Russia Aims for Kyiv: How Putin Fully Invaded Ukraine

So on Thursday morning Putin announced that the Russian army would be invading Ukraine in order to topple president Zielenski's government which Putin described as an illegitimate junta soon after Russian crews and ballistic missiles landed near kiev and as far west as Ivano franc husk so in this blog we're going to do our best to explain what's happened what might happen next and what it means for Europe before we get into that though we should say that events are unfolding at a rapid pace this blog was primarily written on Thursday morning and verifiable reports are hard to come by we'll qualify our reports where possible but please bear in mind, the information presented here is subject to change also if you want to support those on the ground there's a list of charities on screen which you could consider supporting so let's start with a timeline of the last 48 hours or so, the first relevant event came on Tuesday evening when Putin confirmed that Russia would indeed be recognizing the proclaimed borders of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk you might know this already but separatists only actually hold about a third of the areas they're claiming with the rest still within the Ukrainian government's control as we explained in our previous blog this didn't bode well as it meant that Russian forces would end up fighting against Ukrainian security forces in those last parts of Donbass not yet controlled by separatists on Wednesday at about 4 p.m. Ukraine's ministries of defence foreign affairs and internal affairs as well as two private banks suffered simultaneous cyber-attacks and soon after on Wednesday evening the Ukrainian president declared a state of emergency imposing martial law some 36 000 reservists with combat experience were then called up to add to Ukraine's 200000 strong army late on Wednesday evening the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk asked the Russian military for assistance to quote repel the aggression of the Ukrainian regime previously when Russia had first recognized the territories they insisted that they were self-reliant and wouldn't need Russian support something that was clearly already changing obviously anticipating war at 3 am Ukraine's president Zielenski gave a speech pleading with the Russian people to prevent a full-blown conflict between the two countries speaking in Russian Zelensky asked the Russian people not to trust the narrative propagated by the Russian state media as well as rubbishing Putin's claims about rampant Nazism in Ukraine pointing out that he himself was Jewish Zelensky also insisted that Ukrainians only want peace and denied that Ukraine had fired artillery on dombass but warning that if Putin did attack then you would see our faces not our backs then at 5am local time Putin gave an emergency broadcast on Russian state television much like his speech on Monday night Putin's speech was long-winded somewhat rambling and full of history in the 35-minute speech Putin made reference to Yugoslavia Libya Syria and Iraq as well as claiming that the west's anti-Russian containment strategy represented an existential threat and accused the west of trying to destroy Russian culture and project quote pseudo-values contrary to human nature describing the western bloc as a quote empire of lies and blaming the west for fermenting terrorism abroad Putin then said that he decided to conduct a special military operation not just in dombas but in the rest of the Ukraine in order to quote demilitarize and denazify Ukraine Putin then invokes article 51 of the un charter which allows for collective self-defense effectively claiming that the phantom threat of a Ukrainian attempt to take back donensk and Luhansk was a threat to Russia's own national security Putin then asked the Ukrainian military to lay down their weapons insisting his issue wasn't with Ukrainian people but rather with the junta in kiev and quote those who have taken Ukraine hostage and tried to use it as a proxy Putin's description of silence government as a junta harks back to an argument made by Russia after the may 2014 election when Russian officials claimed that the president was illegitimate because Donbass didn't get to vote essentially Putin's argument here is that the current government in kiev is illegitimate because Donbass didn't get a say in it which is how he's justified intervention in the rest of Ukraine beyond Donbass obviously though Donbass didn't get to vote because they were fighting a low-intensity war with Ukraine's own security forces at the time a war that was actually backed by Russia so the government deemed that voting wouldn't be possible in the region and it's also worth reminding everyone that regardless Zelenski won with 73 of the vote back in 2019 facts that Putin conveniently emits anyway you get the point Putin basically announced that Russia would be staging a full-scale invasion of Ukraine almost immediately afterwards there were reports of missile strikes throughout Ukraine including airfields military headquarters and military warehouses near kiev as the first explosions were being reported the un security council was holding an emergency session chaired by Russia itself who currently holds the rotating presidency this meeting began with a direct appeal from the un secretary general with him saying president Putin stop your troops from attacking Ukraine give peace a chance too many people have died already now we should remind you here that everything is moving very fast at the moment and verifiable reports of troop movements are hard to come by but as of Thursday it looks like Russian troops have staged offences on four fronts from Gomel and belgarod in the north dombas in the east and Crimea in the south according to reports, Russian troops have already taken hostimal a town just outside of kiev and there are reports that airborne troops have just taken Ukraine's main airport the airport near kiev although we couldn't verify this information at the time of the blog's production two Turkish airbus planes arrived at the airport just before the invasion and just after Putin had a call with Erdogan, so it's possible that they're stationed there to provide a neutral safe passage for Zelensky if he decides to leave the country but that aside what happens next well so far Russian airstrikes have apparently avoided civilian centers and casualties have been limited but this will probably change for starters airstrikes will invariably have collateral damage Russia engaged in a similar artillery campaign against military targets in Mario pool in 2015 but wayward strikes ended up killing 30 civilians secondly casualties have been limited because Ukrainian forces have spent the last few hours retreating into urban areas but once Russian forces reach these hot spots casualties will probably increase as the international response well the west is preparing for historic sanctions but sanctions alone are unlikely to deter Putin as we discussed in our recent blog on the effectiveness of sanctions linked down below regardless Russia has built up foreign currency reserves of 630 billion dollars a 75 increase since 2015 and now has the fourth largest currency reserve in the world despite only being the 11th largest economy and the west is expected to continue buying Russian oil and gas to the tune of about 700 million dollars a day so there's no signs of this slowing to get to this point to have so much foreign currency Putin has had to seriously cut back state spending but it seemingly worked Russia now only needs to sell oil at 44 a barrel to balance it's budget and for context brent crude is currently trading at over a hundred dollars the point is that Putin has deep pockets and if he can continue to sell Russian oil and gas those pockets will only get deeper you get the point given Putin's behavior and the state of Russia's oil reserves sanctions are unlikely to provide much deterrence so what's the strategy military or otherwise from here Europe's currently without a clear political leader and while attempts have been made to change Russia's path nothing is certain just yet.