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Russia Ukraine war explained

The Russian Invasion of Ukraine EXPLAINED

The Russian invasion of Ukraine, which is also considered the largest military attack in Europe since World War 2 in a significant escalation to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, does not look like it is stopping. It is reported that 596 civilians have been killed, and around 1,000 people have been injured in the invasion. It has also been reported that numerous buildings have been damaged and destroyed. According to reports, on the 18th day of the invasion, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine said he is open to talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin if there is a ceasefire.

Reason for war

Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, seeks control over Ukraine and wants to bring down its democratically elected government. Talking to a news channel, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine said that he had been threatened and that he was target number one by the enemy and his family is number two.

On the other hand, Russia has said it aims to free Ukraine from oppression and clean it from the Nazis. Vladimir Putin has also said that “those who committed heinous crimes against the civilians” will be brought to the court and denied occupying Ukraine. An anonymous source said he aims to split the country into two parts.

In an editorial report published on February 26th, it was published that the war aims at a new world order where Russia was restoring its pre-1991 soviet unity, gathering the world of Russians, Belarusians, and Ukrainians, also known as little Russians.

In 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin wrote a long piece where he described Russians and Ukrainians as “one nation” and represented the collapse of the Soviet Union as the “dissolution of historical Russia” in December 1991.

In the meantime, Russian leaders are demanding Ukraine to recognize Crimea as a part of Russia and recognize the independence of the separatist-run east to stop the war. Russian leaders are also urging Ukraine to change its constitution and guarantee it will not join NATO and Europe.

But this is not it, and the list of demands from the Russian leaders goes further where it wants NATO to reverse its eastward expansion. This would require NATO to remove its forces and military infrastructure from member states that joined the alliance in 1997 and not deploy ‘strike weapons near Russia’s borders’, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and the Baltics.

German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, believes that this is beyond NATO according to his world view and that the Russian leaders want to take over Europe. He also stated that Russian President Putin wants a Russian empire.

According to Putin, it was promised by the west in the year 1990 that it would not expand an inch to the east, but this was a lie. This promise was made prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, the promise made to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev only referred to East Germany. He also said later that “the topic of NATO expansion was never discussed.”

Meanwhile, Russia has banned the terms invasion and war and threatened journalists with jail if they do so. This invasion is termed a ‘special military operation’ for the Russian president.

The Russian president has claimed that his goal is to protect the people of Ukraine who are subjected to bullying and genocide. Also, he has aimed for the “demilitarization and de- Nazification” of Ukraine. However, the Ukrainian president denied this and said there is no genocide in Ukraine and stressed that it is a growing economy.

Talks between the two nations

Several rounds of political talks between Russia and Ukraine have so far failed to stop the war. The United States and the European Union have decided to impose some of the most challenging economic sanctions ever on the Russian government. A considerable number of western businesses, manufacturers, retailers, and fast-food chains such as McDonald’s have suspended their operations in Russia.

In the meantime, U.S. and European financial penalties and restrictions are attacking banks and other businesses in Russia, resulting in limiting the Russian government’s ability to utilize its substantial foreign currency reserves. This is obstructing millions of Russians from using their credit cards, accessing their credit cards, and travelling abroad.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is affecting the whole world, which was merely trying to stand on its feet post-COVID 19 pandemic. With Russia being the top fuel supplier, there has been a rise in oil prices, which is a considerable challenge, particularly for the developing economies.

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US Troops Withdraw from Afghanistan Ending 20-Year War

US Troops Withdraw from Afghanistan Ending 20-Year War

The last evacuation flight from Kabul airport carrying US military personnel, marked the end of a 20-year presence in Afghanistan that began weeks following the 9/11 attacks in 2001. The departure signalled the final chapter in the controversial military effort within the country.

The C17 aircraft left Kabul airport carrying the US ambassador moments before midnight local time on Tuesday.

Despite there not being any official fanfare or handing over of flags, the Taliban did mark the departure of US troop by firing celebratory gunfire into the air.

A spokesman from the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, stated Afghanistan was now “completely liberated and independent”.

Another senior official from the group, Anas Haqqani, was quoted by AFP as saying he was “proud” to witness such “historic moments”.

This also stamped the end of the significant evacuation effort which began on 14th August with the aim of evacuating as many qualfying Afghans from the nation as soon as the Taliban gained control of the country.

Gen Kenneth McKenzie, America’s leading military official for the region, said that overall, US and coalition aircraft managed to evacuate in excess of 123,000 civilians – and average of more than 7,500 civilians a day during that time.

US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinked hailed the evacuation operation, calling it a “massive, diplomatic and humanitarian undertaking” and one of the most demanding the nation has completed.

“A new chapter has begun” he stated. “The military mission is over. A new diplomatic mission had begun.”

He continued by declaring that the Taliban needed to earn its legitimacy and would be judged on the extent to which they fulfil commitments which they have promised previously, including protecting right of all Afghans including women, and preventing terrorist groups from making the nation a haven.

However, the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan has opened up more uncertainty for the nation with many fearing that more violence is likely to occur.

President Joe Biden has issued a brief statement thanking those involved in the evacuation process over the last 17 days and stating that he would address the whole nation later on Tuesday.

SEE ALSO: What’s Happening in Afghanistan? 


What's Happening in Afghanistan

What’s Happening in Afghanistan?

Over the past few weeks, the Islamic military organisation known as the Taliban have swept through the country of Afghanistan taking the majority of the nation’s major provinces and cities, most recently the capital, Kabul. By seizing the capital from governmental control, this means that the group have managed to regain control of the South-Central Asian nation for the first time since 2001, when they were removed from power by a US-led force. So what’s happening in Afghanistan?

Who are the Taliban?

The Taliban, translated as “students” in the Pashto language, are an Islamic extremist group that emerged during the early years of the 1990s. They proclaim that they are loyal followers of Islam, however, much of their actions and beliefs are much more extreme compared to a large number of Muslims.

Ever since the organisation was ousted by a US-led military coalition in 2001, they have been fighting to gain back control of the country from the Afghan government. When they governed much of the nation between the years 1996-2001, the group introduced their own strict version of Islamic law. This meant that there were various stern rules and regulations put in place for both men and women. For men, some of these rules included having to grow a beard but the majority of laws heavily impacted women. Not only were women obligated to wear burkas that would cover their whole face as well as body, but they were also barred from working and gaining an education. There were also various other things which the Taliban banned such as forms of entertainment i.e., television and music.

In addition to the strict laws they put in place, there were also extreme punishments for those they believed were breaking these laws, some of the most extreme coming in the form of amputations for those found guilty of theft and public executions for those found guilty of adultery. Due to these rigorous laws and extreme punishments, many in the West have accused the Taliban of violating many human rights codes.

Who are the key figures within the Taliban?

Hibatullah Akhundzada:

Presently, the leader of the group is Hibatullah Akhundzada. He was appointed as leader in 2016 following the death of his predecessor, Mullah Mansour, to a US drone strike.  

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar:

He was one of the founders the Taliban back in 1994 alongside Mullah Omar. Following his release from custody in Pakistan in 2018, he has been a key figure regarding the political side of the Taliban, running the political office of the group.

Sirajuddin Haqqani:

Currently, he is the deputy leader of the Taliban and is the leader of the Haqqani Network. This is the group which administers the Taliban’s military and financial resources across the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. The group is also disreputable for the use of terrorist attacks within the nation, specifically suicide bombings.

Mullah Yaqoob:

The son Mullah Omar, of one of the founding members of the Taliban, Yaqoob is the military chief of the Taliban and therefore overlooks the groups military operations within the country. He was given the role as military chief in 2020.

How have the Taliban attained back control of the country?

In the last 20 years, the Afghanistan government have been supported by the US following the war. However, in April 2021, US President Joe Biden announced that US troops would be leaving the nation, imposing a deadline of 11th September.

Since that announcement from the US President, the Taliban have been ravaging through the country, taking control of various different territories in a matter of weeks. Key cities which they have seized control of include Herat, Kandahar and Mazar-i-Sharif. The speed in which these areas have been taken have increased in recent weeks leading the group to draw closer to the capital, Kabul. Consequently, in recent days, the group managed to gain control of Kabul, taking possession of the presidential palace and therefore claiming victory.

What do the Taliban want for Afghanistan and what will happen now?

One of the Taliban’s main aims is to restore the strict Islamic laws introduced when they were last in power. However, in recent talks regarding political settlement, the group has made affirmations to the West that they would allow for women to participate in more activities permitted by Islam such as enabling the ability to be educated and to work. Nevertheless, there is still trepidation and fear from many that the Taliban will continue to force changes. Opposers from different Taliban-controlled regions are already expressing worry for women with reports claiming that the group is already driving changes to the way they appear and their right to work.

In excess of 60 countries have contributed to a joint statement instructing the Taliban to let civilians be evacuated and allow for them to leave Afghanistan for their safety.

What have the US government done?

The US have sent over troops to aid with the evacuation and removal of their staff and the Afghan troops.

“We’re relocating the men and women of our embassy to a location at the airport,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on ABC when asked what’s happening in Afghanistan. “That’s why the president sent in a number of forces to make sure that, as we continue to draw down our diplomatic presence, we do it in a safe and orderly fashion.”

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