Written by Dream Nicole with information from the New York Times.
Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some very hot tea and involves Russia and Ukraine.
On February 24, 2022 Russia invaded Ukraine with forces coming in from Belarus. Here is are the updates and how this all started.
Just before 6 a.m. Thursday February 24,2022 Russian president Vladimir Putin addressed his nation, declared the start of a “special military operation” in Ukraine. The goal, he said, was to “demilitarize” but not occupy the country. Minutes later, large explosions were visible near Kharkiv, which is Ukraine’s second largest city, and blasts were reported in Kyiv, the capital, as well as other parts of the country. And soon, Ukraine’s Interior Ministry reported that Russian troops had landed in Odessa and were crossing the border.
Before the invasion, Russia made a list of demands to reshape that structure positions and NATO and the United States rejected.
After the former Soviet Union collapsed, the North American Trade Organization (NATO) expanded eastward, taking in most of the European nations that had been in the Communist sphere. The Baltic republics of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were once parts of the Soviet Union soon joined NATO, as did Poland, Romania and others. As a result, NATO moved hundreds of miles closer to Moscow, directly bordering Russia. In 2008, NATO stated that it planned some day to enroll Ukraine, though that has not happened. Putin has described the Soviet disintegration as a catastrophe that robbed Russia of its rightful place among the world’s great powers and put it at the mercy of a predatory West. He has spent his 22 years in power rebuilding Russia’s military and reasserting its geopolitical clout.
Putin calls NATO’s expansion menacing, and the prospect of Ukraine joining it a major threat to his country. As Russia has grown more assertive and stronger militarily, his complaints about NATO has increased. He has repeatedly invoked the specter of American ballistic missiles and combat forces in Ukraine even though the U.S., Ukrainian and NATO officials insist there are none. Putin has also a insisted that Ukraine and Belarus are fundamentally parts of Russia, culturally and historically. He holds considerable sway over Belarus, and talks about some form of reunification with Russia have gone on for years.
Then the East-West relations worsened drastically in early 2014, when mass protests in Ukraine forced out a president closely allied with Mr. Putin. Russia swiftly invaded and annexed Crimea, part of Ukraine. Moscow also fomented a separatist rebellion that took control of part of the Donbas region of Ukraine, in a war that still grinds on, having killed more than 13,000 people.
In December 2021 Russia presented NATO and the United States with a set of written demands that it said were needed to ensure its security. Foremost among them are a guarantee that Ukraine would never join NATO, that NATO draw down its forces in the Eastern European countries that have already joined, and that the 2015 cease-fire in Ukraine be implemented though Moscow and Kyiv disagree sharply on what that would mean. The West dismissed the main demands out of hand, while making overtures on other concerns, and threatening sanctions. Moscow’s aggressive posture has also inflamed Ukrainian nationalism, with citizen militias preparing for a drawn-out guerrilla campaign in the event of a Russian occupation.
Biden made clear that his administration was not considering sending troops to fight for Ukraine since Ukraine is not a member of the NATO alliance and does not come under its commitment to collective defense. Instead, the United States has sent anti-tank and antiaircraft weapons to Ukraine, increased the American military presence in NATO countries that border Russia, and put 8,500 troops on high alert for deployment to Eastern Europe. Administration officials also warned that the United States could throw its weight behind a Ukrainian insurgency should Russia invade Ukraine. But the real cudgel is financial. Before the invasion, Biden threatened Putin with “economic consequences like none he’s ever seen.” Afterward, he began to put them in place. Earlier in the week, after Putin formally recognized two Russian-backed separatist states in eastern Ukraine, the White House and European allies unveiled an initial slate of economic penalties.
Maps: Tracking the Russian Invasion of Ukraine https://nyti.ms/3HPQBVB
Russian forces pushed toward Kyiv from the north and east, but had yet to take the capital on Saturday after heavy shelling and intense fighting. After failing to capture Chernihiv, Russian troops moved around the city toward Kyiv, according to an analysis by the Institute for the Study of War, a research group in Washington.
Troops crossed into the Russian border at several points and advanced toward Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine. On Friday, the fighting appeared to center a few miles outside the city limits, near the village of Tsyrkuny. A Kharkiv government Telegram account on Saturday said Russian troops were being fought at multiple points to the north and southeast of the city. Russian forces coming from Crimea pushed north toward Zaporizhzhia and east toward Mariupol. There has been heavy fighting on a bridge in the city of Kherson, and Russian troops blew up a dam on the North Crimean Canal, built by Ukraine in 2014 to block Crimean water supply from the Dnieper River. A majority of the more than 150,000 Russian forces massed against Ukraine are now fighting in the country according to a senior Pentagon official, up from about one third on Friday.
Ukrainian forces put up a fierce battle on Saturday to hold Kyiv, the capital, as Russian troops pressed in from all directions. What until three days ago had been a thriving European metropolis has been transformed into a battle zone. While Ukrainian forces appeared to keep control, fighting reached the city center before appearing to quiet later on Saturday. Combat was seen 400 yards from Maidan Square, according to Ukrainska Pravda, a Ukrainian news site, citing witnesses. There were reports of clashes near the city’s train station closer to the center, according to the witness accounts. Intense fighting could be seen along Peremohy Avenue, a main thoroughfare. Videos verified by The Times showed vehicles on fire on the street in the neighborhood of Shuliavka, near the Kyiv Zoo.
A residential building was struck by a missile in southwestern Kyiv on Saturday morning, injuring at least a half dozen people. Russia has established attack lines into three cities Kyiv in the north, Kharkiv in the northeast and Kherson in the south, and Ukrainian troops are fighting to hold all three.
At least 18 Ukrainian military officials were killed in an attack outside Odessa, where amphibious commandos from the Russian Navy came ashore on Thursday, according to Sergey Nazarov, an aide to Odessa’s mayor. In the east, Russian backed separatists fought Ukrainian troops along the front line that has divided the rebels and Ukrainian forces since 2014. The Russian military also moved north from Crimea, headed in the direction of Kherson. Footage captured by security cameras at a border crossing Thursday morning showed Russian military vehicles entering from Crimea.
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine agreed on Sunday to talks with Russia “without preconditions,” even as President Vladimir Putin further escalated tensions by placing his nuclear forces on alert. “We agreed that the Ukrainian delegation would meet with the Russian delegation without preconditions on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, near the Pripyat River,” Zelensky announced on his official Telegram channel, describing a phone call Sunday with President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko of Belarus. Lukashenko “has taken responsibility for ensuring that all planes, helicopters and missiles stationed on Belarusian territory remain on the ground during the Ukrainian delegation’s travel, talks and return,” Zelensky continued.
Justt before Zelensky’s announcement, Putin issued a new threat to the West, which has increasingly rallied behind Ukraine as its citizens and its military fought back against the Russian invasion. In brief remarks aired on state television, he told his defense minister and his top military commander to place Russia’s nuclear forces on alert, characterizing the move as a response to the West’s “aggressive” actions. Not only are Western countries implementing “illegitimate sanctions” against Russia, Putin said, “but senior officials of leading NATO countries are allowing themselves to make aggressive statements directed at our country.” Many analysts had expected Putin to use nuclear threats to push back against the West as tensions rose.
Details about the meeting at the border were not yet clear, including who would participate. Zelensky earlier on Sunday had rejected holding talks in Belarus as Russia has been demanding because Russia staged part of its invasion from Belarus after amassing troops in the country. But Mr. Zelensky’s stance shifted after he spoke by phone with Lukashenko, the Belarusian leader, Putin’s closest international ally. Zelensky said he received “assurances” from his Belarusian counterpart that “missiles, planes and helicopters” would not fly to Ukraine from Belarus ahead of negotiations that will take place on the border between the two countries. “I will say frankly that I do not really believe in the outcome of this meeting, but let them try to make sure that no citizen of Ukraine has any doubt that I, as a president, did not try to stop the war,” Zelensky said.
President of the European Union commission, Ursula von der Leyen announced an E.U.-wide ban on all Russian aircraft. The bloc also said it will finance the donation of weapons to Ukraine and ban Kremlin funded global broadcaster RT and extend new sanctions against Belarus.
And the oil giant BP announced that it would “exit” its nearly 20 percent stake in Rosneft, the Russian state controlled oil company, saying its involvement with Rosneft “simply cannot continue.”
The diplomatic news came on a day when Russian troops, at least for a time, drew closer to the center of Kharviv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, according to videos and photographs that were analyzed by The New York Times. The footage showed Ukrainians firing rockets toward Russian troops, as well as some Russian military vehicles burning and others being ransacked by Ukrainian forces.