Peace talks between Ukraine and Russia ended on Monday, with further shelling of Ukrainian cities and cultural targets arriving just a day later. While the second round of negotiations is now expected, some argue that it is becoming increasingly clear that Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to take total control over Ukraine – and the bombing of multiple Ukrainian cities in recent days suggests this could be the case.
Speaking to the British media in late February, political professor Anthony Glees said that “the invasion of Ukraine has begun” and that Putin won’t stop his military aggression and bombing campaign until he has taken full control over Ukraine.
When asked by BBC Radio host Jeremy Vine whether Russian tanks would stop at the Eastern provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk, Glees said that the thought was just “moonshine.”
“And the idea that there could be a reprieve, let us be in no mistake Jeremy, the invasion of Ukraine has begun,” he said. “And it will end only as far as Ukraine is concerned when Ukraine has been fully taken over by Putin, his armed forces, then his secret police.
Bombing Campaign Suggests Total Ukraine Invasion Efforts
Putin stepped up his bombing campaign on Ukraine this week, targeting some of the most densely populated parts of the country outside of Kyiv.
Kharkiv, the second-largest city in Ukraine, was hit by rockets on Monday, killing dozens of people in the process. Multiple rockets were fired at non-military and non-government targets, including at least five apartment complexes, one of which was located next to a hospital. A supermarket was also hit by rockets on the same day.
A government administration building was also hit by Russian missiles, with CCTV footage showing the building engulfed in flames.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that dozens of people were killed in the attack, adding that “nobody will forgive, nobody will forget.”
“This attack on Kharkiv is a war crime,” he added.
Russian forces entered the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson on Monday, however, Ukrainian interior ministry advisor Vadym Denysenko said on Tuesday that Ukraine still controls the city administration building.
Mariupol has also seen intense fighting. A port city, Mariupol is located to the southwest of the pro-Russian region of Luhansk, making it a strategic target for Russian forces. Should the invading forces capture the city, it would make it easy for pro-Russian separatists in the east of Ukraine to join with Russian military forces, effectively isolating Ukrainian troops left in the region.
Footage shows apartment buildings in the city in flames, and reports suggest that residents have been left without heat and electricity for days.
While Ukrainian soldiers and citizens continue to fight on the streets with invading Russian forces, over half a million refugees have fled Ukraine so far, according to the United Nations refugee agency.
Putin’s military aggression goes well beyond the promised “peacekeeping mission” in pro-Russian eastern regions of Ukraine, indicating that Russia may be planning to take control of the entire country.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and report on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.