War between Russia and Ukraine continues on

Ukraine+remains+at+war+with+Russia+but+is+gaining+traction+and+taking+territory+back+from+Russia.+

Photo by Mae Skaja

Ukraine remains at war with Russia but is gaining traction and taking territory back from Russia.

Despite a decrease in mainstream media coverage, Ukraine is still enduring an ongoing violent conflict with invading Russian soldiers as ordered by President Vladimir Putin. Social media users in particular haven’t been as urgent to share donation links or news updates now compared to earlier in the war when it was trending #1 in the world on various social platforms—but with the shocking destruction of Russia’s Crimean bridge on President Vladimir Putin’s birthday, Ukraine is fully back in the news.

Major progress aside from the bridge blast has been made in the region. Ukraine has had recent successes that have sparked some hope in the country’s citizens in several cities such as Kharkiv, the administrative center of the sizable Kharkiv Oblast province, which has won over about 8,000 square kilometers within the month. This is a huge step towards Ukraine deflecting and possibly defeating Russia after a decades-long on-and-off conflict.

“There has been conflict in this region of the world for many years — from the expansion of the Soviet Union and the Cold War in the 20th Century to Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014, and the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier this year,” said Columbia Heights High School (CHHS) social studies teacher Ms. Kristen Sinicariello. “I think the Ukrainians have enough motivation, manpower and foreign aid to beat off the current Russian invasion, and Putin is quickly losing public support for his war. However, I am not hopeful that peace will return to Eastern Europe any time soon. Just this week Russia illegally annexed parts of Eastern Ukraine and Zalensky claimed that peace talks between the two nations could not go forward. It will be a long road ahead for peace.” 

Even though Ukraine has reached such a huge and impactful milestone in winning back territory, its spotlight in the public eye has quieted until the recent bridge explosion. Just a few weeks ago, a quick look at the currently trending topics and tags on TikTok or Twitter shows searches and posts about and from the Eastern European battlegrounds getting far less attention and traction than those about the royal family or “Corn Kid.”  

 “It’s a very scary situation, but in my opinion, it’s [also] a stupid situation that should’ve never happened in the first place,” Isiah Green (11) said.

One might argue that the oversaturation of the news, and the general anti-war sentiment of young people, made it difficult for the country’s turmoil to remain in the spotlight.

But the tragedies remain unthinkable: recently, over 100 emergency service workers in the country’s northeast Izyum forest have had to dig into the earth and open unestablished graves. Ukrainian officials believe this is due to recent war crimes committed by Russia and are trying to establish the real cause of the death of these hundreds of Ukrainians in the forest at the edge of the city, as Izyum was invaded by Russia in April and used as a military base to help their forces in the East.

“There is no doubt war crimes have been committed here,” Kharkiv regional prosecutor Olexander Ilyenkov said to Al Jazeera. “In the first grave, there is a civilian who has a rope over her neck. So we see the traces of torture.”

In spite of much progress, Ukraine is still facing countless harsh and fatal struggles. In the meantime, frontline charities such as Prytula Foundations, United24 and Razom for Ukraine are still accepting donations, and some journalists (including are still accepting donations, and some journalists (including Janine di Giovanni of The Times for London and Richard Engel of NBC) are still diligently reporting from the country.