Ukraine Russia News-The Russian army has begun an offensive on two key cities in eastern Donetsk region. A statement by the Ukrainian Air Force said that Russian forces have fired six missiles at Lviv, targeting a fuel depot and an armored plant. The statement did not mention any human casualties, but it is worth noting that the number of border crossings between Ukraine and Russia has reached 9.5 million. Meanwhile, both sides accuse the other of shelling Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine.
Russian forces have begun assault on two key cities in the eastern Donetsk region
A day after Russian forces began an assault on the key eastern Ukrainian cities of Svitlodarsk and Mariupol, residents and local officials tried to keep life as normal as possible. Municipal workers planted flowers in public areas, and one explosion rocked the city. The explosion killed one person, injuring three. Meanwhile, Russian forces continued shelling the area, destroying at least seven homes and damaging a steel plant.
In addition, Ukrainian forces have been strengthening their positions around Sloviansk. Meanwhile, the Russians claimed to control the whole of Luhansk region, which they have not done.
The attacks on the city of Mariupol on Monday were widely portrayed by Ukrainian officials as the start of a long-promised offensive in the eastern Donetsk region. But independent reports have been scarce in the area. In spite of this, Russian military experts say the main goal of the campaign is to surround Ukrainian troops. It is hoped that the capture of Mariupol will deprive Ukraine of its major port and complete the land bridge between Russia and the Crimean Peninsula. At the same time, it will allow Russian troops to move elsewhere in the Donbas region.
The Russian army has been reportedly preventing the Ukrainian army from breaching the border with the city of Rostov. The Ukrainian government has denied this report and says that the city remains under Ukrainian control. A number of other European countries are providing safe quarters for refugees in the city of Donetsk. However, the Ukrainian government and the European Union are warning against such a move.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian general staff reported that Russian forces have attacked Kharkiv and Mariupol, and that more attacks will be launched in the south of the country. In addition to this, the Russian military has begun an assault on the town of Rubizhne. The Associated Press reported that the Russian forces have captured a steel plant and an “improvised” hospital in the region. The local officials say there are still approximately 300 civilians in the hospital, but it is difficult to verify their claims.
Western weapons have made a difference to the Ukrainian side
Ukraine’s forces need modern weapons and are eager to get them. They currently use Soviet-era weaponry. As a result, Western weapons are welcome to help Ukraine improve its capabilities and combat readiness. Western countries are scrambling to supply Kyiv with heavier and more sophisticated weaponry. Despite Ukraine’s improbable victories on the battlefield, the amount of Western weapons that the country can acquire will likely define the next phase of the war.
Modern Western weapons have been arriving in Ukraine in recent weeks. NATO member states have announced shipments of heavy weapons to Ukraine. Some of the more significant deliveries include HIMARS multiple rocket launchers, M777 howitzers, PzH 2000 howitzers, Zuzana and Krab self-propelled artillery, and Harpoon anti-ship missiles. Though these weapons and other equipment are not enough to totally defeat Russia, they are beginning to make a difference for Ukraine’s military.
Despite these improvements, Western countries have not been able to supply Ukraine with its own artillery and tanks. They’ve been slow to get there, though. In some parts of the country, Ukraine’s troops are fighting with Soviet-era leftovers that require a lot of repair and hard-to-find parts. The enemy’s artillery, for example, is only 15 years old and has no spare parts.
In response to the Russian army’s use of longer-range missiles, Ukraine began using HIMARS to strike distant targets. The Russians had already captured Kherson early on in the conflict. HIMARS is now used by Ukrainian forces to target Russian military targets. However, it is important to note that the Russians could take advantage of any errant strike to retake the city. However, this is still far from the extent of their use of long-range weapons.
Despite the use of Western weapons, Russian officials claim the new arms package is a provocation. Zelenskyy told Reuters that the use of Western weapons has changed the balance of power in the war. But he said that the Ukrainian government must be willing to give up the eastern part of the country. If they do not, the war could continue for the next several years. In the meantime, it’s hard to imagine how Russian weapons could have a positive impact on the situation in Ukraine.
Border crossings from Ukraine have surpassed 9.5 million
Since Feb. 24, the United Nations refugee agency has recorded 7 million border crossings out of Ukraine. Meanwhile, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex, says that more people are crossing the border back into Ukraine than leaving the country. Despite these numbers, it’s not clear if the war will end soon, as the conflict continues and neither side is willing to admit defeat. In the meantime, despite Russia’s intransigence, the country has been holding off the Russian attack on its capital, Kiev.
The war in Ukraine has forced more than two million people to flee the country. Many are children, and according to UNICEF and UNHCR, children represent half of the total number of refugees from Ukraine. Over 1.1 million children have reached Poland, while hundreds of thousands have crossed into Romania, Moldova, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. The humanitarian crisis is so severe that the UNHCR has called on Turkey and Russia to meet to ease the global food crisis.
The war has left tens of millions of people homeless and in need of life-saving assistance. The United Nations has worked to reach over eleven million people with life-saving assistance. Affected citizens of Ukraine are largely living in damaged buildings and homes. The United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has launched a winterization plan to aid the 1.7 million people affected by the conflict. Other aid efforts have included the provision of thermal blankets and repairs to collective centers.
Russia and Ukraine accuse each other of shelling Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine
The explosions and subsequent fires have prompted the Ukrainian nuclear power company to issue a warning that they are at risk of a nuclear disaster. Russian President Vladimir Putin has blamed the explosions on Ukrainian forces and warned that a nuclear disaster may be imminent. Ukraine’s state security service has arrested two men accused of being Russian intelligence agents, and said that the shelling targeted the plant’s spent-fuel storage facility. But Ukrainian operators have not yet confirmed the explosions, and the plant has been shut down.
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station was seized by the Russian army early in the war. Russian military claimed that the Ukrainian shelling caused a fire and power surge, forcing the nuclear staff to cut the output of two reactors. Ukraine blamed Russian forces for the incident, saying that they had stored weapons inside the plant. Nuclear experts said that the continued shelling around the plant was dangerous for Europe.
The IAEA has called for immediate access to the plant. Energoatom said that the shelling damaged three radiation monitors surrounding the nuclear storage facility, and that one worker was injured. In addition to the shelling, there was no electricity, plumbing or gas lines in the area. This is one of the reasons why the United States and Ukraine need to reach a resolution to the conflict.
The shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant has led to a crisis of a different magnitude. The explosion of radiation caused the power plant to shut down, and the plant’s operators lowered the output of the reactors to 500 megawatts. Ukraine’s President decried the shelling of the plant, calling it nuclear blackmail. Meanwhile, the United States pledged $1 billion in new military assistance to Ukraine. This would be the largest arms delivery ever given to the country.