Cities are destroyed by the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Photo: Flickr

In early 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. Since the initial invasion, there has been an ongoing war between the two countries, with no end in sight.
On Dec 29, 2023 Russia launched a large aerial attack against Ukraine, bombing multiple cities, including the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, Odesa and Kharkiv, killing over 20 and injuring many more. In response, Ukraine dropped missiles on Belgorod, a Russian border city, killing 25 people. Overall, there has been a noticeable preference for aerial attacks by Russia recently. This marks a shift in the war. Initially Ukraine had taken a more defensive stance in response to the attacks, however, in this case they responded to the assault with an assault of their own. Due to the recent attacks on Belgorod, much of the city had been evacuated in the past days, including hundreds of children. Currently, Russia occupies some of eastern and southeastern Ukraine. Russia has implemented a variety of changes in the territories they occupy, changing the government to a Russian administration. The citizens have been essentially cut off from the outside world and the news, and only allowed to listen to Russian propaganda.

Early this year, Russia and Ukraine held the biggest prisoner exchange since the beginning of the war, facilitated with the aid of the United Arab Emirates. Ukraine regained 230 prisoners of war, and Russia regained 248 military prisoners. Due to the recent aerial attacks, many citizens have left both countries as refugees. Up to forty percent of citizens in Russian occupied Ukraine have fled the country. Many have gone to other eastern European and central European countries. Poland has taken the most refugees, approximately 139,000. The Russian draft of 300,000 citizens has caused many to flee the country, in an effort to avoid the war. Russia’s current draft age is from 18-30, increased recently from the previous 18-27. Ukraine on the other hand has seen a new proposal to their draft law. In an effort to gain 500,000 people for the military, the proposal suggests lowering the draft age from 27 to 25.

There have been allegations of Russia attacking Ukraine with North Korean missiles. These allegations are based on the fact that Russia and North Korea have long been allies, and some suggest that North Korea would supply Russia with missiles, in an effort to use Ukraine as a testing ground for their nuclear technology. Both countries have suffered similar numbers of casualties, an estimated 3,000 for each. The United Nations will propose funding Ukraine with 3.1 billion dollars in the war next week. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has also stated that they will continue to aid Ukraine. Additionally, Ukraine is receiving aid from other European countries, Lituania providing Ukraine with 200 million euros for the war. Russia has also received aid from allies. Iran developed a new military drone for aerial attacks that was given to Russia. Due to the continuous developments, it is likely that the conflict will not be resolved anytime soon.

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