War in Ukraine rages on with brutalities against civilians



A Ukrainian man looks upon the destruction caused by a Russian missile strike at an apartment complex in Kyiv.

Joseph Zuloaga '23, National and World News Editor

As the war between Russia and Ukraine rages on for the 14th week, what Vladimir Putin expected to be a quick military campaign to take over his neighbor and topple the Ukrainian government is being met with resistance Russia did not calculate.

Ever since the invasion began on Feb. 24, Russia has continued their military onslaught of Ukraine. The Russian military has used air strikes as their main means of attack to make territorial advancements with the bombing of major cities like Kharkiv and Odessa. Some strikes have even reached Lviv in the west, once considered a safe haven for Ukrainians fleeing the shelling in the east. 

The port city of Mariupol suffered from an intense siege, reducing it to a wasteland. It eventually fell on May 17 with the last pocket of Ukrainian resistance surrendering. It is the first major city controlled by Russia and is strategic for control of the southern and eastern parts of Ukraine.

Ukraine has, however, managed to push back against the Russian onslaught. The Ukrainian military has been able to recapture Irpin, regain control of the Chernobyl power plant, strike a Russian fuel facility inside Russian territory and even sink Russia’s flagship Moskva in the Black Sea. At this, the Russian army was forced to change their overall strategy with them apparently no longer seeking to capture Kyiv, but to control eastern Ukraine and its entire southern coast, creating a land corridor into Moldova.

With the high level of successful resistance put up by the Ukrainian people and military, Putin has few palatable outcomes available to himself, likely leading to higher levels of desperation in an attempt to somehow break the will and spirit of the Ukrainian people and taking of as much of their territory as possible.

— Christopher Fern, Social Science instructor

Russia, though, restrategized and launched a new offensive in the battle for the Donbas region in mid-April. Ukraine is in addition accusing Russia of laying the ground for a sham referendum in Kherson to link Russia and Crimea.

This war is being watched closely by NATO, spearheaded by the United States. President Biden traveled to Europe from March 23-26, first stopping in Brussels for an emergency NATO summit and a G7 meeting to show a unified Western response with sanctions against Russia and military aid. Furthermore, Sweden and Finland have applied for NATO membership, strengthening the alliance.

Eva Tonella ’25 said, “I believe we are doing what we can at the moment without getting fully involved. Fully immersing ourselves into their war could have devastating consequences to not only us, but the other countries in NATO.”

Biden later headed to Warsaw to visit Ukrainian refugees. In a fiery speech to round out his trip, he ad libbed a line saying “For god’s sake, [Putin] cannot remain in power.” On April 28, Biden asked Congress for a $33 billion aid package in military assistance for Ukraine.

To show more Western support, leaders from Britain, Poland, the Baltic nations, and US Secretary of State Blinken, Secretary of Defense Austin, congressional Democrats and Republicans and the First Lady have flown to Ukraine to show solidarity.

 At all of this, sadly civilians continue to be severely affected with harrowing war stories emerging each passing day and with mass graves appearing in many cities. 

As the Russian army retreated due to Ukrainian advances, a trail of horror was left behind in previously Russian-occupied zones in the suburbs of Kyiv like Borodyanka. But on April 1, it was revealed that it was in Bucha where the gravest atrocities were committed towards civilians. 

Bodies laid in the streets and in mass graves. Their hands were tied. They were tortured, executed, and even raped.  

Zelenskyy called this an act of genocide and stated that the world would also view the Bucha massacre similarly, a view shared by Biden, with him additionally calling for war crimes trials, with the first Russian soldier pleading guilty on May 18. 

I feel very guilty when I see videos of Ukrainian civilians being targeted. It’s sad to see so many innocent people dying all because of the greed and power of some people.

— Eva Tonella '25

However, Ukraine’s resilience is the light at the end of the dark tunnel that is this war. Zelenskyy has emerged as a wartime leader with his people. “I really respect what their president is doing, he’s much more of a leader than anyone we’ve had in a while,” said Pebble Ekhaus ’23.

The final outcome is still uncertain. As of press time, this is an ongoing conflict. Fern hopes that the conflict is resolved peacefully. “The determined spirit of the Ukrainian people to survive and be a recognized sovereign nation is deeply inspiring and hopefully leads to changing attitudes and actions that end in peace.”