100 Days of War in Ukraine

Russia’s war on Ukraine has passed the 100-day mark as of this morning. Putin’s forces first invaded on the 24th of February, and have since seized power in large swaths along the country’s eastern flank.

What’s happened so far

Over the past three months, major Ukrainian cities have faced repeated attacks. Thwarted in their attempts to take the capital, Kyiv, Russian forces redirected their efforts to the country’s east.

The city of Mariupol took the heaviest and most prolonged fire, coming under siege for two months. Mariupol is a port city on Ukraine’s south-east coast, and therefore a key strategic target for Russia. Ukrainian officials say the civilian death toll is over 20,000, and that 95% of the city has been destroyed by bombing. Ukrainian soldiers sheltered in the Azovstal for weeks at the end of the siege, but this last pocket of resistance was eventually quashed and they were seized as POWs.

Starting on the 18th of April – day 54 of the war – Russia launched a renewed eastern offensive in the Donbas regions. Frontlines around the major city of Donetsk have become a fierce point of fighting once more. The primary aim of the eastern offensive is to consolidate the separatist regions and thus to link the eastern flank to the annexed Crimean Peninsula.

What’s happening now

As of yesterday, there have been a reported 6,376,834 refugees forced out of their homes by the war. The city of Severedonetsk, in the Luhansk region, is the current Russian target, and it is continuing to make steady gains there.

Sources report the attack on Severodonetsk has left the Russian offensive in Kherson vulnerable to Ukrainian resistance.

Russian forces already control two-thirds of the city, and it is likely to fall quickly. Still, Ukrainian soldiers remain currently in control of the Siverskiy Donets river crossing – an important site which includes an area between Severodonetsk and Lysychansk.

Serhiy Gaidai, the governor of Luhansk, has said Russia is “simply destroying and plundering” the area, saying the region is losing 50-60 houses a day. He also reported Russian soldiers hit Severodonetsk’s Azot chemical plant on Wednesday, and damaged a hospital in Lysychansk.

President Biden has approved the latest aid package from the US, totalling $700 million. It will include four sophisticated rocket systems (HIMARS), as well as anti-tank systems, helicopters, and other tactical equipment. But it will be at least three weeks before these precision weapons and appropriately-trained troops are ready to be put on the battlefield.

If it succeeds in capturing Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, Russia will have fulfilled its key aim of holding all of the Luhansk region. Moscow currently controls about 20% of Ukrainian territory.

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