One year on from the invasion of Ukraine: What has Putin achieved?

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February 24 marks one year since Vladimir Putin announced he had started a special military operation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine.

The war has been very back and forth with no real progress made.

Consequently, Putin’s decision to invade has crippled the Russian economy.

The sanctions imposed on Russia in the early days of the war has meant that Russia has struggled to procure key components needed for their war effort and factories have ceased production as they can not access foreign-made parts.

The financial sector has lost billions of dollars and hundreds of international companies have left the Russian market.

The sanctions have affected the world too. Europe is receiving less than half the amount of natural gas from Russia than they did pre-war.

There have been significant amounts of deaths on both sides

Around 7,000 Ukrainian civilians are said to be dead, more than 400 of them are children, although numbers are expected to be a lot higher.

However, the Norwegian Defence Chief, Eirik Kristoffersen, says this number is around 30,000.

The numbers of casualties in both the Ukrainian forces and Russian forces are also debated and varies depending on the source.

Ukraine flag in Kyiv
Image credit: Openverse

In early December of 2022, it was estimated that at least 13,000 Ukrainian soldiers had died since the beginning of the war.

Ukraine estimate there has been 134,000 deaths on the Russian side, however in September, Russia claimed the number of deaths was at 5,937.

Regardless, both sides have endured weighty losses of men and women who were fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons or daughters.

Despite these losses, Putin does not seem to care

He continues to send more unwilling soldiers to their inevitable deaths in Ukraine.

His strategy on the ground has seemed to fail, as defensive forces have shocked Russia with the fight they continue to put up. He has turned to bombing schools, hospitals and apartments, torturing and deliberately targeting civilians to deter from the fact that his efforts on the battlefield are failing.

The Russian army appear to be terribly organised, there is a lack of communication and training, poor intelligence and no real planning.

Ultimately, Putin’s main achievement has been unifying all Ukrainians to have a mutual hatred of Russia and increasing their want to make Ukraine a free, independent country in the future.

Russian people have fled their homes and acts of protests are reported in media outlets outside Russia although surveys carried out in Russia claim that 75% of the population support the war.

Fundamentally, Putin has managed to annex Russia from the rest of the world.

Feature Image Credit: Katie Godowski on Pexels.

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