Tensions rise in Ukraine following Russian Invasion
Tensions in Europe have drastically risen again in the last couple of weeks with Russia launching a full out invasion of Ukraine, the first major political conflict in Europe since the Second World War.
Russian forces have attempted a full-scale assault on Ukraine, with its military attacking the country from the north, east and south targeting key points of interest including the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.
It has also attacked major cities and areas of strategic importance to the east of the country including several key airstrikes in both the second city of Kharkiv to the east and the port city Mariupol which is home to over 500,000 people.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has defended his actions claiming the invasion is necessary to defend Russian sovereignty and protect the East from increased NATO influence in the region.
Putin’s actions have been condemned by numerous politicians and heads of state across the globe including President Biden who stated, ‘this invasion will cost Russia dearly’.
In response to the invasion, several countries including the UK, have placed their most severe sanctions to date on the Russian state, including targeting Russian financial institutions, multinational companies and individuals in the UK with ties to the Putin regime.
Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, who has links to Arsenal and Everton football clubs, is one individual targeted, as well as former Russian deputy prime minister Igor Shuvalov, who has had imposed a travel ban and full asset freeze.
Moreover, the London Stock Exchange has ceased trading with major Russian firms such as EN+, Gazprom, Lukoil, Rosneft and Sberbank as of 3 March 2022, significantly limiting Russia’s capability to trade in pound sterling with similar sanctions from the US and impacts of trade in US Dollars for the state.
The US, EU, UK and other allies say they have agreed to remove some Russian banks from the Swift payments system also significantly impacting the Russian economy.
Despite the heavy sanctions and global condemnation, Putin continues his offensive campaign into Ukraine this week with the missile shelling and capture of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant Zaporizhzhia in the South East of the country.
Russian forces have also taken over the infamous Chernobyl nuclear station in the North, whilst Ukrainian cities and points of interest are still under attack from Russian airstrikes.
These have reportedly resulted in 2 civilians being killed in the city of Zhytomyr, west of the capital Kyiv, as well as strikes on oil depots in the capital.
Further strikes on oil depots in the town of Vasylkiv, in central Ukraine, close to Kyiv have seen the mayor raise his concern for the toxic fumes that have resulted from the aftermath.
The consequence of the conflict has formed a new, severe refugee crisis on the continent with thousands of Ukrainian people being forced to evacuate their homes and flee to neighbouring countries such as Poland to the north.
BBC News has reported a 27-hour-long queue of women and children on the Moldovan border as of 4th March.
From this, further controversies have also risen with foreign nationals living and studying in Ukraine reportedly struggling to be able to leave the country.
Students of African and South Asian origin are reportedly being passed over for aid and evacuation assistance over Ukrainian nationals, according to some sources.
In order to protect citizens from oncoming attacks and retaliation from Ukrainian forces, President Zolensky of Ukraine has introduced a curfew in the capital from Saturday evening to Monday morning.
Kyiv’s Mayor and former heavyweight Boxer Vitali Klitschko has stated anyone seen on the streets during this time will be considered a ‘Russian saboteur’ and will be liable to attack from the Ukrainian forces.
This news follows shortly after air raid sirens were heard in the capital on the 3 March at around 10pm at night signalling more Russian missiles inbound to the capital.
Despite the continued attack on Ukrainian sovereignty and democracy from the Russian state, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has stated they do not believe the Russian forces are progressing as initially planned “They are suffering from logistical challenges and strong Ukrainian resistance,” a short statement released on Twitter reads.
The MoD said Russian forces have sustained casualties and some have been taken prisoner by Ukrainian forces.
Nevertheless, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has commented saying she believes this conflict could continue for a considerable amount of years with no clear diplomatic solution in sight as of now.