The invasion of Ukraine by Russia is the largest crisis to hit Europe in decades. The conflict has led to over seven million refugees fleeing into neighboring countries, and many more have been displaced within Ukraine. There are also concerns about Russian influence on internal affairs. Despite some initial progress, tensions between Ukraine and Russia remain high.
The United States wants to maintain its military presence in eastern Europe, while ensuring that the Ukraine remains a part of the Western alliance. But in recent weeks, Putin has ordered the mobilization of 300,000 troops. This includes tens of thousands of troops in Belarus and Russia, along the border with Ukraine.
In addition to the influx of refugees, there is now a large humanitarian crisis in the country. Over five thousand civilians have died, and more than six thousand buildings have been damaged. Most of the casualties are women and children, and the bombings have targeted civilian infrastructure. Currently, the International Rescue Committee is calling for an immediate ceasefire.
Until the end of August, the government of Ukraine launched a major counteroffensive against the Russian military. This resulted in the retaking of thousands of square miles of territory in the Kharkiv and Kherson regions. These gains marked a huge setback for Moscow. However, the violence continues. Thousands of soldiers continue to attack the region, and tens of thousands of reservists are being withdrawn.
While the United States is a key ally of the Ukraine, the country is still struggling to bridge internal divisions. Many Ukrainians want stronger connections with other Western nations. They also want to join NATO and the EU.
Russia has attempted to annex four regions of Ukraine, including the Donbas, and has amassed tens of thousands of troops. However, the UN Security Council has condemned this move, and Russia has vetoed it. Several iterations of the Minsk agreements have been signed, reducing the fighting.
Several women’s rights groups have been attacked by armed assailants. Some groups accused police of allowing violence against women to happen. Women’s rights activists complained to the police, but were not allowed to file charges.
During the fighting, two young men were also attacked by a mob. Another was arrested and a police officer joined the assailants, subjecting the man to mock execution with a pistol. The UN human rights office said that the investigation into these allegations was incomplete.
One former prisoner of conscience, Vasil Muravitskyi, was forced to leave the country. He was being investigated for accusations of abuse, and was threatened by a group that advocates discrimination and violence. Those allegations have been referred to the State Investigation Bureau of the Khmelnitsky Region.
Since the start of the conflict, more than five hundred civilians have been killed. This number includes victims of live fire, explosive remnants of war, and natural causes. It is difficult to know how many more people will die in the coming months, but it is believed that the bombing will lead to the worst humanitarian crisis in Europe in decades.