On Monday, it appeared as though the ongoing conflict in Ukraine had reverted to a previous period of time after Russia had attacked distinct regions of the country while concentrating its military efforts in its eastern and southern regions. However, subsequent events gave rise to a new situation on the ground.
In reaction to the bombing operation that targeted a bridge connecting the Russian mainland with Crimea, which Russia invaded in 2014, Russia believed that it had struck multiple towns and regions in Ukraine, including the capital, Kiev.
As its soldiers were not far from the city when Russian military operations in Ukraine began on February 24, Moscow wagered on capturing Kyiv, but they were greeted with “extreme” opposition and were forced to retire.
Russia chose to ignore the capital, where the governmental system that Moscow accuses of Nazism is situated, as the military operations entered their second phase, choosing instead to concentrate on the eastern and southern areas of Ukraine.
However, this same wager—controlling regions of eastern and southern Ukraine—was difficult and evaded the Russians, especially given that the Ukrainians were able to retake thousands of kilometres in recent weeks.
The Kremlin would not accept “sowing the reputation of the Russian army, which has a nuclear arsenal” in the muck of “embarrassing defeats,” therefore concerns were raised about how the Russians may respond in the midst of their retreat on the ground.
Some Western predictions even speculated on the likelihood that Russia would launch a tactical nuclear strike to reduce casualties and create a new military balance based on the “escalation to de-escalate” doctrine.
The bridge connecting the Russian mainland with Crimea was attacked, which was seen as a blow to Moscow and raised fears of a potential Russian nuclear assault. As a result, “Russian wrath” escalated.
The Russian response was swift and took the form of extensive airstrikes in Ukraine. There were reports that a number of civilians were killed, and there were concerns about whether these attacks would be repeated in Kyiv and other cities or whether Russia would switch back to concentrating on the east-south axis.
Some people think that Russian activities may not be restricted to eastern and southern Ukraine since the Ukrainian army has concentrated on battling the Russians in their strongholds, where the pro-Moscow rebels are based, taking advantage of the peace in the interior areas.
The 55-year-old General Sergei Sorovikin was previously involved in the civil war in Tajikistan in the 1990s, the second Chechen war at the beginning of the third millennium, and the Russian intervention in Syria, which started in 2015. On Saturday, the Russian army also announced the appointment of a new commander for its military operation in Ukraine.
Following Russia’s deployment of military attacks in Ukraine, US President Joe Biden called with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday to convey Washington’s sympathy with Kiev.
President Biden, according to a statement released by the White House, denounced the strikes and promised to keep giving Ukraine the assistance required for self-defense, including cutting-edge air defence systems.
The US President also emphasised the need of his ongoing collaboration with friends and partners in order to continue punishing Russia and holding it responsible for what were referred to as “war crimes and atrocities.”
In a similar spirit, the White House promised to offer Ukraine security, economic assistance, and humanitarian help, despite Moscow’s assertion that US military assistance to Kiev is extending the conflict.
Prior to this, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Monday denounced and called “awful” the Russian missile attacks.
In a same spirit, the European Commission denounced and called “appalling attacks” the Russian missile strikes that killed civilians and destroyed civilian infrastructure.
UNHCR spokesperson Peter Stano described the attacks as “brutal and vicious” at a routine press briefing.
He said that the attacks violated international humanitarian law and represented a “further escalation” of the conflict in Ukraine, both of which were totally unacceptable.
In its heaviest air assault since the beginning of the conflict, Russia launched cruise missiles against Ukrainian cities on Monday, causing widespread power and heating outages that the US called “awful strikes.”
Major road intersections, parks, and tourist attractions in Kiev’s city centre were severely damaged by the missiles.
Explosions were also recorded in Kharkiv, Ternopil, Lviv, and Zhytomyr in the east, Dnipro, and Kremenchug in the middle, and Zaporizhia in the south.
According to Ukrainian officials, there were at least 10 fatalities, several injuries, and widespread power outages.
In an address broadcast on television, Putin claimed he had authorised “large-scale” long-range missile assaults against Ukraine’s energy, command, and communications sectors in retaliation for what he called terrorist attacks, including Saturday’s explosion on the Crimean bridge in the Kerch Strait.
“By its acts, the Kyiv administration has elevated itself to the same level as global terrorist groups. the most repugnant organisations. Such activities must be addressed, it is impossible to do otherwise “He continued by threatening more attacks in the event that Ukraine invaded Russian territory.