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Ukraine is in the midst of a conflict that has been escalating for years now. The conflict between Ukraine and Russia, stemming from the annexation of Crimea in 2014, has increased in intensity in recent years, with Russia launching an invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. This is a war of attrition that has seen hundreds of casualties and displaced thousands of people.

In response to the growing tensions, Ukraine recently announced it is entering “a new phase of the war.” This was confirmed by Valerii Zaluzhnyi, commander in chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, who released a video statement on Telegram last week. In the video, Zaluzhnyi announced that Ukraine was preparing the battlefield for the next step in the war.

The new phase of the conflict has already included some diplomatic successes for Ukraine. In May of this year, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed notorious Russian mercenary leader Evgeniy Prigozhin to Ukraine, where Prigozhin declared his support for the Ukrainian cause. This was a significant step forward for Ukraine, whose political and military victories have been few and far between up until this point.

The new phase of the war also saw a second success for Ukraine. In late July of this year, Ukrainian troops were able to gain control of the Bakhmut district from Russian-funded separatist forces. This victory was especially meaningful since it demonstrated the capability of Ukraine’s military to assert authority over the region.

The Russian government has not taken kindly to the newfound confidence of Ukraine. In a recent interview with the BBC, Russian defense minister Sergei Vedernikov accused Ukraine of using “ provocations or sabotage” to create violence along the border. Though he didn’t provide evidence, Vedernikov clearly believes Ukraine is trying to capitalize on the instability in the region.

It remains to be seen what steps both Ukraine and Russia will take as the war enters its new phase. With the situation intensifying on the ground, it will be increasingly important for each side to weigh their options carefully. The consequences of any mistake could be catastrophic. Fortunately, both sides appear to be taking a measured approach, and it is hoped that peace can eventually be achieved.