Day 20: The war keeps escalating
The most devastating war in Europe since World War 2 has been raging for 20 days. Over two million have fled, casualties are in the thousands. Mariupol’, Kharkiv, and Kyiv are under siege, giving birth to horrendous humanitarian crises. The vast majority of major Ukrainian cities are under attack, with rockets reaching as far as L’viv. Rockets have also fallen a handful of kilometers east of the Polish border, marking the largest escalation in recent days.
Putin has once again expressed Russia’s readiness to utilize its nuclear arsenal. So far, the usage of strategic nuclear weapons is out of the question, although tactical nuclear strikes could be used on the battlefield, if Russia gets desperate enough.
Two American journalists have been shot in the town of Irpin, next to Kyiv, that has been subject to a vigorous assault by Russia. One of the journalists, Brent Renaud, was shot in the neck and killed, while the other, Juan Arredondo, is currently undergoing surgery in Kyiv.
Russia recently bombed a maternity ward in a hospital in Mariupol’, leading to numerous casualties, primarily mothers and newborn babies.
Credit: AP Photo, Evgeniy Maloletka
The Chernobyl nuclear power plant has lost its electricity supply for the second time since the start of the war, which could lead to a disastrous spillage of 20 tons nuclear waste, which need to be constantly cooled.
Chechen strongman and autocrat Ramzan Kadyrov has travelled to Ukraine, where Russia has sent thousands of Chechen troops. His forces have been linked to widespread rights abuses, kidnappings, and collective punishment. Kadyrov has also been involved in a horrific purge of gay men in Chechnya.
Credit: Getty Images, Yelena Afonina
Two days after the mayor of the Southern city of Melitopol’, Ivan Fedorov, was abducted by Russian forces, the mayor of another Southern town by the name of Dniprorudne, Yevheniy Matvieyev, has also been abducted. "War crimes are becoming more and more systematic," the head of the military administration of the Zaporizhzhya region, Oleksandr Starukh, shared in a post on Facebook.
Credit: Embassy of Ukraine
Tens of thousands of Russians have been prompted to abruptly flee abroad as well, due to the economic sanctions and possible persecution for dissenting opinions. As most Western countries have restricted visas for Russian citizens, most are trying to flee to former Soviet countries, like Armenia, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan, and some are fleeing to the United Arab Emirates.
Protests are raging across Russia, Ukraine and the EU. Over 15 000 people have been arrested so far in Russia for taking part in demonstrations. On the Russian state-controlled Channel 1, news editor Marina Ovsyannikova, was seen holding a sign, detesting the war against Ukraine. Her voice could be heard during the broadcast saying, "No to war! Stop the war!" before the program director cut early to a recorded news report. Before her sudden appearance on the program, she recorded a video, in which she called the war in Ukraine a crime and expressed her shame for working for what she called Kremlin propaganda. She was arrested right after this incident.
Credit: Twitter, @AlexKokcharov
EU member states have agreed on a fourth package of sanctions against Russia. Diplomats said sanctions were set to include an import ban on Russian steel and iron, an export ban on luxury goods including cars worth more than 50,000 euros, and a ban on investments in oil companies and the energy sector.