Russian war in Ukraine hits one year anniversary

It’s been one year since Russia invaded Ukraine. On Feb 24 last year, after months of growing tensions, Russia sent tens of thousands of troops across the border to Ukraine, TIME reports.

As atrocities mounted, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of genocide. 

The Kremlin said its goal was to “demilitarize” Ukraine. There is still no end in sight to the largest military conflict in Europe since World War II.

About 100,000 Ukrainian troops and 200,000 Russian troops have been killed or wounded in combat. An estimated 30,000 Ukrainian civilians have died. 

More than 13 million Ukrainians — about a third of the country’s population — have sought refuge out of the country or been displaced within Ukraine. 

Reports show that at least 500,000 people have fled Russia. Some fled to neighboring countries following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s draft-like order. Others left as sanctions shut out Russia from things like banking and access to foreign assets. 

NATO members have maintained military and financial support for Ukraine amid pleas from Zelenskyy. But NATO has not yet allowed Ukraine to join, due to fears of Russia escalating ‘into World War III.’ 

The U.S. has contributed nearly $80 billion in humanitarian, financial, and weapons aid. 

On Russia’s side, China’s trade with the Kremlin has hit record levels, helping Putin bankroll military expenses. Belarus has served as a staging ground for Russian troops.

In recent days, Ukrainian officials sounded the alarm Russia would launch a major new offensive around the invasion anniversary. 

Some experts were skeptical the tides could turn in Russia’s favor. 

Meanwhile, there’s still concern Putin could consider the use of nuclear weapons. Especially after he recently suspended a major nuclear arms deal. 

President Biden has vowed to defend Ukraine “as long as it takes” and was in Europe earlier this week to reaffirm that stance. 

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