“#VictoryForUkraine: One Year After Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine”
This week marks one year since Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine, beginning a conflict that has become a valuable lesson on urban warfare and a sobering reminder of the human costs of war. Over the past year, the U.S. has provided Ukraine with more than $113 billion in assistance, including military aid. Despite this, the war continues, with estimates of 180,000 Russian soldiers and 100,000 Ukrainian soldiers killed or wounded.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, estimated that over 13,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed since the war began. In October, Russia reported 5,937 military deaths, while U.S. General Mark Milley estimated that the two sides have seen around 100,000 soldiers killed or injured. These numbers continue to rise, and with an estimated 8 million Ukrainian refugees dispersed across Europe, it’s difficult to gauge the true extent of the human cost.
The conflict has also had a significant impact on international opinion. U.S. and European approval of Russia has plummeted, while approval of Putin within Russia has gone from around +30-40 points to +60-70. This shift in opinion coincides with the annexation of Crimea, part of Ukraine, by Russia.
To date, the U.S. and its European allies have succeeded in significantly weakening Russia and preventing its victory. However, it is uncertain if the Ukrainians will be able to achieve a decisive military victory or if the war will settle into a stalemate. President Biden’s unannounced visit to Kyiv on Monday signaled continued commitment from the United States and showed that the U.S. is willing to take risks in order to help Ukraine resist Russia’s invasion.
This year marks a grim milestone for Ukraine, but the government is still determined to win the war. Ukraine declared 2021 to be the “year of victory,” and the hashtag #VictoryForUkraine has spread across social media. Despite the odds, Ukrainians are still determined to fight for their sovereignty, and their resilience and courage should be commended.
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