Leaders of the United States, Japan, India and Australia discuss the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine
Russia’s assault on Ukraine is only a week old, but its consequences have already been catastrophic.
In the seven days since Russian troops invaded their western neighbor, hundreds of people have been killed and a million have fled for their lives. Energy prices are skyrocketing, and food prices could follow.
No one can say for sure what will happen in the days and weeks ahead, but years of relative peace and stability in Europe have already been broken, and if the fighting drags on for months, the crisis could have further ramifications. more important.
What’s happening in Kyiv? Russian President Vladimir Putin has been very clear about his fundamental goals in invading: he wants to disarm Ukraine, sever ties with the NATO military alliance, and end the Ukrainian people’s aspirations to join the West.
He also said he wanted to rid the country of what he calls the “gang of drug addicts and neo-Nazis who moved into Kiev and took the entire Ukrainian people hostage”, a baseless and highly charged reference. to the democratically elected Ukraine. government and its Jewish president, Volodymyr Zelensky.
Russian forces surround the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, in an apparent push to overthrow the government, and a 40-mile-long military convoy is heading towards the city, which has been the target of multiple rocket and missile attacks in recent years. days.
Zelensky has vowed to keep fighting, but he is under no illusions that Putin’s forces “want to politically destroy Ukraine by destroying the head of state”.
If these forces take the capital, Ukraine has other politicians who might be eager to fill the ranks of a pro-Russian puppet regime.
One of Putin’s main allies in Ukraine is Viktor Medvedchuk, a prominent politician and oligarch. He faces treason allegations in Ukraine and has been placed under house arrest, but his exact whereabouts are unclear.
Territorial objectives: Russian forces are also waging campaigns away from Kiev, attempting to take control of key cities in southern and southeastern Ukraine, including Kherson.
The mayor of Kherson effectively admitted that Ukrainian forces had ceded control of the city on Wednesday, saying in a statement on his Facebook page that residents should accept the leadership of “armed people who came to the city administration” – in other words, Russian forces.
A former NATO commander told CNN: “It’s quite clear that Putin is pushing for a land corridor to Crimea.” Richard Shirreff, NATO’s former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, said the land corridor was “an obvious goal”.
“He’s had Crimea in the Russian Federation since 2014, he’s only been able to supply it through the Kerch Strait bridge, and so of course he’s looking to establish that land corridor off the Sea of Azov” , added Shirreff.
If Russian forces seize the port city of Odessa, it is possible to imagine Moscow creating a land bridge across southern Ukraine, potentially connecting Transnistria – a separatist enclave in Moldova, where Russian troops – in Odessa, Crimea and southern and eastern Ukraine.
Read the full analysis here.