“One year later, Kyiv stands,” President Joe Biden declared while meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at Mariinsky Palace. Feb. 24 marked the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, an invasion that was an escalation of President Vladimir Putin’s years-long quest to rebuild the Russian Empire. Over the course of the year, Russia’s assault has turned more than 8 million Ukrainians into refugees, prompted the U.S. to accuse Russia of war crimes and revived fears of nuclear conflict. The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data (ACLED) Project records nearly 40,000 political violence events in Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion, and ranked Ukraine as the deadliest country in the world for political violence in 2022.
Biden visited Kyiv on Feb. 20, just a few days before the anniversary, stating that the purpose of his visit was to signal the United States was “not leaving” Kyiv during the conflict. The president met with Zelenskyy at Ukraine’s capital, where he announced a new, half-billion dollar weapons package that will include artillery ammunition and anti-armor systems, as well as sanctions “against elites and companies that are trying to evade or backfill Russia’s war machine.” Zelenskyy has been pressing allies to speed up delivery of promised weapon systems and calling on the West to provide fighter jets—something that Biden has declined to do.
According to the UN Refugee Agency, nearly eight million Ukrainians have been displaced and fled their country since the invasion began. While about half of those people have returned to Ukraine within the last year, five million refugees are still living in various European countries and over 100,000 more Ukrainians have come to the United States under the Administration’s Uniting for Ukraine (U4U) humanitarian parole program.
So far, Russia’s invasion has caused over $97 billion in direct damages to Ukraine, but it could cost nearly $350 billion to rebuild the country, a report released on Sept. 22 by the World Bank shows. Ukraine had also suffered $252 billion in losses through disruptions to its economic flows and production, as well as extra expenses linked to the war, while the displacement of one-third of all Ukrainians was expected to raise the country’s poverty rate to 21% from just 2% before the war.
Russia could also find itself in an economic crisis as soon as next year.“There will be no money already next year, we need foreign investors,” said Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska at an economic conference in Siberia on Mar. 2.
Western countries have announced more than 11,300 sanctions since February 2022, and frozen $300 billion of Russia’s foreign reserves in an attempt to lessen Russia’s funds. However, China has begun buying Russian energy, replacing Western suppliers of machinery and base metals, all while providing an alternative to the US dollar.
As the war heads into its second year, the end result of the conflict is up for much debate. Major news stations like the BBC and CNN have interviewed multiple military analysts, questioning how the war will end. Answers to the BBC ranged from “Ukraine will win back its land,” to “No other outcome except Russian defeat,” to “There is no end in sight.”
When asked who is winning, General David Petraeus Ph.D. reported, “It is not Russia. Russia has, after all, lost the Battles of Kyiv, Sumy, Chernihiv and Kharkiv; failed to take the rest of Ukraine’s southern coast, not even getting through Mykolaiv, much less to the major port at Odesa.”
As of Mar. 3, the Russian military has surrounded Bakhmut, but beyond seizing a territorial corridor to Crimea, Russia’s war on Ukraine has been a disaster for itself and the country it was unleashed on.
Dasha Navalnaya, the daughter of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, shared a message on CNN for Russian President Vladimir Putin on Mar 3:
“I have a couple of things to say to him—that he should stop this incredibly unnecessary and terrible invasion of Ukraine, that he should release my father and all of Russia’s political prisoners, who are just fighting for a better democratic, more prosperous country. And that until those two primary goals among others are met, we will not stop fighting.”