Russia vs. Ukraine: What’s Happening?
POSTED September 20, 2022
(This is a simplified version of some of the events that have happened in Ukraine since late February 2022.)
Early morning on February 24, 2022, Russia started its invasion of Ukraine after weeks of stalking around their borders claiming to be doing “military practices”. Now, almost 7 months later, the invasion continues with multiple cities in Ukraine being controlled by Russia’s military forces. Thousands of lives have been lost, and billions of dollars in damages have been done in Ukraine. But Ukraine hasn’t given up trying to fight back and gain control of their country.
As of September 12, 2022, Russia’s military troops have gained control in parts of these eastern Ukrainian regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhia, and Kherson. They have also held control in Crimea dating back to 2014.
However, Ukraine isn’t going down without a fight. As Russia tries to invade more of Ukraine, Ukraine’s military has been fighting back using weaponry sent from the west. Different parts of the world have stopped trading with Russia as well, to show that they are on Ukraine’s side.
While currently no nuclear weapons are being used in this conflict, there is still a nuclear threat. Since the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been taken control by Russia’s military forces, the power plant has been shot at, and the power has previously gone off. Currently, the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) has been sent down to check and make sure that all the shellings and other military maneuvers near the power plant haven’t made Zaporizhzhia unstable.
Many people are worried about the power plant going into a nuclear meltdown due to the war happening around it. Mark Wenman, the head of the Centre for Doctoral Training in Nuclear Energy Futures, had this to say in response to these worries. “I wouldn’t be too worried. Zaporizhzhia was built in the 1980s, which is relatively modern. It has a solid containment building. It’s 1.75m (5.75ft) thick, of heavily reinforced concrete on a seismic bed and it takes a h*ll of a lot to breach that.”
The main concern is if Zaporizhzhia loses all electricity for nuclear reactors. If that happens, there are diesel backup generators. If those also fail, it would lead to a lack of coolant. And with no power to pump the reactor core, the fuel would start to melt. The melting nuclear fuel would start to release radioactive substances into Ukraine’s environment.
Despite Russia’s vast control over parts of Ukraine, there has been recent success on Ukraine’s part. Ukraine seems to be pushing Russian troops out of some parts of the captured territories. They even misled Russian troops to think that they would attack the south, but instead attacked the north, gaining some land back. But will this be the end of this 7-month-long war? Or is President Putin planning a counterattack?