Jakarta, IO – The Russian invasion in Ukraine is entering a new phase, with new developments in the second phase. First, after failing to occupy the capital of Kyiv and its surrounding areas, toppling the government of President Zelensky with a puppet government supporting Russian interests, the Russian military retreating, regrouping and then refocusing its efforts on occupation of the eastern part of Ukraine. Battles in the eastern part of Ukraine have intensified, particularly in the city of Mauripol, the largest city in the country, along with Karkiev, the second-largest city. However, whether the Russian military will be successful in occupying the Donbas region remains to be seen. The failure to occupy Kyiv and its surrounding areas showed that Ukraine, despite having a smaller military capacity and less weaponry, has successfully resisted a better-equipped and -trained Russian military. Thus, we might predict that see this war will not end soon. Many analysts believe that now the objective for President Putin is to occupy the Donbas region by May 9, 2022, and declare some sort of victory: May 9 is very important for Russia, for this date is when the USSR won the war against Nazi Germany in World War II. So, a declaration of victory (if any), on May 9 will revive the spirit of the Russian people and strengthen President Putin’s popularity.
Second, as the Russian army retreated from Kyiv and its surrounding areas, Ukraine officials and the press found atrocities of war in the city of Bucha. Officials in towns near Kyiv, including Bucha and Makariv, discovered hundreds of civilian bodies on the streets and in destroyed buildings, as they assessed the damage following the withdrawal of Russian forces from around the capital. The Ukrainian government accused Russia of having committed human rights violations.
Third, as the atrocities of the war were uncovered, negotiations between Russia and Ukraine to end hostilities became more difficult. President Zelensky already stated that it is more difficult to pursue peace talks with Russia, having witnessed such atrocities of the war as those found in Bucha and other cities in Ukraine. In such a situation, we don’t know when and how this conflict will end. Fourth, the US and its allies have imposed new economic sanctions on Russia, even targeting the daughter of Putin himself. These new economic sanctions will further devastate the Russian economy, pushing it to the brink. Fifth, although the Russian government denied having committed atrocities and blamed them on the Ukrainians, the UN Assembly suspended the membership of Russia in the UN Human Rights Council. Earlier, Western countries also canceled Russian membership in G-7. Efforts to isolate and/or remove Russia from various multilateral organizations may continue soon.