2022 in Review: The Russia and Ukraine conflict

Looking back at how the conflict between Russia and Ukraine started, and how things are looking as we near the end of the year.

Source: Premium Times

Source: Premium Times

One of the biggest events to break out early into 2022 is the heated conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which quickly escalated making headlines worldwide as the impact of this conflict was felt all over the world. Whether it was increased fuel prices or food shortages in some parts of the world, this conflict did not go unnoticed.

While it did make several headlines, trending on the media calling for the conflict to be put to an end for everyone's best interest, as the months passed by, just like all news, this one also simmered down. Now that we’re one week away from wrapping up the year 2022, what is the update on the situation? How did this conflict start to begin with and is it still ongoing?

A brief history of the disagreements between Russia and Ukraine

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine is one that has been going on for years. The two countries have a long history of tension, but it wasn't until early 2014 that things really got heated. It all started in early 2014 following Russia's annexation of Crimea. By March 2014 Russia had taken control of this region and armed conflicts soon broke out between the two countries.

While many might have lived unaware of the extreme conflict in 2014, things between the two countries escalated to a point where there was regular shellings. This conflict went ahead into 2015, and the need for a ceasefire became evident by the start of the year. By February 2015 negotiations were drawn up by France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine which outlined provisions for a ceasefire, withdrawal of heavy weaponry, and full Ukrainian Government control throughout the conflict zone. 

However, even after all these efforts were put in, a diplomatic agreement could not be reached in 2015 and in 2016 four battalions were deployed by NATO and an additional two U.S army tank brigades were deployed to Poland to show NATO’s presence in the country.

By the time 2021 came around, it was clear that a large-scale Russian invasion was going to take place in Ukraine. While the invasion was surely going to take place, nobody knew exactly when the invasion would break out – but the answer to this question was not far off as 2022 started and things got more heated between the two countries.

Run down of 2022

While the conflict between the two countries has been ongoing for years, Ukraine was still highly under-prepared for the conflict that broke out between the two countries at the start of 2022.

On February 24, 2022, Russian forces invaded Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin authorised a ‘special military operation’ against Ukraine in order to ‘demilitarize and denazify Ukraine and end the genocide of Russians in Ukrainian territory. While we may never know how long Russia has been planning this invasion, it has become clear that by the end of 2021 everything was set in place for the conflict to break out in 2022 as there were more than a hundred thousand Russian troops in place near the Russia-Ukraine border, and it became evident that war was going to break out sooner than later.

An attempt was immediately made between the United States, Russia, France and Germany in order to settle on a negotiation without war breaking out, this attempt was an obvious fail as satellite images from early February showed the largest deployment of Russian troops near Belarus since the end of the cold war, and warning signs were put out as war was clearly breaking out.

This conflict caused extreme damage to Ukraine as hospitals and residential complexes were under attack, and many had to flee their own country for their own safety. While the actual damages caused might be hard to calculate, on July 2022 the United Nations Human Rights Office revealed that over five thousand civilian deaths and over six thousand civilian injuries were recorded since the conflict broke out.

In addition to the injuries and deaths, the conflict between the two countries has also caused thousands of displacements, increasing the number of citizens becoming refugees in any nearby country that would protect them from the dangers of their very own land.

While many would expect the conflict to slow down after almost a whole year of back-and-forth fighting, things greatly escalated in October following an attack on a critical bridge by Ukraine. This attack resulted in retaliation by Russia that killed at least 14 people, knocked out the power and water and shattered buildings in the process.

The outcome

While the conflict broke out between two countries, the impact of it was felt worldwide as fuel prices sky-rocketed this year and several countries faced a grain shortage. With Russia accounting for 10 percent of the global fuel supply, the hike in fuel prices was felt all over the world in 2022 as there was not enough supply to meet the demand.

It was extremely bad for countries that were already on the verge of a macro-economic crisis, such as Sri Lanka– the country was facing major black-outs as there was almost no fuel to supply electricity to Sri Lankan households, bringing the country to a standstill early into 2022 as well.

In addition to this, the conflict between the two countries also caused another global issue: a grain shortage. In the midst of the conflict, there was an end to the Ukrainian grain export, and countries that heavily depended on these exports faced unimaginable price hikes.

As Sudan experienced a 187 percent price increase due to the shortage of grain supplies, Syra experienced an 86 percent price increase, Yemen faced a 60 percent increase and Ethiopia faced a 54 percent increase, meaning there was a global food crisis cooking up due to the conflict as well.

While these two issues largely affected the worsening economic situation globally, the panic set in and the United Nations (UN) was forced to step in and negotiate with Russia in order to let Ukraine continue to supply grain to countries amidst the conflict.

While the gas price settled and the food crisis was handled, for now, the conflict between the countries does not appear to be slowing down even as the year nears to an end. In fact, it's looking like the conflict will go well into 2023 unless some kind of negotiations or solutions are brought about.

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