After months of tension and threats by Russia toward Ukraine, the Russian military forces poised north, east, and south of Ukraine began a full-scale invasion by crossing the Ukrainian border on February 23, 2022. On the 24th massive battles reportedly were taking place all across Ukraine as Russian forces attacked Ukraine’s military positions. By the morning of Feb. 24, reports of stiff Ukrainian resistance were making it difficult for Russian troops to advance. Ukraine has claimed that they have killed over 1,000 Russian soldiers and destroyed several tanks, fighter jets, and helicopters.
By Saturday, Feb 26, the Ukrainian military said that their forces have killed over 3,500 Russian soldiers and over 200 were taken as prisoners. The military said that two major convoys of Russian troops and armor were destroyed overnight. They also claimed that Ukraine had destroyed 14 Russian planes, 8 helicopters, and that 102 tanks had been seized or destroyed. Many pictures of destroyed Russian military equipment have been released by the Ukrainians. Also on Saturday, many nations announced that they would be sending significant military supplies to Ukraine including 1,000 anti-tank missiles and 500 Stinger surface-to-air missiles to shoot down Russian aircraft.
The EU and the US are considering severe sanctions on Russia, which may include severing Europe’s dependence on Russia for natural gas and other energy. It has also been suggested that Russia could be cut off from using the SWIFT electronic payment network, which would significantly hurt their economy.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky remained in the capital city of Kyiv and authorized the distribution of automatic Kalashnikov rifles (AK47s) to any Ukrainian citizen with a valid passport. As many as 30,000 rifles were distributed on Thursday, Feb 24th alone. It appears that the people of Ukraine are willing to fight for their country and this may indicate that Russia will have a very difficult time taking over. Russia may actually suffer a major economic and military setback from this invasion.
Update, November 2022
On November 12, 2022, the Ukraine state media reported that the Ukrainian armed forces had killed over 80,000 Russian troops since the start of the war. Ukraine has pushed Russia out of the north and central regions and is now freeing territory in the east and the south. The latest figures published by Ukraine indicate that they have also destroyed 2,838 tanks, 5,730 armored personnel carriers, 1,829 artillery systems, many hundreds of multiple-launch rocket systems and anti-aircraft systems, and 333 aircraft of various types (Breitbart article, “Ukrainian Military Claims it has now ‘Liquidated’ over 80,000 Russians”, by Jack Montgomery). The Ukraine military forces recently liberated the city of Kherson in the south as they pushed the Russian forces further into Crimea.
It is clear that the supply of US and NATO missiles, artillery, and anti-tank weapons has made a difference in the battle for Ukraine. It now looks like Russia will have a difficult time maintaining territory within Ukraine unless they move many more troops and military equipment into the war.
Update, June 2022
By mid-June 2022, after 110 days of the war, it was reported by Defense Express that the Russian casualties had increased to the following levels:
Personnel – 32,150
Tanks ‒ 1,430
Armored personnel vehicles ‒ 3,484
Artillery systems – 715
Multiple launch rocket systems – 226
Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 97
Aircraft – 212
Helicopters – 178
Unmanned aerial vehicles, operational-tactical level – 582
Cruise missiles – 125
Ships/cutters – 13
Special equipment – 54
Vehicles and fuel tanks – 2,455
Although Russia could go on to win this war, it is clear that they are having tremendous problems. They have lost staggering amounts of men and equipment for such a short war, and the economic and political costs have been enormous. Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, may not survive much longer. His popularity has plummeted and he is rumored to have terminal cancer.
It is quite clear that Russia is trying to reestablish the former Soviet Union and re-exert itself once again as a global superpower. However, what they may have inadvertently done is to increase further the unity and power of the NATO Alliance and the European Union.
What does this mean for End Times prophecy? The following points reflect what the Bible says about Russia in the Last Days:
- Ezekiel 38-39 predicts that a future northern power will attack Israel in the “latter years”. This prophecy identifies the northern power as Russia and also identifies many of the nations that will be in league with them (see The Attack of Russia).
- The prophet Daniel predicts that this battle will occur at The Time of the End as a result of a Middle East war between Israel and two neighboring nations, one to the north and one to the south (likely Egypt and Syria) (Dan. 11:36-45, especially v. 44 which portends Russia’s attack).
- Jesus predicted that these wars would begin after the Abomination of Desolation (Matt. 24:15-21). The Lord warned that when those in Jerusalem see this event occur, they should run to the mountains because a time of Great Tribulation is about to happen that has no parallel in history.
- The near-term effects of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine may be to consolidate Europe into becoming more unified and powerful to defend itself against such attacks. This strengthening would be in preparation for the rise of the Final World Empire, which will initially arise out of the former Roman Empire and quickly take over the world with The Antichrist as its leader.