Updated: Apr 23
As I write this week's round-up of events in Ukraine, the war has entered a new phase - one focused on the Donbas and Russia's efforts to claim the entire region.
At the same time Mariupol remained in the headlines as the besieged city continued to hold out against the Russian attack.
Here is a quick run-down on the major stories of the week as I try to continue to understand what is transpiring.
Day 48. Tuesday 12th April 2022
Reports out of Mariupol begin to emerge that suggest chemical weapons have been used by Russia on civilians and the Ukrainian resistance forces.
Day 49. Wednesday 13th April 2022
It was reported that over 1,000 Ukrainian defenders had surrendered in Mariupol. While this was incorrect a number of Ukrainian forces did surrender to Russian forces. The map below shows just how intense the pressure on Mariupol's defenders is and how outnumbered they must truly be, (Map source: BBC World News)
Meanwhile at sea, the Russian guided-missile cruiser Moskva, was hit by Ukrainian missiles causing it to be severely damaged and evacuated in the Black Sea.
Day 50. Thursday 14th April 2022
The fiftieth day of the conflict began with a post from the United Nations stating that peace was the only way to protect the people of the nation.
It was claimed that Ukrainian helicopters had entered Russian territory and bombed residential buildings.
The Russian cruiser, Moskva, that was severely damaged by Ukrainian forces succumbed to the assault finally sinking days after the attack. This was a symbolic blow to Russia with this being the ship that had headed up the naval assault. All 510 of the crew survived* and Russia blamed the sinking and destruction of the vessel on an unexplained fire onboard – not the Ukrainian’s. This was the third largest vessel in the Russian fleet.
*So Russia says however there has only been proof that around 100 survived that came on the weekend.
Day 51. Friday 15th April 2022
On what is celebrated as Good Friday around the world, Ukrainian forces regained control over Rohan however a Ukrainian helicopter was shot down in retaliation for the bombings the day before. Also, in retaliation for Ukrainian attacks on Russian territory, Russia once again bombed the Ukrainian capital Kiev. Moscow later released a statement declaring that every time Ukraine conducted attacks on Russian territory it would be met with an attack on Kiev.
Day 52. Saturday 16th April 2022
Despite all Russian troops having been withdrawn from the Capital Kiev, the city was hit by an airstrike as was the city of Lviv in the West. This was the first attack on the western city and one of hundreds of places targeted by Russian bombs.
Russia banned a number of UK ministers, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson from entering the county due to their “hostile” attitude towards Russia.
Day 53. Sunday 17th April 2022
Russian forces now hold most of Mariupol however the besieged Mariupol continued to make headlines with those remaining in the city to defend Ukraine refusing to surrender and lay down their weapons. It was estimated that just a few hundred troops were keeping the Russians at bay and thus, the battle for Mariupol continues however it is estimated that tens of thousands have died and it is thought that there is little of the city left.
Day 54. Monday 18th April 2022
The week ended with Ukrainian President Zelensky declaring that Russia has launched an assault to seize the eastern Donbas with rocket and artillery fire raining down on cities in this region.
This marked a change in Russia's focus from seizing major cities and toppling the Government to consolidating power in the east and establishing a land bridge to link the Crimea region to Russia and gain control of the lucrative coal region (this is what makes the Donbas so desirable). These towns and cities now facing the Russian advance have had years of war experience owing to the war with the Russian-backed separatists. To learn more about the Donbas head over to my blog about the history of the region: Understanding the Regions at the Centre of the Current Conflict.
The map below, shared on the 14th April 2022 by the BBC World News, shows the projected path of the Russian invasion through this region.
Further Reading (A selection):
*This blog has been put together with multiple current news sources such as the BBC World News Podcast, local nightly news and media outlets such as News.com
Articles and Websites:
"Ukraine War in Maps: Tracking the Russian Invasion", BBC News (23 March 2022), <https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-60506682>
"War in Ukraine", BBC World News (multiple articles), <https://www.bbc.com/news/world-60525350>
War in Ukraine (website of the War in Ukraine hosted by Ukraine), <www.war.ukraine.ua>
"Global Conflict Tracker", Council on Foreign Relations (Updated 18 March 2022), <https://www.cfr.org/global-conflict-tracker/conflict/conflict-ukraine>
Disclaimer: The observations and comments made in this blog are made after reflecting on the news stories and histories I read. History plays a big part in how I understand the present so my comments largely take into account history and the role it has in the present. After all, those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it.