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TWO YEARS ON: RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR

Today marks two years since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Before the war, Ukraine a country in Eastern Europe and the second-largest European country after Russia was one of the world’s largest exporters of grain with very fertile lands.

Ukraine is a unitary state and runs a system of government that is a semi-presidential republic. Categorized as a developing country, and battling corruption, it was Europe’s poorest country by nominal GDP per capita. It is a founding member of the United Nations, a member of the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

The region perhaps dating back thousands of years is not new to invasions in the annals of world history and Slavic ancestry.
Now two years into its fight against domination by Russia, TheLink News attempts a take on significant timelines of the ongoing and globally impacting war between Russia and Ukraine.

On 21 February 2022, Vladimir Putin who has been Russian President for a combined 19 years and 289 days and is up for election once again in March 2024, announced that he had recognized two Russian-backed separatist areas in eastern Ukraine, Donetsk and Luhansk, as independent states.

In response, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy declared in an official announcement that Ukraine had cut diplomatic ties with Russia. Igniting a speech on 24 February 2022 from Vladamir Putin on his pursuant intent to launch a “special military operation” in Ukraine.
Within minutes of that announcement, Ukraine’s capital and seat of government, Kyiv witnessed explosions as a full-scale invasion with thousands of troops crossing the country’s borders followed.

Thus far, there have been nail-biting developments that have captured a larger part of the world’s attention, dominated international news for a while, and drawn the ire of the West with the United States, United Kingdom, and European Union especially maintaining varied positions in support of Ukraine.

In mid-June of 2022, Ukraine began its counteroffensive against Russia following several weeks of anticipation according to some international news outlets. A series of claims by Western officials followed that Ukraine may have decimated a significant number of Russian troops impacting its reserve and the Russian Federation’s capability of a debilitating counteroffensive on Ukrainian troops.

But aside from the art and maneuverings of war on both sides, there have been other blindsides and offshoots of the ongoing war that have either captured the imagination or drawn deep condemnations such as the Wall Street Journalist Evan Gershkovich being detained in Russia since March 2023. He was arrested by the Russian authorities on espionage charges firmly denied by the U.S. government, the Wall Street Journal, Gershkovich himself, and other international news organizations. He has appeared before Moscow courts several times to appeal his pretrial detention.

Similarly, a journalist and Tatar-Bashkir Service editor of Europe/Radio Liberty, Alsu Kurmasheva, was in October of the same year detained and charged with failure to register as a foreign agent, according to the news medium. Currently, Gershkovich marking a year in detention in March, and Kurmasheva later this year remains in pre-trial detention in Russia.

Another noteworthy event is the ill-coordinated and botched armed rebellion of June 2023 that began in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don posing a threat to Putin’s reign over Russia. The situation was however neutralized a little over 24 hours after its occurrence.
The principal character in the rebellion was a somewhat protegee and longtime ally of Putin – Yevgeny Prigozhin who before a plane crash in August 2023 in Russia’s Tver region that took his life and others on board – was the chief of the paramilitary Wagner Group.

Back to the war, it can be said that there have been some shifts in the past few months raising concerns about Ukraine’s capacity to hold back or triumph over Russia. However, optimism is being maintained in quarters around the West in instances such as White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan saying that the war in Ukraine hasn’t devolved into a stalemate as he acknowledged it remains “hard going” against Russia.

In one of his many sit-downs with Western new media outlets, such as the one with ABC News, President Zelensky has been heard affirming Ukraine’s resilience saying “Well, it is absolutely clear, logical rhetoric that at that moment when Ukraine will reach the administrative border with a temporarily occupied Ukrainian peninsula, Crimea, it’s very likely that Putin will be forced to seek dialogue with the civilized world, unlike how it was before the full-scale invasion because he will be weakened,” Zelenskyy said.

But considering the issues surrounding delayed military aid of $44.9 billion to Ukraine by the U.S Congress, evidence is growing of Ukraine being at a disadvantage with a waning stockpile according to Ukrainian officials as continues to record heavy casualties in its counteroffensive against Russia.

A most recent example of that weakening counteroffensive was displayed last week with Russia gaining its first major territorial success in its war against Ukraine in over nine months by capturing the eastern city of Avdiivka.

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