Russian-Ukrainian Conflict Update #3


(Image courtesy of Heidi Levine/Washington Post)

Ukrainian service members are conducting drills at a training site in the capital city of Kiev.

Luis Ortiz

As Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces have failed to topple the government in Kiev so far, they are turning to the east of the country where pro-Russian separatist forces are already controlling a considerable portion of territory there. 

Meanwhile, many countries are now taking a position on the conflict by sending military equipment to Ukraine. The Ukrainian government is not only asking for helmets, vests, and more. They now want real weapons such as 11 Mi-17 helicopters, 18 155 mm Howitzer cannons, and Switchblade drones, specifically from the United States. 

At the request of the Ukrainian government, the Biden administration will be sending equipment worth $800 billion, including many of the high-powered weapons mentioned above that were not included in previous packages sent to the country. 

Recently, the war has drawn further international outrage because of reports of targeted civilian killings in cities under Russian control. One such case is the eastern city of Bucha, where mass graves were found after the withdrawal of the invading forces. The situation was so bad in the country that a top International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor, the court where crimes against humanity are investigated, visited the city. 

“Ukraine is a crime scene. We’re here because we have reasonable grounds to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC are being committed. We have to pierce the fog of the war to get the truth,” says chief prosecutor Karim Khan after his visit to Bucha. 

During a trip to Iowa on April 12, U.S. President Joe Biden labeled Putin’s actions in Ukraine as “genocide” for the first time since the beginning of the conflict. 

“I called it genocide because it’s become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out even the idea of being Ukrainian,” Biden says to reporters in Iowa. 

The Kremlin has also repeatedly threatened to take actions against Sweden and Finland if they intend to pursue NATO membership. Since the start of the invasion, both countries have expressed interest in joining the world’s largest military alliance. Consequently, since Putin sees NATO as a threat against his country, the government warned they will install nuclear weapons in the Baltics, the region in Europe where the two countries are located. 

As of April 13, more than 4.7 Ukrainian refugees have left the country since the start of the invasion of February 24. Most of them have seeked safety in Poland, but others made it to other neighboring countries such as Moldova, Romania, Hungary, and Slovakia.