Russia has called for a full-scale military operation against Ukraine on February 24 to “demilitarise” and “denazify” the state. Nearly 100 days later, Russia has achieved few of its military objectives and has incurred heavy casualties in its abortive pushes across the nation.
Throughout the war, Russia has reduced and downgraded its objectives repeatedly. Originally intending to besiege the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, Russia’s assault became untenable due to poor logistics and stiff Ukrainian resistance. Other attacks on major Ukrainian cities, such as Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Sumy, were repelled by Ukrainian defenders.
In the city of Mariupol, almost completely destroyed by constant Russian shelling, Ukrainian defenders managed to hold out for nearly three months, becoming trapped within the grounds of the former Azovstal steel plant. The Ukrainian army estimates that this last stand tied up around 20,000 Russian forces from moving to other regions of Ukraine.
Currently, Russia controls around 20% of Ukraine, controlling large amounts of territory in the south of the country (Kherson Oblast) and areas of the Donbas, where fighting is concentrated. Ukrainian forces are struggling to contain Russian offensives in the east of the country, where Russian troops are attempting to capture the cities of Lysychansk and Severodonetsk.
Current casualties from the war are hard to estimate. Ukraine army figures state that over 30,000 Russian troops have been killed in the conflict already, however, just over 3,000 can be officially verified.
Ukrainian casualties are also hard to calculate, but the Ukrainian government has admitted that it is incurring heavy casualties in defence of the Donbas, up to 100 per day.
The war in Ukraine has obliterated civilian infrastructure across the country, and Russian forces are currently under investigation for atrocities in the cities of Irpin, Bucha, Mariupol, Chernihiv, Makariv, and Kramatorsk.
In total, 4,149 civilian casualties in Ukraine have been confirmed by the United Nations, however the true figures are expected to be much higher. The war has displaced around 4.7 million Ukrainians, many of whom have travelled to Poland, Germany, Czechia, and other European countries.
Belgium has received around 40,000 refugees from Ukraine and predicts that it may receive up to 200,000 during the course of the conflict.
However, with Kyiv firmly in Ukrainian hands, refugees are already starting to return home, with nearly 2 million people crossing back over the border to Ukraine.