Since February of this year and the development of the Russian “Special military operation” in Ukraine, we’ve seen building tensions generate into war with many following developments. Now, three months later, the conflict has expanded all across Europe, bringing many NATO allies into the conflict and starting a new age “Proxy-War” covered by media worldwide.
To recap the last article about this situation, Russia’s invasion began taking a massive toll on Ukraine, pushing the nation to its limits and forcing military personnel into a siege of the Nation’s Capital, Kyiv. Citizens were given arms, small militias were formed in villages and cities, and many outside nations (especially NATO allies) spread awareness over the conflict to sway public opinion regarding Russia’s “unprovoked” engagement. At the time, NATO promised to stand with Ukraine but provided no direct assistance to the country, but rather sticking with ally defense with the first historical deployment of 40,000 allied troops from the NATO Response Force (NRF).
Since these changes, we have seen Western nations take a huge part in defending Ukraine and its assets. NATO allies have taken direct assistance, now providing Ukraine with money, weapons, and many other important items to keep the fight up. The US, UK, Poland, Estonia, and Germany have been crucial with providing Javelin anti-tank missile systems, as well as other anti-armor weapons. The United States has arguably been the largest supplier, with a $40 billion contribution to the nation, on top of the $4 billion already spent. A statement from President Joe Biden reads, “We cannot rest now. As I assured President Zelenskyy, the American people will continue to stand with the brave Ukrainian people in their fight for freedom.” This goes along with what other NATO leaders have stated regarding the situation “We have to be prepared for [the] long haul, both when it comes to supporting Ukraine, sustaining sanctions and strengthening our defenses,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg of Norway. There has been no military intervention by the alliance, but there has been a massive emphasis on defensive strategy, with many personnel being placed on bordering allies, such as Poland, Romania, Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia. There also has been a series of multinational military exercises being coordinated all over Europe as well. Overall, NATO has become far more involved with Ukraine over the recent months, supplying and preparing for further conflict.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
For Russia, many things are generally left unclear on how the situation in Ukraine is truly impacting them. Western groups claim that Russia is “failing” military-wise, and that the nation is struggling amidst the Ukrainian military and economic sanctions from all over the world. On the other side, Russia claims that the sanctions have not worked, and that the mission is not going as badly as it has been claimed to. Regardless, US intelligence believes a “new stage” of the war is coming, with increased artillery usage and a new push from Russian forces. For now though, Kyiv still remains even when another key city, Mariupol, has surrendered and fallen, so we can still expect resistance from Ukranians to the Russian military. The casualty list is incredibly uncertain at the time, as Russia has claimed to have killed 14,000 Ukrainian militants, while Ukraine’s President Volodomyr Zelenskyy has claimed that only 1,400-500 have died in service during the conflict so far. Ukraine claims 23,000 Russian deaths, but this also could be fabricated. Although news regarding events that are occuring in Ukraine has been massive and incredibly easy to access, not much is known regarding actual data and numbers from the battlefield. The East of Ukraine is falling more into Russian control, as villages containing militants have been surrounded and taken over, but the west mostly still remains in control of Ukraine, and it will be expected that further western defense will occur as this continues.
Current Russian Progress Map into Ukraine
Russian President Vladmir Putin has continued his claims of post WWll Naziism existing in Ukraine, which were an original reason for the initial military conflict. During Russia’s “Victory Day” Parade in celebration of Russia’s victory over Nazi Germany in WWll, Putin claimed once again that Russia’s military intervention was to rid Ukraine of “Torturers, death squads and Nazis.” A large public believes these claims to be a scapegoat for Russian resource and territory gain, but there is controversy surrounding white supremacist and Neo-Nazi groups that exist in Ukraine, such as the Azov Batallion, which operates with the Ukranian National Guard from eastern territory. This was previously discussed in the last article, as well as NATO’s push east that triggered a Russian response. Regardless of the intention, the Russian counter to NATO expansion has accidentally created a situation of fear in Europe, inspiring new members to arrive.
Two nations, Finland and Sweden, who have had close partnerships with the alliance, were essentially backed into the alliance out of fear over Russia’s advances. There will be debates regarding the introduction of these two nations to the alliance, but if they do, the number will grow to 32, and the alliance will grow stronger.
As for what happens next, there is no true prediction that can be made. Ukraine currently holds on to strength number wise and morale wise, with many supporting nations to assist them, but Russia’s military might has the potential of sweeping the rest of Ukraine as well.
Stay tuned on this developing story!