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Five days into the Russia-Ukraine war: fighting while negotiating

Ukraine calls for EU membership, Russia puts nuclear forces on high alert

by: Isti Miskolczy

Five days after the dawn of the unthinkable Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Ukrainian delegation led by Oleksii Reznikov, Minister of Defence has arrived at the Ukrainian-Belarussian border where peace negotiations are believed to be taking place between the two countries. While Moscow continues to demand ceasing any closer relationship between Ukraine and the EU and NATO and puts its nuclear forces on high alert, Ukraine calls for an immediate EU membership and ceasefire.

“We appeal to the European Union for Ukraine’s immediate accession under a new special procedure” the Ukrainian President said in a broadcasted address. Via Twitter, he also thanked numerous other countries and their leaders for their support, including Romania, Poland and the United Kingdom. Many European countries have indeed decided to send arms and aid to Ukraine.

Photo courtesy of geralt via Pixabay.

Volodymyr Zelensky - who is not attending the peace talks in person but did not flee the capital Kyiv either - has been also urging his nation in the past five days not to lay down weapons and to defend their state. The armed forces of Russia and Ukraine have been clashing at numerous locations within the country, mostly around larger cities including Mariupol, Lviv, Kharkiv and Kyiv. At the time of the writing of this article (28 February 11AM BST) the latest update of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence reported heavy fighting and the Ukrainian resistance continuing to disturb Russian forces.

Nevertheless, the Russian army has reportedly captured several strategically crucial locations.

These include airports and nuclear plant sites. Moscow also continues to launch rockets and advance into the middle of Ukraine, especially towards Kyiv. According to certain sources, however, they have been slowed down by purpose via orders, while others assert that it was the underestimated Ukrainian countermeasures that compelled the Russian Armed Forces to decrease the scale of the invasion. The Gaudie was unable to independently verify either of these claims as well as the exact number of human and equipment casualties on both sides.

Moscow’s goal is to ensure Ukraine remains under its sphere of influence.

If not as a friend, then via military means. Although the Kremlin initially favoured the EU’s enlargement – perceiving it as a substitute and counterbalance to NATO’s expansion – it is now openly against the expansion of both organisations, because of the historically strongly anti-Russian Baltic states and Poland joining and sanctions becoming more intense.

As a response to the conflict, sanctions of the United States and the European Union have become the most severe ever.

They include the expulsion of some Russian banks from SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) as well as personal sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and their assets. As a result, the European branches of the Russian Sberbank are on the brink of bankruptcy and the ruble (Russian currency) has plunged by around 40% against the US dollar on the market. Russia has also been stripped of hosting the Champions League final and its Formula One Grand Prix later this year.

Amidst the war hundreds of thousands of people are trying to escape from Ukraine mainly by cars or trains. While massive crowds are gathering at train stations to leave the country, huge traffic jams have also been accumulating at the Polish, Hungarian and Romanian borders of Ukraine.

The Gaudie has managed to reach a volunteer at the Hungarian-Ukrainian border.

They reported that most of the refugees arriving at the border are speaking Surzhyk (a mixed sociolect of Ukrainian and Russian languages) and leaving the area as soon as possible (many have relatives in Hungary who offered shelter). Our source also highlighted that among those fleeing the country many are foreign students from various Ukrainian universities and in need of donations.

The Gaudie has also collected a list of resources for those seeking to help those affected by the crisis, which is available online on our website.


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