This week's reflection is a little later than usual but sadly it doesn't hold any better news when it comes to what is transpiring in Ukraine.
This blog looks at the last seven days of month #2 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Day 55. Tuesday 19th April 2022
Following on from the Russian declaration that they were changing their focus to the Donbas, the tourist town of Sviatohirsk in the region prepared for the oncoming Russian assault. In 2014 it was captured by the Russians before being reclaimed by Ukraine.
Those civilians who remain prepared to fight alongside the Ukrainian soldiers. This was just one of hundreds of towns hit by Russian fire.
The city of Kreminna in Luhansk was seized by Russian forces with Ukranian troops withdrawing. This came as it was reported Russian troops were now fully withdrawn from around the capital.
Day 56. Wednesday 20th April 2022
Mariupol remained in the headlines with thousands of civilians still trapped in the besieged city and Russian once again accused of bombing civilians.
Russian media reported that overnight over 1,000 Ukrainian military facilities were hit and on the same day Germany made the announcement that they would phase out Russian oil imports by the end of 2022.
Day 57. Thursday 21st April 2022
Russian President Putin gave the order for Russian troops to hold off storming the steelworks in Mariupol where thousands of locals were taking refuge. This location has become the last main point of resistance for the besieged city. Instead of storming the precinct Putin ordered Russian troops to simply cut it off, starving those inside of all essentials such as food and medical supplies. Withstanding this location Russia claimed victory in Mariupol.
On the same day satellite imagery appeared to show the grim discovery of a large mass grave just outside the city of Mariupol. Given the situation it has been hard to obtain actual information form much of the region but those satellite footage was devastating with around 200 new graves located. This is just a drop in the bucket according to those in Mariupol who believe tens of thousands of civilians may have been killed.
Day 58. Friday 22nd April 2022.
Today marked the start of Orthodox Easter, which is the religion of most people in Ukraine, however it was not celebrated in the same way it would be usually have been. Instead locals mourned almost two months of war and in Luhansk churches were targeted by Russian forces. Ukrainian media noted that at least 42 towns and villages in eastern Ukraine had been seized by Russian forces.
Day 59. Saturday 23rd April 2022
For the first time since western media reported the loss of the Russian ship, Moskva, it was confirmed by the Russian’s that the ship had indeed been lost with at least one crew member known to have died while 27 remain missing. The other 396 had been rescued. For more on this ship and what this means to the Russian war effort see my last blog on Week 7 (click here).
The world’s attention was drawn to the small breakaway “nation’ Transnistria which is officially part of Moldova in an area that border’s Ukraine. When the Soviet Union collapsed the region declared its independence, but this was not recognised internationally and the region remains part of Moldova.
The area is loyal to Moscow with Russian troops stationed in the region. This relatively unknown region to many made the headlines as it was claimed Russia was attempting to create a land bridge to the region so it could also be annexed. This would mean that Russian intended to seize not just the Donbas but the whole of southern Ukraine. From the map at the top of this blog you can see just how much more land could be in the firing line for Russian troops if this is the case.
In the port city of Odessa Russian missiles killed at least eight people in a strike targeting civilian apartments.
Day 60. Sunday 24th April 2022
Today marks two months since Russia invaded Ukraine and was also Orthodox Easter.
Day 61. Monday 25th April 2022
The Ukrainian railways were targeted by Russian troops as a way to disrupt supply chains and civilians fleeing the war.
The conflict now enters its third month and it seems unlikely an end to hostilities with be reached soon.