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Humanitarian Crisis Worsens

Geofrey RobertApr 15, 2022 (0)

Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues with attacks in air, land, and sea causing severe destruction across the country. Mariupol port city has been reduced to depilated buildings with power and water systems destroyed completely. More than 100,000 people are trapped in the cities, and the Russians refuse to let them leave. Russians are escalating their attacks on the city after failing to capture the city after a long siege. On the 14th of April, a video was released online that showed more than 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers surrendering to the Russians after being encircled for a month. The horrific video shows some of the Ukraine soldiers appearing to be injured.

The soldiers' surrender indicates the possibility of Kremlin soldiers capturing the city, which most of it has been bombed to the ground. Mariupol's humanitarian situation is beyond comprehension, with residents spending more than a month of siege without water or electricity. The video shown by Russian State media showed Ukrainian soldiers walking with their hands raised and another soldier being carried with a sketcher with a white flag raised as a sign of surrender. After more than a month of fighting, some of the soldiers were injured and besieged without access to food, ammunition, medicine, and water.

Humanitarian Corridors Too Dangerous

A British soldier fighting with Ukrainian marines in Mariupol city told his family that they had no choice but to surrender after running out of supplies. Aiden Aslin told the family that the marines had run out of food and ammunition and no supplies could get to them due to encircling by the Russians. The surrender paints a picture of the horror situation in the city for residents who are trapped and unable to live. One can imagine the level of misery the residents are facing that drives trained soldiers to surrender to the Russians. However, Ukraine's government rejected the reports on the surrender and claimed that none of the soldiers had surrendered to the Russians. Moscow also announced that Russians had captured Mariupol city.

President Putin warned that the Ukraine offensive would continue as planned without any withdrawal and significant losses. Ukraine Deputy prime minister Vereshchuk warned that all humanitarian corridors would remain closed due to fears of Russian attacks on such corridors. Russia has shown no commitment to respecting humanitarian corridors or civilian rights in armed conflicts. Several humanitarian groups have suspended evacuation in Mariupol city, terming the mission too risky due to the lack of Russian troops' commitment to allowing humanitarian assistance and evacuation of civilians from the besieged city.

Janez Lenarcic, the European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, stated that more than 16 million people inside Ukraine will need protection and relief.

‘'We are witnessing what could become the largest humanitarian crisis on our European continent in many years. The needs are growing as we speak''.

     -Janez Lenarcic, the European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management

The impact on the children and families is concerning with thousands of Ukrainian children without access to safe water, electricity, and heating due to extensive damage to critical infrastructure by Ukrainian bombardment. Ukrainian civilians are experiencing profound trauma due to the violence around them, and their children are among the injured by Russian attacks.

Recently, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights advised Ukrainians to avoid the highly populated areas due to the areas being the most targeted by Russian attacks.  The International Committee of the Red Cross and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has reiterated their calls for Russia to respect and adhere to the international law ensuring humanitarian access.

Russian Warship Blows up

Russian Moskva missile cruiser in the Black Sea was severely damaged in unclear circumstances, with over 300 people on board feared dead. Russia stated that the warship blew up after explosions caused by chemicals inside the ship. However, Ukraine claimed it fired a missile targeting the ship and successfully blew the ship and sank it with the occupants. Maksym Marchenko, the governor of Odesa near the black sea, claimed a triumph announcing that two missiles had hit the ship. Ukraine's Ministry of Defense claimed that they deployed a Neptune missile, a coastal anti-cruise ship missile with capabilities of destroying enemy ships within a 300-kilometer distance.

Micheal Peterson, the director of Russia Maritime Studies Institute at US Naval War College, told Radio 4's Today program that such news of Russian vessel destruction was a significant victory at sea. Destroying a Russian warship part of the Black Sea fleet is a serious issue and test of the Russian Naval capability. Ukraine's ability to hit Russian military power with limited naval ability is encouraging and shows their commitment to stay in the fight for their country.  In March 2022, Ukraine claimed they had destroyed a sizeable Russian landing support ship, the Orsk, on a smaller sea of Azov to the northeast of the Black Sea, and Russia did not comment on what happened to the ship.

Ukraine Needs Help

The blowing of the warship and reported capture of Mariupol port city show the world that the war is not ending soon, and the world must prepare for any eventuality. Bombing a Russian warship may escalate the situation and expand the offensive, especially in East and Southern Ukraine, where the new attacks are witnessed. Ukraine requires new weapons to counter Russian attacks in the Black Sea, especially after its naval arsenal was destroyed in the 2014 Crimea war. Russia's president has already warned that their mission in Ukraine will continue with minimal withdrawal and causalities on their part.

With Russia bragging that the West's economic sanctions will not hurt them, more should be done to assist Ukraine. The Ukrainian army and civilians face a deadly danger without more weapons, as witnessed in Mariupol, where the Army Marines were besieged by Russian forces with no escape or supplies route. Ukraine has suffered severe damage to its critical infrastructure, government buildings, airports, and civilian buildings, and the damage is estimated to be over $500 billion. Without help, Ukraine would be reduced to nothing, and it would take decades to reconstruct the country from the devastation. World Bank estimated that Ukraine's economy has dropped by 35% due to war, affecting global supply chains.

Geofrey Robert is an experienced freelance researcher and writer with over five years of experience. He holds a Bachelor of law. His research interests are International law, Peace & Security, Conflict, humanitarian issues, and climate change. He worked as a peace and security news writer for and also contributed to their periodic PEACE MONITOR MAGAZINE as a peace researcher and writer focusing on the Israel-Palestine conflict.


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