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United States assists Ukraine’s Resistance Against Russian Forces

Jeremy Andrew, contributor

The war in Ukraine has only continued to grow in scope and complexity. The ferocity of the Ukrainian resistance, unexpected by Russian forces, has been met with increased ruthlessness on the part of Vladimir Putin, who began bombing Ukrainian hospitals and schools late last month. Conflict has become focused along Ukraine’s eastern and southern borders with Russian forces withdrawing from Kyiv. The cities of Melitopol and Izyum in the southeast are now under full Russian occupation. The cities of Kharkiv in the northeast and Mariupol in the southeast have become the sites of rising tension and horrific violence.

Recent revelations concerning a mass grave of between 150 and 300 bodies in the city of Bucha have raised accusations of civilian killing, torture, rape and genocide against Russian forces. According to a story written in Aljazeera, Russian officials have called the accusations around Bucha “a monstrous forgery” and a “provocation” aimed at foiling talks between Russia and Ukraine. Ukraine’s defense ministry reports most of the 160,000 remaining residents of Ukraine have no light, communication, medicine, heat or water. Around 600,000 Ukrainians have been evacuated into Russia, Russian officials claim the movement has been voluntary while Ukrainian officials claim Russia has been conducting mass deportations of the Ukrainian people

Although the United States has warned that the change in Russian tactics likely signals a “protracted” conflict, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been looking forward to the end of the conflict. According to Aljazeera, Zelenskyy has been voicing his hope that Ukraine will become a “big Israel” with armed security forces at supermarkets and cinemas. Zelenskyy’s failure to rally other democracies to join the conflict has clearly contributed to his shifting vision for Ukraine. While the reforms he pursued earlier in his presidency signaled a desire to reform Ukraine in the image of a western liberal democracy, much like Switzerland, witnessing his country become singly swallowed in unimaginable violence has evidently brought out a much more cynical side of the president. His most recent call upon the United Nations, to either act in defense of international law or dissolve itself altogether, speaks to his new disposition, and indicates the stakes of the conflict. 

The west has not been totally unresponsive. Joe Biden has given the okay to send $100 million worth of Javelin armor-piercing missiles to Ukraine. European Union countries have expelled over 200 Russian diplomats. A new round of sanctions has been announced, with targets including Putin’s own children. And Britain announcing it has successfully frozen at least 60% of Russia’s war chest. Peace talks were held last month in Istanbul where Russia promised to deescalate operations in Kyiv and Chernihiv. However, these were considered unproductive with Zelenskyy and his allies and regarded Russia’s promises as insincere. The recent removal of forces from Kyiv and Chernihiv, however, offers some hope that peace is not off the table.