Sosyal Medya


Overview of the Russian-Ukrainian war one year in

Imeda Paksadze*                                          

Since the Second World War, the most significant violent crisis in Europe started with an emergency announcement by Russian President Vladimir Putin at 04:00 on the morning of February 24, 2022. In his speech, Putin reiterated the threats he had been making for years and publicly announced his special operation launched in neighbouring Ukraine to demilitarize and eradicate any threat. At 05:00 in the morning, exactly one hour after Putin’s speech, Kyiv airport was bombed with aerial rocket attacks, followed by the invasion of Ukrainian territory with large Russian military units from both land and sea routes.

Three days before the start of the war, Russian President Putin took an important decision in the Kremlin, along with the support of all Russian ministers, to recognize the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, which he annexed eight years ago, as independent republics. According to Russia, the people in these regions called on Russia for help because they did not want to live under Ukrainian oppression. This specific game stunt has been played by Russia many times. On August 7, 2008, Russia attacked Georgia by playing the same game.The Russian military intervened against Georgia, accusing the Georgian government of persecuting the Ossetian people living in the South Ossetian region, which was a part of Georgia, and started a war. As a result of the war, the South Ossetia region was occupied.

Russia reused the above-stated propaganda and accused Ukraine of oppression and discrimination against the Russian-origin population living on its territory. In Putin’s words, it was a special operation, not a war. Serious allegations were made by Putin when this operation began. Putin claimed that Ukrainian people were on the Russian side and would surrender by welcoming the Russian soldiers. Vladimir Zelensky’s government, on the other hand, would flee from the state, and Ukraine would be completely captured within a week. However, from the beginning of the war, everything turned against Putin. The Ukrainian people supported their own government extraordinarily. In order to get weapons from the armed forces, the civilians formed long queues, whereas those who could not take up arms joined the war with their bare hands using legitimate Molotov cocktails. Within days, the streets of Kyiv had become the front of a large-scale conflict.

Meanwhile, Russia embarked on a new propaganda for its own military motivation and to gain the support of the Russian people. All Russian television channels claimed that the President of Ukraine fled the country with his government. Volodymyr Zelensky responded to this propaganda by posting a video of his office on social media. “We stay with the Ukrainian people, we will protect our country from the enemy, and we call on the whole world to support Ukraine”, said Zelensky in his speech. Ukraine received serious support from the West politically, militarily and financially. When it became clear that Ukraine would not surrender and receive support from the West, the war entered a new phase. A few days after the war began, the parties made attempts to reach a ceasefire agreement. Negotiations regarding the ceasefire agreement were mainly held in Belarus and the Republics of Turkey.

Truce Negotiations Between the Parties

A few days after the war began, representatives of the two sides sat at the negotiating table for the first time in Belarus. However, the negotiations were not successful. After that, two more meetings were held in Belarus. During the talks, Ukrainian representatives demanded that Russia withdraw from the occupied Ukrainian territory; otherwise, there would be no agreement. However, the parties could not find a common point because Russia did not give up the lands it occupied in Ukraine.

The second round of the negotiations took place on March 10 in Antalya, Turkey. The meeting was attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and Russia. However, in this negotiation, Russia did not take a single step back, not even accepting a 24-hour ceasefire and the creation of humanitarian corridors in the besieged cities of Ukraine. Based on this position of Russia, the negotiations failed once again.

The next negotiation between the delegations took place at the end of March at the Dolmabahçe Palace with not only the initiative but the participation of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. These negotiations lasted for several days but were also unsuccessful. The reason is Russia does not want to change its position. After the negotiations, the war continued in the same way, but the situation of the war began to turn upside down for Russia. Ukraine attacked, and Russians suffered heavy losses on the northern side. Ukrainian armed forces completely cleared the occupied Kyiv region from Russian soldiers. The whole world saw the persecution of the Russians in the city of Bucha, which is included in the Kyiv region. Innocent women, children and elderly people who were raped, tortured and killed lying on the streets were publicly seen. Global television channels telecasted these terrible images.

After this defeat in the Kyiv region, Russia directed all military forces to the eastern and southeastern parts of Ukraine. This time the new frontier is the coastal town of Mariupol, which has become the city. The city was strategically important to Russia, so this city of half a million inhabitants was completely destroyed after weeks of fighting. In fact, Russia planned to block Ukraine’s access to the sea with this operation. In this city, the Russians did similarly terrible things as they did in the city of Bucha. The maternity ward was bombed, and the pregnant women and babies who died during this incident were engraved in the memories. Also, the Azovstal factory, which is called the symbol of freedom in this state, and the heroic soldiers who guarded it for 80 days were recognized by the whole world. In this war, Russia even used phosphorus bombs, which were banned by international conventions. On May 6, 2022, the city and the Azovstal factory finally fell, and the surviving Ukrainians began to evacuate.

However, these successes were not in favour of Russia because America and Europe increased their aid to Ukraine and began to impose heavy economic sanctions on Russia. But Russia continued to occupy Ukrainian lands without stopping. In addition, Russia held a referendum and subsequently annexed four occupied territories. A new phase of the war began after this nine months long war.

Final Status of The War

After Ukraine’s attack, Russia had to give up the Kherson Region, which was declared as its own territory with a fake referendum. Since then, Ukraine has continued to take its own lands by conducting counter-attacks. These successes of Ukraine point to the weakening of Russia. In particular, the announcement of mobilization in Russia confirmed Russia’s lack of manpower for the war. The worst situation for Russia was that conscription caused panic among the people residing inside Russia; hence, youngsters began to flee abroad on a massive scale. After all this, Russia faced many problems besides the current war. Russia needed to convince its own people that everything was going according to plan, and it needed to advance in battle. Therefore, Russia’s next step was to attack Ukraine’s power plants and leave the country without electricity in the cold winter. Unlike previous years, Ukraine celebrated New Year’s Eve in 2023 in the dark and cold. But this year will be different from 2022 for both Ukraine and the West.

At the beginning of the war, many Western countries refrained from supporting Ukraine on the grounds that this conflict may lead to the start of the third world war. Zelensky did not get strategic weapons from the West. The reason for the increasing support from the West is the desire to end this war in a short time. Because no one could have predicted that the war would last so long. This war has to end because Europe could fall into a worse situation. As support from the West increased, Russia, which had been fighting for a year and suffered serious losses, again resorted to new propaganda to get air. Putin declared a truce for the Orthodox Christmas, but Ukrainian President Zelensky accused Russia of hypocrisy and declared that he would not join the truce. According to the Kremlin, the ceasefire will last 36 hours until midnight on January 7. But, according to Zelensky, Putin is only trying to use the proposed ceasefire as a cover and is trying to breathe and regain Russian strength. Ukraine continues to fight non-stop, to bomb the Russian military and weapons facilities. After the developments in the last few hours, we can briefly say that even if Russia is very weak, it does not intend to take a step back; since heavy weapons aid is provided to Ukraine from the West, the war will be revived.

*This article was translated from Turkish to English language by Humaira Ahmad Khan

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