Russia’s War Crimes Against Ukraine: What Can Be Done?

An an analysis of Russia’s war against Ukraine.


Valery Tenevoy / Unsplash

Putin’s blatant disregard for the safety of civilians and noncombatants has gone too far.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of waging “a war of extermination.Russian shellings have hit non-military targets such as civilian campsites, food, grain, and fertilizer warehouses. 

“What could be Russia’s strategic success in this war? Honestly, I do not know,” said Ukrainian President Zelenskyy.

Putin’s act of simply declaring this as a special military operation is an outrage. Putin declared that he intended for the “demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine” with this war, but a number of questions arise from that statement. For one, why are Russian forces targeting non-military targets if it truly is an operation for the demilitarization of Ukraine? Also, “denazification” is a little ironic since President Zelenskyy is Jewish. So let’s discuss what actually happened in this “military operation.”

On February 24th, 2022, Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine firing missiles in multiple locations near the capital, Kyiv. However, military locations are not the only targets of the Russian force. Russia’s targets include the cities of Odessa, Kherson, and Mariupol. These cities represent Ukraine’s logistics and sea lines of communication, and by targeting these cities, Russian forces hope to negatively impact Ukraine’s economy while also gaining access to the Black Sea. Heartbreaking videos of families being separated, wounded civilians in pain, and Russian missiles hitting clearly labeled civilian shelters have gone viral.

What is the world doing about the atrocities being committed? So far the U.S. has sanctioned two major Russian state-owned banks and has imposed restrictions on technology sent over to Russia. The United Kingdom has sanctioned over 100 individuals, frozen assets of Russian banks in the U.K, and banned the Russian airline Aeroflot from the country. Additionally, the E.U is severing 70 percent of Russia’s banking system from international markets. Despite the financial repercussions Russia is suffering, Putin is not backing down.

Will Putin eventually gain complete access over the Black Sea, make significant gains in Ukraine, “denazify,” and demilitarize Ukraine? I don’t think so. Russian forces aren’t making any significant gains so far and that is for a number of reasons. The soldiers are suffering from low morale from Putin sending them in on a “military exercise.” The heavy rain seems to be a hindrance to their tanks and mobility. Also, Russian forces have a limited supply of food and fuel since they are on foreign soil. With the Russian presence in Ukraine being difficult to maintain long-term, I expect Russian forces to eventually withdraw and Russia as a whole to face some long-term consequences from this “military exercise.”

“What could be Russia’s strategic success in this war? Honestly, I do not know,” said Ukrainian President Zelenskyy.