Russo-Ukrainian War – 2/24/22

Aftermath of a missile strike in Kyiv. On the eve of war, Kyiv was among the many cities hit by a mixture of ground-based and aerial artillery. (Arrikel, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

Putin’s lightning offensive into Ukraine began with a massive aerial attack, starting with strategic bombers hitting targets in Kharkiv and Kyiv. Immediately afterward, massive artillery fire began as Russia’s airforce secured air superiority in the region. Russian airborne forces were inserted via helicopter in Kyiv’s airport as troops started pouring across the Russian and Belorussian border, supported by armor units. Ukraine reports a successful retaking of the airport, but troops continue to approach Kyiv from the north, with armored columns soon to reach the city outskirts. Ukraine has been under a state of martial law, with all males between the ages of 18-60 forbidden from leaving the country and reports of assault rifles being given to civilians to defend the nation.

Russia’s attacks were not confined to the East either; forays into western Ukraine, both from Belarus and Crimea, paint a grim picture of an attempt at complete annexation. Already, dangerous confrontations between NATO and Russia have occurred, with a bomb hitting a Turkish civilian ship, with thankfully no casualties. This dangerous confrontation has led to Turkey’s recent decision to potentially close the Black Sea to Russian vessels, the enforcement of which may erupt in a significant escalation.

Russian troops even made forays into Chernobyl, securing the reactor and holding staff hostage. Russian forces may begin to use Chernobyl as an artillery field, from which they can fire without fear of returning fire. Concerning reports are rising of dust picked up from Russian tanks, potentially spreading radioactive material, though amounts are likely to be insignificant for now.

The final radio transmission of the garrison of Snake Island. At 0:15, a pause can be heard as a soldier says “This is it”, before responding to the warship.

Throughout Ukraine, stories rose of heroes and martyrs, quickly spreading through the internet. On Snake Island, Ukraine, 13 servicemembers perished: their last words after being called to surrender by a Russian warship were a defiant “go f*** yourselves”. Unconfirmed reports have risen of a ‘Ghost of Kyiv’ downing half a dozen Russian planes, which would undoubtedly make said pilot the greatest pilot since WWII. Widespread speculation on the pilot’s fate, whether capture or death by Russian forces or a supposed refueling and triumphant return from Romania, remains uncorroborated. Though the Ghost of Kyiv may likely be a myth, he and the 13 servicemembers of Snake Island have become symbols of hope to a people preparing to fight an existential battle against complete occupation by forces that have so far conducted the same campaign of terror and fear as Hitler’s invasion of Poland.

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