By Sebastian Aguilar, Staff Writer
The ongoing Russian invasian of Ukraine has taken its toll, resulting in increasing mass civilian casualties.
Ukraine celebrated a bloody independence day over the past week while it endured multiple missile strikes that caused mass civilian casualties.
These are the deadliest strikes since April when the war had reached a stalemate. The first missile hit a civilian home, killing a young child, and another targeted a train station with more than 25 confirmed dead and more than 50 injured and counting.
These independence day missile strikes didn’t come as a surprise to Ukraine but instead reminded the world that the war is still raging as the invasion reached its six month mark. During the past few months the war was seemingly out of the news cycle. Over the summer months, Russia has made small territorial gains using targeted missile strikes across the south and east of the country, specifically in Zaporizhzhia, the Donbas region and Mariupol.
The Biden administration has announced a $3 billion arms package to Ukraine, which includes weapons, munitions, artillery, drones and air defense systems. The aim of this package is to supply Ukraine’s defenses for the long term. The $3 billion will go into a fund called the Security Assistance Initiative, which allows Ukraine to purchase weapons directly from companies in the U.S. defense industry.
While the Ukrainians have been defending the entire time, Russia’s superior missile capacity has been tough to endure. The tide of the war is expected to shift with increasing military and financial aid from the U.S. and countries all over Europe.
Thus far Ukraine has received more than $10 billion in aid from the U.S. and billions more from other nations. Ukraine is now planning a counteroffense to retake the territories that came under Russian control in the last few months. The city of Kherson is a top priority for Ukraine, which also aims to retake Mariupol in order to cut off the Russian controlled land in eastern and southern Ukraine.
Putin’s administration hadnot publicized the sixth month point.. Russia has announced it will be increasing its military by 137,000 active personnel. This came along with the claim that Russia is winding its invasion down with a focus on keeping what it controls in the south and east like Mariupol and Donetsk. Its goal is to keep Crimea connected to its newly controlled territories and integrate the territory into Russia proper.
In an address to the nation and world last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared that Ukraine has been reborn from this conflict, gaining a renewed idea of cultural and political identity wholly separate from Russia. This speech marked the sixth month of the invasion. Zelensky then pivoted his speech towards aiming to end the war on Ukraine’s terms. “Having gone through so much, we have no right not to reach the end. What is the end of the war for us? We used to say, ‘Peace.’ Now we say, ‘Victory,” he said.