Bombings of nuclear power plants, bodies littering the streets, cities reduced to ashes, the year 2022 was marked with a red iron by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, which took the planet by surprise and had global repercussions which are still being felt as far away as Quebec.

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“It’s the event of all the impossible,” summed up Guillaume Lavoie, associate member of the Raoul-Dandurand Chair.

The QMI Agency chose the war in Ukraine as the most significant event of 2022, according to a survey of Quebecor information managers.

“[It is] a major event in the modern geopolitical chessboard. This is the story unfolding before our eyes, ”said Ariane Caron-Lacoste, assistant to the notebooks, CASA and Zeste and editor, Les éditions du Journal.

The day after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation”, Ukraine found itself under bombardment by the Russian army on the night of February 23 to 24.

This invasion stems from several years of conflict between the two countries, notably with the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the Donbass war.

“I don’t need a lift, I need ammunition.” This sentence, pronounced by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky after the Americans’ proposal to transfer him to a safe place, will however trigger a wave of mobilization from the international community.

Planetary repercussions

The event, which was not only confined to European borders, had global repercussions on the grain market, the price of gasoline and inflation.

“The pressure on the agricultural sector only amplifies the upward pressure on inflation, whether you are in Berlin, Paris, Quebec or Rimouski,” explained Mr. Lavoie.

The United States, the European Union, NATO, without forgetting Canada, mobilized military and financial resources to support the country which saw its cities razed by Russian bombardments.

Ukrainians, who tried to find refuge in other countries during the first weeks of the conflict, also marked the collective imagination. In Canada, more than 128,000 Ukrainians settled during the year, particularly in Quebec where citizens opened their doors to help refugees.

More than a million Russians have also left their country following the announcement of a mobilization of men to join the weakened ranks of the Russian army: a decision that will have consequences for several generations.

“The invasion, with the bombs and the thousands of deaths, alone deserves the title of significant event of the year,” said Jean-Louis Fortin, director of the Bureau of Investigation. “But in Canada, these events were also a startling reminder: Russia is our immediate neighbor to the North and the sovereignty of our territory, which is badly defended there, could be in jeopardy.”

According to Mr. Lavoie, “the great naivety of the West has been to underestimate how important occupying Ukraine is in the Russian national psyche”. An obsession that dates back to the reigns of Peter the Great and Catherine the Great in the 18th century and which should continue in 2023.