10 facts you need to know about the Russian war in Ukraine
On February 24, 2022 at 5 am, after three months of threats and an increase in Russia’s military presence near Ukraine’s borders, residents of Kyiv woke up to the sound of bombing in the capital of Ukraine, a country in Eastern Europe.
Russia did not officially declare the war in accordance with international law. It calls it an “operation to liberate Ukraine”. Within Russia, authorities have forbidden by law to publicly say that Russia started war on Ukraine and that there are Russian casualties. Russia justifies the war arguing it is defending itself from military threat from the West.
In 2014, Russia illegally annexed the Ukrainian peninsula, Crimea, and also occupied parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the eastern part of the country. In the last 8 years over 1.5 million civilians in Ukraine have become internally displaced persons and refugees in Europe.
Since 2014 Russia started a hybrid war against Ukraine, questioning Ukraine’s right for sovereignty and territorial integrity. This has been accompanied with disinformation propaganda in Russia, Ukraine, and in Western countries. The propagandistic narrative has been predominantly based on the idea of a ‘civil war’ and ‘internal Ukrainian conflict’ in order to justify Russian hybrid and full scale invasion.
On February 21, 2022, Russia was the only country in the world to acknowledge independence of the quasi states in the East of Ukraine – Donetsk and Luhask People’s Republics and invaded the territory of sovereign Ukraine.
As of March 1, 2022, 2040 civilians have become victims of Russian military aggression, including 45 children. Of these casualties 352 civilians were killed, including 16 children.
The Russian army is constantly attacking civilians. Every night families with children in many cities and villages of Ukraine sleep in metro stations or basements of their building to hide from missiles. The Russian army is destroying civil infrastructure all over Ukraine. It is shooting at houses, kindergartens, hospitals, and buses that evacuate people. It is also blocking ambulances as well as destroying cultural and historical heritage. Russia is blatantly violating the international humanitarian war law and Fourth Geneva Convention.
Russian war criminals cause environmental disasters in Ukraine – they are shooting oildepots and gas pipelines. On February 24, the first day of the war, Russian troops occupied Chornobyl power plant and took its staff hostage. Harm to Chornobyl is a radioactive threat to the whole of Europe.
Belarusian troops have been put on alert and are located in areas as close as possible to the border with Ukraine. They are likely to support a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. Earlier, self-declared President of Belarus Aleksander Lukashenko stated that Belarus does not and will not fight against Ukraine. At the same time, Russia had its troops shoot missiles from Belarusian territory.
As of March 1 of the invasion Russia has launched 113 Iskander and Kalibr missiles on peaceful cities, towns and villages of Ukraine. 4 ballistic missiles were launched from Belarus territory.