Ukrainian Resistance Efforts Form as Russia Invades

Ethan Kellogg, Contributing Writer

“Any further expansion of the North Atlantic alliance’s infrastructure … [is] unacceptable for us … the leading NATO countries are supporting the far-right nationalists and neo-Nazis in Ukraine … I made a decision to carry out a special military operation … The purpose of this operation is to … demilitarize and denazify Ukraine … It is not our plan to occupy the Ukrainian territory.” Russian President Vladimir Putin used these words on February 24th to unofficially declare war on Ukraine, in a culmination of months of tension. Rockets immediately began flying across the Russia-Ukraine and Belarus-Ukraine borders. Russian troops advanced along a front stretching from Crimea in the south to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the north. Moscow expected Ukraine to fall within days. That did not happen.

As the battle intensified, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed, “We will not put down weapons, we will defend our state.” Russian vehicles ordered to storm Kharkiv were found the next day charred or abandoned. Ukrainian ambushes and drone strikes destroyed military convoys and captured countless weapons. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have enlisted; many are ordinary people with no military experience. Civilians are even throwing Molotov cocktails at Russian vehicles. As CRLS history teacher Mr. Montgomery explained to the Register Forum, “It is clear that Vladimir Putin underestimated the strength of the Ukrainian military and the will of the Ukrainian people.”

Russian soldiers, misled about the invasion of a “brotherly nation” where their family and friends live, “have surrendered en masse or sabotaged their own vehicles to avoid fighting,” according to the Business Times. Then, only miles from the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, Russian logistics collapsed; the Russian military was unable to provide its troops with adequate food, ammunition, and fuel.

Will the Russians win this war? It depends on the definition of ‘winning.’

It was clear that without a major change in strategy, Russia would be unable to make further gains, so the Kremlin began razing Ukrainian cities, seeking their surrender. Thousands of shells and cluster bombs have fallen on large cities in an attempt to break the will of the Ukrainian people by killing civillians, the New York Times reports. According to the Financial Times, “Ukraine called off an attempt to evacuate civilians from … Mariupol after accusing Russia of violating a ceasefire and attacking the escape route for hundreds of thousands of beleaguered civilians.” These attacks have led millions to flee to the European Union. Men between the ages of 18 and 60, however, are not permitted to leave the country as they may be conscripted to fight.

Will the Russians win this war? It depends on the definition of “winning.” Many analysts, such as Anshel Pfeffer of Haaretz, believe that the Russians will eventually spread into the rest of Ukraine and defeat the regular Ukrainian military. However, most of those same analysts agree that the Ukrainians will mount an insurgency that will make full occupation of the country impossible—Putin’s Afghanistan. But for the time being, the world can only wait and speculate.

This piece also appears in our March 2022 edition.