The Russian ground offensive in Ukraine is starting to show signs of slowing down, as President Vladimir Putin’s forces assume a more defensive posture outside of the besieged capital Kyiv, says Mai’a Cross, Edward W. Brooke Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at Northeastern. At the same time, missile strikes are continuing in cities such as Mariupol, where residents are struggling to live without access to food, water, and shelter after heavy Russian shelling that’s left residential neighborhoods completely destroyed. Other cities, such as Kherson, have been under Russian occupation for days. Residents there remain defiant of Kremlin rule and have staged protests and pushed back against their military occupiers.
The situation on the ground continues to evolve rapidly, even as Western leaders held back-to-back emergency meetings on Thursday—first NATO, then the G7 and the European Union—while Russia’s invasion entered its second month. And though it appears Ukrainians have launched a counteroffensive and are gaining ground in some parts of the war-torn country, the present situation is on the cusp of an even deadlier escalation, Cross says.