Nearly four months after Russia first invaded Ukraine, sparking a deadly war with global implications, Ukraine retains control of its capital city Kyiv.
What happens if Russia takes over Kyiv? Here are possible scenarios and where Kyiv’s power stands today.
Kyiv has already been attacked multiple times.
In late March, Kyiv experienced carpet bombing when Russian forces were “actively trying to encircle the Ukrainian capital,” according to NBC News. In early June, Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said the city experienced its first attack in weeks, with explosions heard overnight. “The attack comes just as life in Kyiv had begun to resemble a kind of normality, after Russia decided to concentrate its forces in the east,” reported DW News.
Where Kyiv stands today
As of late June, Kyiv remains under Ukrainian control. Meanwhile, cities in eastern Ukraine remain under intense war-time strife. This includes the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. Russia currently occupies a large proportion of the Severodonetsk region. According to the BBC, “Russian officials have said their forces are fighting for the ‘complete liberation’ of the Donbas, which broadly refers to Ukraine's eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, where Russian-backed separatists held significant territory before the invasion.”
Despite falling victim to numerous attacks, Ukraine has been able to recapture Kyiv and the surrounding regions.
Still, the fight isn't without impact. Ukrainians continue to find cadavers in areas just outside Kyiv. Vyacheslav Tsyliuryk, the head of the local police, said on June 21, "We have found more bodies around checkpoints in this area."
If Russia takes over Kyiv, what’s next?
Russia taking over Kyiv would be detrimental to the sovereign nation of Ukraine, but the targeted nation and its allies will do everything to prevent it. Plus, Russian troops are reportedly losing steam. As of early June, about 40,000 Russian troops were wounded and an estimated 15,000 dead.
World leaders in mid-June congregated in Kyiv to push for Ukraine’s inclusion in the European Union (EU). An EU candidacy would make it nearly impossible for Russia to take over Ukraine for good, and the prospect of Ukraine joining the EU looks bright as the European Commission is expected to sign off on the recommendation to consider candidacy.
The foreign affairs minister of EU capital Luxembourg, Jean Asselbor, said, “We are working towards the point where we tell [Russian President Vladimir] Putin that Ukraine belongs to Europe, that we will also defend the values that Ukraine defends.”
Meanwhile, Europe minister in France Clement Beaune noted “a total consensus on moving these issues forward, and in particular for Ukraine the possibility of confirming candidate status as soon as possible.”
Ultimately, Russia overtaking Kyiv would signal that the inciting nation is seriously trying to take over Ukraine. An EU inclusion and faltering Russian forces could be Ukraine's saving grace.