WASHINGTON (August 24, 2022) On Wednesday Ukraine observes its Independence Day – a holiday that marks the anniversary of the country’s declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. This year’s holiday falls on the six-month anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, making it too dangerous to allow any major public celebrations in Kyiv. President Volodymr Zelenskyy warned the country there may be increased Russian attacks and urged people to observe the curfew.

Robert W. Orttung is a research professor of International Affairs at the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs and faculty member of the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies.

On the occasion of the anniversary of the invasion he offers this analysis:

“The day is a significant reminder that Russia is now seeking to erase Ukraine as a country from the map and restore control over its territory. The fact that Ukraine has managed to hold off the Russian onslaught and even turn the tide demonstrates its resilience. In Ukraine more than 10 million people are displaced, tens of thousands are dead, and cities are in ruins. Nevertheless, Ukraine has retained its sovereignty and seems to be gaining strength.  

Meanwhile in Russia, the war has exposed the illegitimate nature of Putin's leadership and cracks are starting to show. The domestic situation is uncertain and potentially unstable. Russia's position on the international stage has dropped dramatically since the fighting began.”