Russia said it would retaliate for the slinking of its Black Sea Fleet flagship, the Moskva. It appears that has already begun. Indeed, Russia did attack Kyiv and several other areas. According to The Wall Street Journal, Russia also said it may attack Ukrainian command centers. After appearing to narrow the war after its withdrawal from the Kyiv region, Russia has stepped up its attack again. Although the sinking of the Moskva gave the Ukrainian government a tactical victory, the punishment could cause Russia to widen the war again.
The city of Mariupol, under siege for weeks, is close to, or has, fallen to the Russians. Both the population and Ukrainian forces have put up a fierce fight, which may have left tens of thousands of people dead. The port city is a key area on the Black Sea. If it is captured it gives Vladimir Putin an important victory. According to The Washington Post, “Control of the Black Sea hub is of strategic importance to the Kremlin, as it would connect Russian-annexed Crimea with the eastern Donbas region, which is the focus of Russian attacks.”
Talk of the use of tactical nuclear weapons by Russia has become a critical discussion again. Such an attack could kill tens of thousands of people, and the spread of radiation could kill more. It would almost certainly bring NATO into the conflict and cause a much wider and more destructive war. According to the Guardian, “Vladimir Putin may resort to using a tactical or low-yield nuclear weapon in light of military setbacks in the invasion of Ukraine, the CIA director, William Burns.”
Some Ukrainian citizens still in cities under siege by Russia have started to run low on food. According to the New York Times, “Civilians trapped in Mariupol and other besieged Ukrainian cities are at risk of starving to death, the executive director of the World Food Program said after visiting the country.” The superior size of Russia’s military has begun a new chapter in the war. A large number of the Ukrainian population are at risk from more than direct attacks on their cities and towns. Areas that are surrounded face being low on weapons, medical supplies, shelter, and food.
The battle for the eastern part of Ukraine has quickly worsened. According to CNN, “Russian attacks have intensified in a range of locations in eastern Ukraine including Kharkiv, Luhansk and Donetsk, according to Ukrainian military and regional officials.” The next stage of the war is now well underway. Putin wants this part of the country so that he can show a major military victory and justify the invasion. It also creates a race for the Ukrainian military to get weapons to the area, and to be resupplied by the U.S. and NATO allies.
Authorities say they have found more than 900 dead civilians in and around Kyiv. According to NBC News, ‘Most of those civilians were “simply executed,” said Andriy Nebytov, who leads Kyiv’s regional police force. The bodies were abandoned in the streets or given temporary burials.’ This confirms a large number of reports that Russia has randomly targeted civilians, probably to increase terror and lower morale.
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