious use of Iranian drones, these arms shipments represent the largest foreign supply of war material Russia has received since the war began.

Over 20 Russian cruise missiles were fired at Ukrainian cities, killing at least 19 people including 3 children when one of the missiles struck an apartment building in Uman, a city hundreds of kilometers from the frontlines of the war.

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