Russia's invasion of Ukraine 2022

Article

May 22, 2022

Russia's invasion of Ukraine began early in the morning of February 24, 2022, when Russia launched attacks on Ukraine and marched in from several border crossings. Russian forces attacked several targets with cruise missiles and helicopters, and Russian forces crossed the border directly from Russian territory, from the occupied territories of Crimea, Luhansk and Donetsk and from Belarusian territory. Russia has also fired at Ukraine from vessels in the Black Sea. The Russian attack is the most extensive in Europe since World War II. The airspace over Ukraine was closed to civil aviation as soon as it was clear that the attack was underway. Within a few days, a number of countries imposed extensive sanctions on Russia. As an explanation for the development on the ground, it is pointed out from several quarters that good fighting morale among the Ukrainian defenders, and worse among the Russian forces. Russia's justification for the attack was a geopolitically motivated concern for an eastern extension of NATO to what is perceived as Russia's historic land. Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a speech on the night of February 24 that the goal of the attack was to "demilitarize" and "de-Nazify" Ukraine, not to occupy the country. Russian authorities said they were targeting military targets and would not attack cities. Russia does not refer to the invasion as an invasion or war, but as a "military special operation". By March 23, 2022, more than 10 million Ukrainians had fled (3.6 million to other countries, 6.5 million internally), in what is the largest refugee crisis since World War II in Europe. The International Criminal Court has launched an investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Russian individuals.

Background

The attack on 24 February 2022 was an escalation of the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war that began in 2014. The direct cause of the invasion was the Russo-Ukrainian crisis that escalated in 2021. During this crisis, Russia made a number of demands on NATO and the West. Among the demands, by Russia called "security guarantees", were assurances that Ukraine will never become a member of NATO, and that the alliance must withdraw a number of forces from Eastern Europe. NATO rejected the demands, and Russia responded by marching (deploying) large forces towards the border with Ukraine. In the weeks before, Russian force build-up was observed (including on satellite photography) along the border with Ukraine and Russia conducted military exercises inside Belarus. In Poland at the beginning of the crisis lived about 1 million Ukrainian citizens. Poland is the EU country that is easiest to reach from Kyiv. The border between Ukraine and Poland is about 500 km long. Several private companies have satellite photographs of the military activities in and around Ukraine. Ukraine's defense benefits from these images. New to this war is that the public has access to such images, among other things, the American company Planet Labs has made the images freely available on its website. Russia began, according to Jakub M. Godzimirski (NUPI), preparations for the invasion in April 2021. After talks between Putin and Joe Biden seemed to put Russia's war plans on hold, before Russia again deployed large forces at the border in December and in December demanded that NATO not join.

Energy supplies from Russia

Russia supplies natural gas to Central Europe and Western Europe via several pipelines: The Jamal Europe pipeline runs through Belarus and Poland to Germany The Soyuz and Brotherhood lines run through Ukraine to Slovakia and Hungary Nord Stream 1 through the Baltic Sea to Germany Nord Stream 2 through the Baltic Sea has been completed, but not approved by the German authorities and does not supply gas. In 2021, Russia accounted for 45% of EU imports of gas and also 46% of EU imports of coal and 25% of EU oil imports. At the outbreak of the war, the EU did not have alternative sources that could replace the deliveries from Russla