A year-end look at the Ukraine war

STORY: (Vladimir Putin, Russian President) "The People's Republic of Donbass asked Russia for help."

Key moments of the Ukraine war

-February 24, 2022-

Vladimir Putin ordered tens of thousands of Russian troops into Ukraine on a 'special military operation'

"I decided to conduct a special military operation. It aims to protect people who have been bullied and subjected to genocide by the Kyiv regime for eight years. For that, we will strive for demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine."

As Russian bombs fell on Kyiv, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy made clear he would go nowhere

-February 26, 2022-

(Volodymyr Zelenskyi, Ukrainian President) "Lately there has been a lot of fake information online that I call on our army to lay down arms and to evacuate. Listen. I am here. We will not lay down the weapons. We will defend our state."

The West imposed an unprecedented package of sanctions on Russia, its top companies

and its business and political elite in response to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine

-March 8, 2022-

(U.S. President Joe Biden) “We're banning all imports of Russian oil and gas and energy. That means Russian oil will no longer be acceptable at U.S. ports, and the American people will deal another powerful blow to Putin's war machine."

-The refugee crisis-

Millions took flight as Russia pounded Ukrainian cities

in what the United Nations said was the fastest-growing refugee crisis in generations

Some 4.5 million Ukrainian refugees have been recorded across Europe

and 6.9 million people are believed displaced internally within Ukraine


I’m from the south of Ukraine, where the war initially started. Bad people came there and mutilated our life. And now I have to leave my whole family behind. And I'm running away with a child. I don't know where I'm going. I'm running away with the child because I want my child to stay alive.”

(Mark Goncharuk, Kyiv resident)

“We left dad in Kyiv. Dad will be selling things and helping our heroes, our army, he might even fight.”


On March 9, Russia bombed a maternity hospital in Mariupol

killing three people, including a child

Between March and June, Russian forces destroyed the once-prosperous port city

Ukraine says tens of thousands of civilians died, with food, water and medical supplies cut

Ukrainian forces were holed up for weeks in Azovstal, one of Europe's largest steel plants

After surrendering in May, they were taken to a pro-Russian separatist-run prison camp

where dozens died in July in a fire which both sides blamed on each other


By the end of March, Russia's assault on Kyiv had failed

Moscow announced its withdrawal from northern Ukraine as a 'goodwill gesture'

But as its troops pulled out, they left evidence of their occupation in ruined towns and villages

Scores of victims were found in the suburb of Bucha, some with hands tied

Russia denied blame and claimed, with no evidence, that the killings were staged

-April 4-

(Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukrainian President)

“These are war crimes and they will be recognized by the world as genocide. You are here today and can see what happened. We know of thousands of people killed and tortured, with severed limbs, raped women, murdered children. I think it is more than… This is a genocide.”


Having failed to take Kyiv, Russia changed its war aims to focus on the eastern region of Donbas

That unleashed the most devastating ground battles of the war

Throughout June, both sides claimed to have killed thousands of enemy soldiers

The focus of the war had moved mainly to the south

Kyiv vowed to recapture swaths of territory seized by Russia


By September the Ukrainian counteroffensive was well underway

Russia withdrew some forces from the Kharkiv region

Putin's Chechen ally Ramzan Kadyrov conceded things were not going to plan

Ukrainian forces drove the Russians out of Kharkiv in early October

-October 8-

A symbolic strike followed on the bridge linking Russia to the annexed Crimea peninsula

Victory in Kherson came in early November


The Kremlin had responded with a partial mobilization of 300,000 men

-September 21-

(Vladimir Putin) "I think it is necessary to support the proposal of the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff to conduct a partial military mobilization in Russia. I repeat: we are only talking about a partial mobilization.

But amid a chaotic call-up, thousands fled Russia to avoid the draft


Moscow called referendums aimed at annexing four occupied Ukrainian regions

The yes votes in the east and southeast were dismissed as a sham by Kyiv

-Infrastructure attacks-

Russia expanded its targeting of Ukraine's critical infrastructure as winter arrived

which left estimates of 10 million people without power or heating

Zaporizhzhia's crippled nuclear power plant remained in Russian hands

but with the U.N. hopeful of securing agreement for a protection zone soon