Update on Ukraine



Members of the Honour Guard attend a rising ceremony of the Ukraine’s biggest national flag to mark the Day of the State Flag, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine August 23, 2022. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Shae Garofalo '25, Writer

Though it seems recent, the conflict between Ukraine and Europe actually started on February 20, 2014. However on February 24, 2022, almost exactly 8 years after the initial conflict began, Russia invaded Ukraine in a major escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian war. This caused an uproar in communities around the world and dominated the news cycle for weeks on end. The invasion and what Putin planned to do next was speculated upon by hundreds of news networks and people alike, everyone wanted to know what was going to happen next. Yet only ten months after the invasion, most people have not bothered to see what is happening in Ukraine. The topic still dominates news cycles, but fewer everyday citizens are discussing the issue and ways to help. Though the topic might be less interesting to some with the threat of nuclear war no longer dangling over our heads, I believe it is still important to be up to date with how this conflict continues to affect Ukraine and the millions of Ukrainians who have been displaced from it. 

As of December 10, the estimated number of losses by Reuters are as follows: 41,295 dead, 54,132 non-fatal injuries, 15,000 missing, 14M displaced, and 140,000 buildings destroyed. These statistics are meant to provide a mental image of what 10 months of this conflict has done to Ukrainians, but they are not the only pieces of information you should know. Battlefield advances in recent months have been looking very good for Ukraine, as they continually achieve key victories against Russia. Most notably on December 3rd, Ukrainian troops recaptured villages along the West bank of the Dnipro River in southern Ukraine, forcing Moscow to abandon grounds they had just claimed to annex days before. Additionally, Ukraine’s capture of a city within the territory of Putin’s declared annexation shows that Ukrainians are making progress and have the ability to push back against Russian forces. As of November 21, Russia controls approximately 40,000 square miles in Ukraine, with the majority being in the East and South. Most recently many in the Odesa region of Ukraine are without power after Russian air strikes, a frightening reality in the coldest months of the year. It is important to remember the main goal of Russia throughout this conflict is to keep Ukraine out of NATO and the Euro-Atlantic community as a whole. Their goal is to keep Ukraine aligned with Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union. 

All of these battlefield updates and statistics are to say that the conflict is far from being over, which means that we are far from being able to forget about its existence. Russia is clearly playing the long game regarding overtaking Ukraine and has no intention of backing out of the country anytime soon. But this is not to say that there is no hope for the people and country of Ukraine, in fact, many experts believe that there is a large possibility that they will come out of the conflict on top. Besides the recent updates in Ukraine, I think there is an important point to be made about continuing to care about topics even after they stop affecting us, and even after the “hype” around them has died down. Because the truth is that Ukrainian people do not get to ignore that their country is under attack every day, and even though we Americans are most likely not facing those circumstances, that does not mean we get the privilege of turning a blind eye to what is happening. This is not to say you must be out in the streets every day protesting and donating hundreds of dollars to relief funds every month, but rather that maybe you take 20 minutes out of your day to google “Updates on Ukraine”. And if you see that thousands of Ukrainian people are currently without power and decide to make a donation to help that is great, but this form of community aid can not be sustained if we choose to stop caring about things once they no longer serve us.