By Kaden Scharnow
By now, we should all be aware of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Since February of 2022, Russian forces have been spilling into Ukraine in a conflict that’s lasted for 8 years. Many lives have been lost, with 5,587 Ukrainian civilians confirmed dead, and the actual number is believed to be in the tens of thousands. Losses have been heavy on both sides, with 9,000 Ukrainian soldiers killed, and 25,000 Russian soldiers killed. During the first few weeks of the invasion, Russian forces pushed the Ukrainian army further and further in, with relentless bombings of Ukraine’s major cities including it’s capital, Kyiv. These bombings were mainly focused on providing an advantage for the Russian’s, but the targets have also been civilian living areas. To the world, it seemed like Ukraine was no match for Russia’s huge army. For them, it seemed like a swift victory was in sight for its invasion. But as the fighting progressed, and more Russian troops fought and fell in Ukraine, the advantage started to shift.
When reports of a new Ukrainian southern offensive was about to take place, Russian forces frantically moved to the South to combat the oncoming battle. In the Russian-occupied Kharkiv region of Ukraine, as Russian forces started moving supplies and weaponry to the southern regions, Ukrainian forces were preparing for a surprise attack on the Kharkiv region. They suddenly make rapid advancements into the region, catching the remaining Russian forces off guard, and taking more than a third of the region in just three days, which was confirmed by the Russian defense ministry on Saturday, September 10th of this year. The operation was carefully planned to be what press officer of Ukraine special forces Taras Berezovets called “Disinformation operation”. To plan this secret operation, spokesperson of the southern command Nathalia Humenuik announced a ‘regime of silence’, temporarily banning journalists from the front lines. This was due to the mass public coverage of Ukraine taking back the Kherson region through July and August. They didn’t want public coverage of the surprise offensive.
With much ground retaken by Ukraine, and many Russian prisoners of war captured, the Russian Kremlin forces have increased the number and intensity of bombardments to try to stall the Ukrainian advances. Not only have Russian forces bombarded the Ukrainian military, but Ukraine’s ministry of education and science reports 2,532 educational institutions have been damaged, with 287 destroyed. Along with at least 140,000 residential buildings, estimating $108 billion in damages as of last month, with hundreds of thousands more now.
On September 13th, Ukrainian ambassador Oksana Markarova described Ukraine’s counteroffensive reclaiming of land as “One of the major turning points in the war” with “more than 2,500 miles of Ukrainian territory” and “almost 300 villages and different settlements freed.” In the freed city of Izium, Ukraine, burned out Russian tanks and military trucks littered the streets. A collapsed bridge riddled with signs warning of landmines, and a shelled petrol station, left in ruins. But signs of Ukraine’s victory in Izium were clear. Residents were relieved to see their city back in Ukrainian hands. When asked if it was a tough fight to take back the city, a soldier responded with “Not really.” More photos and videos can be found everywhere online showing abandoned Russian equipment in cities proving a massive loss in utility for Russia in the war. Videos also show Russian forces passing through the Kharkiv region back into Russia.
While Ukraine’s victory is almost in sight, Russian forces are pushing to take back the upper hand. Reports show Russian forces starting to advance to take more ground in occupied regions. And although the war is more in Ukraine’s favor, many more buildings and many more people might be hurt. If you’d like to help Ukraine with the fight against Russia, there are donations below to raise funds for the frontlines, life-saving services to people, and relief programs.