Consequences of the Continuing Russia-Ukraine Conflict: A 2023 Update
As the Russo-Ukrainian War continues with no end in sight, the toll on civilian populations increases to incredible proportions (EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid, Flickr)
The Russo-Ukrainian War has lasted well over a year and, in its course, seen countless deaths, several military assaults, and the mass displacement of thousands of Ukrainian natives, creating a refugee crisis in neighboring countries. As the war rages on, uncertainty has dissipated around the dire consequences of such a conflict. Perhaps one of the few certainties is that this war will significantly change the course of European affairs, world interactions with Russian entities, and most importantly, the lives of the thousands of citizens weathering the war.
Russo-Ukrainian Tensions Prior to the 2022 Invasion
While the Russian invasion of Ukraine most directly led to the conflicts we see today, it is important to recognize the long-growing tensions that preceded the war. Although only recently reaching a climax, these tensions have been a long time in the making. Before the 2022 invasion, the most significant example of tensions occurred when Ukraine underwent a revolution in 2014, removing a president with connections to Moscow. This created an opportunity for the Russian government, led by Vladimir Putin, to frame the revolutionaries as threats to Crimea, a Ukrainian area that had maintained a Russian ethnic majority. The Russians eventually annexed Crimea after a covert invasion, and Putin continued to support separatist movements within Ukraine, using language reminiscent of the former imperial state of Russia, suggesting that advancement on the remainder of Ukraine would be occurring soon.
Present Day Escalations
Over a year after the invasion of Ukraine, the war rages on. Recently, drones have been utilized by both sides, as Ukraine sent its largest barrage since the war began into Western Russia, striking military assets and an airport within the nation. However, the most damage was seen in Pskov, where four Il-76 military transport planes were significantly damaged by Ukrainian drones. The Kremlin retaliated with a drone attack of their own, targeting the Ukrainian city of Kyiv with a series of missiles confirmed to have killed two individuals.
The US Sends Aid
As the bloodshed continues, the United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, announced a new military assistance package for Ukraine. This package, estimated to send the equivalent of $250 million in weapons and equipment, includes AIM-9M missiles to be utilized for air defense, ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, 155mm and 105mm artillery ammunition, mine-clearing equipment, anti-armor systems and rockets, over three million rounds of small arms ammunition, ambulances, demolition ammunition for obstacle clearing, as well as spare parts, services, training, and transportation for Ukrainian soldiers.
In addition to the promised aid, the Pentagon has announced that the United States National Guard will begin training Ukrainian forces on the use and operation of F-16 fighter jets beginning in October. Through unclarity on how many pilots will be trained at the designated National Guard Training Base in Tucson, Arizona, it has been left to the discretion of the Ukrainian military.
Russia Fails To Meet Military Recruitment Goals
As Ukraine continues to receive foreign aid, Russia failed to meet its military recruitment goals despite several large-scale recruitment methods, including Russian army recruitment advertisements, propaganda in the media, pay raises for soldiers, and incentives for destroying Ukrainian weapons and equipment. While the original goal for enlistment is 400,000 men into the Russian military, it is predicted that only about half that number will be enlisted. Such low recruitment levels are a devastating blow to the Russian military strategy, as thousands of Russian soldiers have already died over the course of the war. As Ukrainian forces show no sign of backing away or lessening pressure on any fronts, there seems to be no sign of the end to the conflict.
Effects on the Citizens
With no end in sight for the Russo-Ukrainian War, the citizens of Ukraine continue to be negatively impacted. The number of refugees from Ukraine has risen to nearly 7.2 million in recent weeks, and the number can only be expected to grow. Moreover, Ukrainian children residing in Ukraine and neighboring countries as refugees of war have begun to show significant and widespread learning loss, as reported by UNICEF. Such decreases in learning due to continued attacks on Ukrainian cities, towns, and specifically the schools that reside in them foreshadow a grim future for Ukraine—even after the possible termination of the war, residual side effects will likely haunt the country and its citizens for years to come.
Sources & Further Reading