Russia-Ukraine Recap: Russians continue advance into southern regions of Ukraine


Michael Crimmins, News reporter

There is no shortage of newsworthy topics here in the United States. At times it is easy to get lost in it all, but equally crucial things happen all over the world.

Currently, the big foreign affair is the Russian-Ukraine crisis. This issue of the Herald’s Global Recap column is devoted solely to the several developments that have occurred this week.

These developments are complex, and it is highly encouraged to follow the links and read referenced stories in full.

Here’s a look at some of the headlines from this past week about the Russian-Ukrainian crisis:

Russia continues its attack on Ukraine

Ever since Russia officially invaded on Feb. 24, 2022, the eyes of the world have been on Ukraine. 

According to a dated NPR article, Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country was trying to “denazify” Ukraine, claiming Russia is being threatened by the West as Ukraine applied for NATO membership. 

In a move described by U.S President Joe Biden in his Feb. 24 speech to the world as “attempting to reunite the Soviet Union,” Putin recognized the eastern provinces of Ukraine as independent and sent in military units as “peacekeeping” measures.

Russia accused of shelling children’s hospital in southern port city

Roughly two weeks into the war, Russia has turned its assault to the major port cities of Ukraine. 

A recent article by NBC stated Russian forces are attacking Mariupol in the south. Mariupol’s city council on Wednesay accused Russia of bombing and destroying a children’s hospital in the city. 

“The destruction is enormous,” the city council said in an online post.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted a video of what he said was the ruins of the children’s hospital.

“People, children are under the wreckage,” Zelenskyy said in the Tweet. “Atrocity! How much longer will the world be an accomplice ignoring terror? Close the sky right now! Stop the killings! You have power but you seem to be losing humanity.”

According to the article, an estimated 17 people are said to be wounded including staff and mothers. No reports yet of wounded or killed children.

Mariupol has been without heat, electricity, food and water for several days, according to NBC.

Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba accused Russia of holding the city’s residents hostage as they continue to shell the city, NBC states.

“Almost 3,000 newborn babies lack medicine and food,” he wrote on Twitter. “Russia continues holding hostage over 400,000 people in Mariupol, blocks humanitarian aid and evacuation. Indiscriminate shelling continues.”

Russia denies targeting civilians, according to Reuters.

“Russian forces do not fire on civilian targets,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Reuters.

This attack on the hospital comes as Ukraine and Russian forces organize a ceasefire in the city to allow citizens to escape, Reuter states.

The United States condemned the attack on Wednesday, calling it a “barbaric” military tactic, according to Reuters.

“It is horrifying to see the type of barbaric use of military force to go after innocent civilians in a sovereign country,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

Poland offers planes to Ukrainians

Poland shocked the U.S. by offering to deploy all of their Soviet era MIG fighter jets to Ukraine, according to the New York Times.

According to the Times, the plan was for Poland to deploy its fighter jets to the U.S. base in Germany, and from there to send them into Ukraine for Ukrainian pilots to gain aerial support.

According to the article, Ukrainian air control is diminishing especially as Russia moves in its more sophisticated aerial equipment.

On Tuesday, the Pentagon flatly rejected Poland’s offer saying they didn’t want Russia to mistake the transfer as aggression, according to CNN.

“The transfer of combat aircraft could be mistaken for an escalatory step,” John F. Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, told the New York Times.

The U.S. and Germany are both members of NATO, who also do not want to engage in combat with Russia, CNN reports.

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has repeatedly asked the West for MIG-29 fighter jets, which Ukrainians are trained in flying, to help secure the sky from Russian planes, CNN reports.

In the same article it also states Zelenskyy asked for a “no-fly zone” to be established in Ukraine airspace. That request was denied by the U.S. and NATO.

In the first partisan difference since the war began, Republicans are displeased by Biden’s refusal, according to the New York Times.

“President Biden should explain exactly why he vetoed fighter jets for Ukraine,” Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska and a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement. “Why exactly does President Biden think that Ukrainian MIGs, flown by Ukrainian pilots, would be shot down over NATO territory while they’re on their way to defend Ukrainian airspace?”

U.S. bans import of Russian oil

U.S. President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday a ban on Russian oil, CBS reports.

“Today, I am announcing the United States is targeting the main artery of Russia’s economy,” the president said. “We’re banning all imports of Russian oil and gas energy. That means Russian oil will no longer be accepted in U.S. ports, and the American people will deal another powerful blow to Putin’s war machine.”

According to analysts at CBS, this means that gas prices will continue to rise in the short term. Gas prices, already increasing, have been a recurring problem for the Biden administration, CBS reports.

According to an official White House document, the solution is to ramp up the clear energy initiative undertaken by the administration.

The ban was enacted through an executive order signed by Biden with bipartisan support, according to the document.

“The United States made this decision in close consultation with our Allies and partners around the world, as well as Members of Congress of both parties,” the briefing states. “The United States is able to take this step because of our strong domestic energy infrastructure and we recognize that not all of our Allies and partners are currently in a position to join us. But we are united with our Allies and partners in working together to reduce our collective dependence on Russian energy and keep the pressure mounting on Putin, while at the same taking active steps to limit impacts on global energy markets and protect our own economies.”

According to CBS, the United States is far less dependent on Russian oil than its European allies. 

The ban was put in place to strike Putin’s key source of revenue in response to his invasion of Ukraine.

“…A significant action with widespread bipartisan support that will further deprive President Putin of the economic resources he uses to continue his needless war of choice,” the document states.

The U.S. is set to release roughly 90 million barrels from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help alleviate the cost of oil barrels which could break the record high of $147 a barrel, CBS reports.

The average gas price in the U.S. is up to $4.17, according to the Kansas City Star, with prices only going up as the Russian oil and natural gas ban continues.

“We’re negative toward Russia until you start to really explain what the costs are to the U.S., and then people start to get a little bit softer,” Clayton Allen, managing director for the United States at the Eurasia Group, a political risk research firm, said.

Investigative Reporter Michael Crimmins can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @michael_crimm.