Day 6 Of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
Russia invades Ukraine – it all started early in the morning last Thursday when Vladimir Putin announced a “Military Operation” in Ukraine. The announced focus of the attack was the Eastern Donbas region, where Russian-backed rebels have been in control for several years. However, the intention of the “operation” quickly became clear, with forces moving in from north, east, and south, this quickly began to look more and more like a full-scale invasion.
The story dominating most headlines at the moment is the Ukrainian response to the invasion. Ukrainian forces have put up a significant fight, prolonging what Russia allegedly believe would be a brisk operation. Photos of everyday citizens taking up arms supplied to them by the countries military have circulated widely and shown the fierce determination of the Ukrainian people to not go down without a fight.
In particular Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has received much media praise for his handling of the situation. During public appearances and online videos, Zelensky has remained steadfast encouraging his citizens to continue to resist Russian forces and calling on the international community to offer more support. On Tuesday the president applied for Ukraine to join the EU and asked that EU members expedite the process in order to show their support. When offered a safe evacuation by the United States, the president, now famously, said “The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride,”. This attitude has percolated throughout the country as citizens continue to fight for their homeland.
Zelensky’s calls for support have been met to some degree by the international community. Many western nations, including Canada, have sent financial aid, supplies, as well as weapons and munitions to help aid in the fight. However, most major world powers are betting on another type of weapon, financial and economic restrictions, which will help them to cripple Russia’s efforts in Ukraine.
Hundreds of sanctions and restrictions have been announced by the EU, Canada, the United States, and other allies that target both the Russian state, as well as Russian businesses and oligarchs that rely on international trade and commerce. In a mostly symbolic step, Canada also said it would ban the import of Russian gas and oil products in order to further weaken Putin’s economic stance.
The sanctions have clearly had some effect. As the Russian Rouble has lost 30% of its value since the invasion started and the Russian stock exchange has not opened in the last two days. The Russian central bank interest rate has been hiked to 20% in an attempt to slow the flood of citizens making runs on Russian banks to withdraw their money before it is worthless.
The Global Impact of the Invasion
There is fear that these sanctions imposed by the west will create some unwanted side effects, and possibly provoke counter-sanctions from Putin. On Monday Oil prices already surged by 11% to a near-decade high of $106 a barrel. This effect however is actually minimized because many sanctions have left room for major consumers like Europe and the US to buy Russian oil and energy products. if Russia were to shut off gas pipelines to Europe or stop selling oil and energy products altogether, the price and supply impact could be much worse.
Other restrictions will no doubt have an effect on the transportation industry in particular. Shipping lines like Maersk have already stopped all service to Russian ports, no doubt affecting the availability and supply of ocean cartage. Airfreight will also be affected as many countries have banned Russian planes from flying in their airspace. This has already caused a dip in supply as Russian-controlled AirBridgeCargo was forced to remove all of its aircraft from Europe earlier this week.
Where we go from here
Over the next few days, all eyes will be on the major Ukrainian cities of Kyiv and Kharkiv. These have been key targets of Russia’s attack, both have been hit with bombings and Russian forces are quickly closing on both cities. Though Ukrainians continue to put up a fight in both cities the main concern now is the ominous convoy heading south from Belarus towards Kyiv. The more than three-mile-long brigade of tanks and personnel carriers has slowed over the last few days, but it is still making its way to the capital city, likely ready for a massive show of force.
The hope now is that the abundance of resistance from Ukrainians, mixed with the barrage of restrictive sanctions will cause Russian people and Politicians to lose faith in Putin and this invasion causing him to rethink the strategy and possibly withdraw.
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