2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine
Part of the Russo-Ukrainian War
2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.svg
Military situation as of 16 August 2022
   Controlled by Ukraine
   Occupied by Russia

For a more detailed map, see the Russo-Ukrainian War detailed map
Date24 February 2022 (2022-02-24) – present
(5 months, 3 weeks and 3 days)
Status Ongoing (list of engagements · control of cities · timeline of events)
Commanders and leaders
Units involved
Order of battle Order of battle
  •  Russia: ~175,000–190,000[14][15]
  • Donetsk PR: 20,000[16]
  • Luhansk PR: 14,000[16]
  •  Ukraine:
    • 196,600 (armed forces)
    • 102,000 (paramilitary)[17]
Strength estimates are as of the start of the invasion.
Casualties and losses
Reports vary widely.
See Casualties and humanitarian impact for details.

On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine in a major escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War that began in 2014. The invasion caused Europe's largest refugee crisis since World War II,[18][19] with more than 6.4 million Ukrainians fleeing the country[20][21] and a third of the population displaced.[22][23] The invasion also caused global food shortages.[24][25]

In 2014, Russia invaded and annexed Crimea, and Russian-backed separatists seized part of the Donbas region of south-eastern Ukraine, consisting of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts, sparking a regional war.[26][27] In 2021, Russia began a large military build-up along its border with Ukraine, amassing up to 190,000 troops and their equipment. In a televised address shortly before the invasion, Russian president Vladimir Putin espoused irredentist views,[28] challenged Ukraine's right to statehood,[29][30] and falsely[31] claimed Ukraine was governed by neo-Nazis who persecuted the ethnic Russian minority.[32] On 21 February 2022, Russia recognised the Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic, two self-proclaimed breakaway quasi-states in Donbas.[33] The next day, the Federation Council of Russia authorised the use of military force, and Russian troops promptly advanced on both territories.[34]

The invasion began on the morning of 24 February,[35] when Putin announced a "special military operation" to "demilitarise and denazify" Ukraine.[36][37] Minutes later, missiles and airstrikes hit across Ukraine, including the capital Kyiv. A large ground invasion followed from multiple directions.[38][39] Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy enacted martial law and a general mobilisation of all male Ukrainian citizens between 18 and 60, who were banned from leaving the country.[40][41] Russian attacks were initially launched on a northern front from Belarus towards Kyiv, a north-eastern front towards Kharkiv, a southern front from Crimea, and a south-eastern front from Luhansk and Donetsk.[42][43] During March, the Russian advance towards Kyiv stalled. Amidst heavy losses and strong Ukrainian resistance, Russian troops retreated from Kyiv Oblast by 3 April. On 19 April, Russia launched a renewed attack on Donbas, which has been proceeding very slowly, with Luhansk Oblast only fully captured by 3 July,[44] while other fronts remained largely stationary. At the same time, Russian forces continued to bomb both military and civilian targets far from the frontline, including in Kyiv,[45] Lviv,[46] Serhiivka near Odesa and Kremenchuk, among others. On 20 July, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov announced that Russia would respond to the increased military aid being received by Ukraine from abroad as justifying the expansion of the 'special operations' front to include military objectives in both the Zaporizhzhia Oblast and Kherson Oblast beyond the original objectives of the oblasts of the Donbas region.[47]

The invasion has received widespread international condemnation. The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution condemning the invasion and demanding a full withdrawal of Russian forces.[48] The International Court of Justice ordered Russia to suspend military operations and the Council of Europe expelled Russia. Many countries imposed sanctions on Russia, which have affected the economies of Russia and the world,[49] and provided humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine.[50] Protests occurred around the world; those in Russia were met with mass arrests and increased media censorship,[51][52] including a ban on the words "war" and "invasion".[39][53] The International Criminal Court has opened an investigation into crimes against humanity in Ukraine since 2013, as well as war crimes in the 2022 invasion.[54]


Protesters in Independence Square in Kyiv during the Orange Revolution, November 2004

After the Soviet Union (USSR) dissolved in 1991, the newly independent republics of Ukraine and Russia maintained ties. Ukraine agreed in 1994 to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and dismantle the nuclear weapons in Ukraine left by the USSR.[55] In return, Russia, the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States (US) agreed in the Budapest Memorandum to uphold the territorial integrity of Ukraine.[56][57]

In 1999, Russia signed the Charter for European Security, which "reaffirmed the inherent right of each and every participating state to be free to choose or change its security arrangements, including treaties of alliance".[58] After the Soviet Union collapsed, several former Eastern Bloc countries joined NATO, partly due to regional security threats such as the 1993 Russian constitutional crisis, the War in Abkhazia (1992–1993) and the First Chechen War (1994–1996). Russian leaders claimed Western powers pledged that NATO would not expand eastward, although this is disputed.[59][60][61]

Ukraine, with the annexed Crimea in the south and two self-proclaimed separatist republics in Donbas in the east

Following the Euromaidan protests and a revolution named Revolution of Dignity resulted the removal of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014, due to which pro-Russian unrest erupted in parts of Ukraine. Russian soldiers without insignia took control of strategic positions and infrastructure in the Ukrainian territory of Crimea, and seized the Crimean Parliament. Russia organised a controversial referendum, whose outcome was for Crimea to join Russia. Russia's annexation of Crimea followed in March 2014, then the war in Donbas, which began in April 2014 with the formation of two Russia-backed separatist quasi-states: the Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic.[62][63] Russian troops were involved in the conflict.[64][65][66] The Minsk agreements was signed in September 2014 and February 2015 were a bid to stop the fighting, but ceasefires repeatedly failed.[67]

A dispute emerged over the role of Russia: Normandy Format members France, Germany, and Ukraine saw Minsk as an agreement between Russia and Ukraine, whereas Russia insisted Ukraine should negotiate directly with the two separatist republics.[68][69] In 2021, Putin refused offers from Zelenskyy to hold high-level talks, and the Russian government subsequently endorsed an article by former president Dmitry Medvedev arguing it was pointless to deal with Ukraine while it remained a "vassal" of the US.[70] The annexation of Crimea led to a new wave of Russian nationalism, with much of the Russian neo-imperial movement aspiring to annex more Ukrainian land, including the unrecognised Novorossiya.[71] Analyst Vladimir Socor argued that Putin's 2014 speech after the annexation of Crimea was a de facto "manifesto of Greater-Russia Irredentism".[72] In July 2021, Putin published an essay titled "On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians", reaffirming that Russians and Ukrainians were "one people".[73]


Russian military buildup (March 2021 – February 2022)[]

US paratroopers of 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment depart Italy's Aviano Air Base for Latvia, 23 February 2022. Thousands of US troops were deployed to Eastern Europe amid Russia's military build-up.[74]

In March and April 2021, Russia began a major military build-up near the Russo-Ukrainian border. A second build-up followed from October 2021 to February 2022, in both Russia and Belarus.[75] Members of the Russian government repeatedly denied having plans to invade or attack Ukraine;[76][77] including government spokesman Dmitry Peskov on 28 November 2021, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on 19 January 2022,[78] Russian ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov on 20 February 2022,[76] and Russian ambassador to the Czech Republic Alexander Zmeevsky on 23 February 2022.[79][80]

Putin's chief national security adviser, Nikolai Patrushev,[81] believed that the West had been in an undeclared war with Russia for years.[82] Russia's updated national security strategy, published in May 2021, said that Russia may use "forceful methods" to "thwart or avert unfriendly actions that threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Russian Federation".[83][84] Sources say the decision to invade Ukraine was made by Putin and a small group of war hawks in Putin's inner circle, including Patrushev and Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.[85]

When in early December 2021 Russia denied plans to invade, the US released intelligence, including satellite photographs of Russian troops and equipment near the Russo-Ukrainian border, that indicated otherwise, and continued to accurately predict invasion events.[86][87] The intelligence also said that the Russians had a list of key sites, and of individuals to be killed or neutralised in the invasion.[86]

Russian accusations and demands[]

On 10 January 2022, Ukrainian deputy prime minister Olha Stefanishyna and NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg spoke to media about the prospect of a Russian invasion.

In the months preceding the invasion, Russian officials accused Ukraine of Russophobia, inciting tensions, and repressing Russian speakers in Ukraine. They also made multiple security demands of Ukraine, NATO, and non-NATO allies in the EU. Commentators and Western officials described these as attempts to justify war.[88][89] "Russophobia is a first step towards genocide", Putin said on 9 December 2021.[90][91] Putin's claims about "de-Nazification" have been described as absurd,[92] and Russian claims of genocide were widely rejected as baseless.[93][94][95] Scholars of genocide and Nazism said that Putin's claims were "factually wrong",[96][97][98] and that they actually contribute to incitement to genocide of Ukrainians by accusation in a mirror.[99][100]

Putin challenged the legitimacy of the Ukrainian state and claimed[101] that "Ukraine never had a tradition of genuine statehood",[102] incorrectly described it as created by Soviet Russia,[29] and falsely said Ukrainian society and government were dominated by neo-Nazism.[32]

Ukraine, like pro-Russian separatists in Donbas,[103][104][105][106] has a far-right fringe, including the neo-Nazi-linked Azov Battalion and Right Sector,[110] but experts have described Putin's rhetoric as greatly exaggerating the influence of far-right groups within Ukraine; there is no widespread support for the ideology in the government, military, or electorate.[88][32][111] Zelenskyy, who is Jewish, rebuked Putin's allegations, noting that his grandfather served in the Soviet army fighting Nazis.[112] The US Holocaust Memorial Museum and Yad Vashem condemned this use of Holocaust history and allusion to Nazi ideology in propaganda.[113][114]

Vladimir Putin (right) and his long-time confidant Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.[115]

During the second build-up, Russia demanded that the US and NATO enter into a legally binding arrangement preventing Ukraine from ever joining NATO, and remove multinational forces from NATO's Eastern European member states.[116] Russia threatened an unspecified military response if NATO followed an "aggressive line".[117] These demands were widely seen as non-viable; new NATO members in Central and Eastern Europe had joined the alliance because they preferred the safety and economic opportunities offered by NATO and the EU, and their governments sought protection from Russian irredentism.[118] A formal treaty to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO would contravene the treaty's "open door" policy, despite NATO's unenthusiastic response to Ukrainian requests to join.[119]

Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz made efforts to prevent the war in February. Macron met with Putin but failed to convince him not to go forward with the attack. Scholz warned Putin about heavy sanctions that would be imposed should the invasion happen. Scholz also pleaded with Zelenskyy to renounce the aspiration to join NATO and declare neutrality, however Zelenskyy refused it.[120]

Alleged clashes (17–21 February 2022)[]

Fighting in Donbas escalated after 17 February 2022.[121] Ukraine and Donbas each accused the other of firing across the line of conflict.[122][123] On 18 February, the Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics ordered all civilians to leave their capitals,[124][125][126] Ukrainian media described a sharp increase in artillery shelling by the Russian-led militants in Donbas as an attempt to provoke the Ukrainian army.[127][128] On 19 February both separatist republics declared full mobilisation.[129]

In the days leading up to the invasion, the Russian government intensified a disinformation campaign intended to mute public criticism. Russian state media promoted fabricated videos (many amateurish)[130][131] that purported to show Ukrainian forces attacking Russians in Donbas; evidence showed that the purported attacks, explosions, and evacuations were staged by Russia.[132] On 21 February, the head of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) said that Russian forces had killed five Ukrainian "saboteurs" that had crossed into Russian territory, captured one Ukrainian serviceman and destroyed two armoured vehicles. Ukraine denied this, and warned that Russia sought a pretext for an invasion. The Sunday Times described it as "the first move in Putin's war plan".[133][134]

Escalation (21–23 February 2022)[]

Putin's address to the nation on 21 February (English subtitles available)

On 21 February,[135] The Russian government recognised the Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics.[136] The same evening, Putin ordered Russian troops into Donbas, on what he called a "peacekeeping mission".[137][138] Several members of the UN Security Council condemned the 21 February intervention in Donbas; none voiced support.[139] On 22 February, video footage shot in the early morning showed Russian armed forces and tanks moving in the Donbas region.[140] The Federation Council authorised the use of military force outside Russia.[141] Zelenskyy called up army reservists;[142] and Ukraine's parliament proclaimed a 30-day national state of emergency.[143][144] Russia evacuated its embassy from Kyiv.[145] DDoS attacks widely attributed to Russian-backed hackers[146][147] hit the websites of the Ukrainian parliament and executive branch, and many bank websites also.[148] Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) denied reports of Chinese military espionage on the eve of the invasion, including on nuclear infrastructure.[149][150][151][non-primary source needed]

On 23 February,[152] Zelenskyy gave a speech in Russian, appealing to Russian citizens to prevent war.[153][154] He refuted Russian claims of neo-Nazis in the Ukrainian government and said that he had no intention of attacking Donbas.[155] Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on 23 February that separatist leaders in Donetsk and Luhansk had sent Putin a letter saying that Ukrainian shelling had caused civilian deaths and appealing for military support from Russia.[156] Ukraine requested an urgent UN Security Council meeting.[157][158] Half an hour into the emergency meeting, Putin announced the start of military operations in Ukraine. Sergiy Kyslytsya, the Ukrainian representative, called on the Russian representative, Vasily Nebenzya, to "do everything possible to stop the war" or relinquish his position as president of the UN Security Council; Nebenzya refused.[159][160]

Declaration of military operations[]

On 24 February, before 5 am. Kyiv time,[161] Putin announced a "special military operation" in eastern Ukraine and "effectively declared war on Ukraine."[162][163] In his speech, Putin said he had no plans to occupy Ukrainian territory and that he supported the right of the Ukrainian people to self-determination.[164] He said the purpose of the "operation" was to "protect the people" in the predominantly Russian-speaking region of Donbas who he falsely claimed that "for eight years now, [had] been facing humiliation and genocide perpetrated by the Kyiv regime".[165]

Putin said that Russia sought "demilitarisation and denazification" of Ukraine.[166] Within minutes of Putin's announcement, explosions were reported in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, and the Donbas region.[167] An alleged leaked report from within the FSB claimed that the intelligence agency was not warned of Putin's plan to invade Ukraine.[168] Immediately following the attack, Zelenskyy declared martial law in Ukraine.[169] The same evening, he ordered a general mobilisation of all Ukrainian males between 18 and 60 years old[41] who were prohibited from leaving the country.[170] Russian troops entered Ukraine from the north in Belarus (towards Kyiv); from the north-east in Russia (towards Kharkiv); from the east in the DPR and the Luhansk People's Republic; and from the south in Crimea.[171] Russian equipment and vehicles were marked with a white Z military symbol (a non-Cyrillic letter), believed to be a measure to prevent friendly fire.[75]

Invasion and resistance[]

Military control around Kyiv on 2 April 2022

The invasion began at dawn of 24 February,[162] with infantry divisions and armoured and air support in Eastern Ukraine, and dozens of missile attacks across both Eastern Ukraine and Western Ukraine.[172][173] The first fighting took place in Luhansk Oblast near Milove village on the border with Russia at 3:40 am Kyiv time.[174] The main infantry and tank attacks were launched in four spearhead incursions, creating a northern front launched towards Kyiv, a southern front originating in Crimea, a south-eastern front launched at the cities of Luhansk and Donbas, and an eastern front.[42][43] Dozens of missile strikes across Ukraine reached as far west as Lviv.[175][176] Wagner Group mercenaries and Chechen forces reportedly made several attempts to assassinate Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The Ukrainian government said these efforts were thwarted by anti-war officials in Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), who shared intelligence of the plans.[177]

On 25 March, the Russian Defence Ministry said the "first stage" of what they called the "military operation in Ukraine" was generally complete, that the Ukrainian military forces had suffered serious losses, and the Russian military would now concentrate on the "liberation of Donbas".[178][179] The "first stage" of the invasion was conducted on four fronts[180][181] including one towards western Kyiv from Belarus, conducted by the Russian Eastern Military District, comprising the 29th, 35th, and 36th Combined Arms Armies. A second axis deployed towards eastern Kyiv from Russia by the Central Military District (north-eastern front), comprised the 41st Combined Arms Army and 2nd Guards Combined Arms Army. A third axis deployed towards Kharkiv by the Western Military District (eastern front), with the 1st Guards Tank Army and 20th Combined Arms Army. A fourth, southern, front originating in occupied Crimea and Russia's Rostov oblast with an eastern axis towards Odesa and a western area of operations toward Mariupol, by the Southern Military District, including the 58th, 49th, and 8th Combined Arms Army, the latter also commanding the 1st and 2nd Army Corps of the Russian separatist forces in Donbas[182]

By 7 April, Russian troops deployed to the northern front by the Russian Eastern Military District pulled back from the Kyiv offensive, apparently to resupply and then redeploy to the Donbas region to reinforce the renewed invasion of south-eastern Ukraine. The north-eastern front, including the Central Military District, was similarly withdrawn for resupply and redeployment to south-eastern Ukraine.[182][183] By 8 April, General Alexander Dvornikov was placed in charge of military operations during the invasion.[184] On 18 April, retired Lieutenant General Douglas Lute, the former US ambassador to NATO, reported in a PBS NewsHour interview that Russia had repositioned its troops to initiate a new assault on Eastern Ukraine which would be limited to Russia's original deployment of 150,000 to 190,000 troops for the invasion, though the troops were being well supplied from adequate weapon stockpiles in Russia. For Lute, this contrasted sharply with the vast size of the Ukrainian conscription of all-male Ukrainian citizens between 16 and 60 years of age, but without adequate weapons in Ukraine's highly limited stockpiles of weapons.[185] On 26 April, delegates of the US and 40 allied nations met at Ramstein Air Base in Germany to discuss forming a coalition to provide economic support and military supplies and refitting to Ukraine.[186] Following Putin's Victory Day speech in early May, US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said no short term resolution to the invasion should be expected.[187]

Russian forces improved their focus on protecting their supply lines by advancing more slowly, and more methodically. They also benefited from centralising command under General Dvornikov.[188] Ukraine's reliance on Western-supplied equipment constrained it, as Western countries feared that Ukraine would use it to strike targets in Russia.[189] Military experts disagree on the future of the conflict; some have suggested trading territory for peace,[190] while others believe that Ukraine can sustain their resistance to the invasion, due to the Russian losses.[191] On 26 May 2022, the Conflict Intelligence Team, citing Russian soldiers, reported that Colonel General Gennady Zhidko had been put in charge of Russian forces during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, replacing Army General Dvornikov.[192][193] By 30 May, disparities between Russian and Ukrainian artillery were apparent. Russian artillery had a longer range, for example.[194] In response to Biden's indication that enhanced artillery would be provided to Ukraine, Putin indicated that Russian would expand its invasion front to include new cities in Ukraine and in apparent retribution ordered a missile strike against Kyiv on 6 June after not directly attacking the city for several weeks.[195] On 10 June 2022, Vadym Skibitsky, deputy head of Ukraine's military intelligence, stated during the Severodonetsk campaign that the frontlines were where the future of the invasion would be decided: "This is an artillery war now, and we are losing in terms of artillery. Everything now depends on what [the west] gives us. Ukraine has one artillery piece to 10 to 15 Russian artillery pieces. Our western partners have given us about 10% of what they have."[196]

On 29 June, Reuters reported that Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, updating U.S. intelligence assessment of the Russian invasion, said that U.S. intelligence agencies agree that the invasion will continue "for an extended period of time... In short, the picture remains pretty grim and Russia's attitude toward the West is hardening."[197] On 5 July, BBC reported that extensive destruction by the Russian invasion would cause immense financial damage to Ukraine's reconstruction economy stating: "Ukraine needs $750bn for a recovery plan and Russian oligarchs should contribute to the cost, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has told a reconstruction conference in Switzerland."[198]

First phase: Invasion of Ukraine (24 February – 7 April)[]

2022 Russian Invasion of Ukraine Phase 1 from 24 February to 7 April 2022

The invasion began on 24 February, launched out of Belarus to target Kyiv, and from the northeast against the city of Kharkiv. The southeastern front was conducted as two separate spearheads, from Crimea and the southeast against Luhansk and Donetsk.[42][43]

First phase – Northern front[]

Russian efforts to capture Kyiv included a probative spearhead on 24 February, from Belarus south along the west bank of the Dnipro River, apparently to encircle the city from the west, supported by two separate axes of attack from Russia along the east bank of the Dnipro: the western at Chernihiv, and the eastern at Sumy. These were likely intended to encircle Kyiv from the north-east and east.[173][172]

Russia apparently tried to rapidly seize Kyiv, with Spetsnaz infiltrating into the city supported by airborne operations and a rapid mechanised advance from the north, but was unsuccessful.[199][200][201][202] Russian forces advancing on Kyiv from Belarus gained control of the ghost towns of Chernobyl and Pripyat.[203][204] Russian Airborne Forces attempted to seize two key airfields near Kyiv, launching an airborne assault on Antonov Airport,[205][206] And a similar landing at Vasylkiv, near Vasylkiv Air Base, on 26 February.[207][208]

By early March, Russian advances along the west side of the Dnipro were limited by Ukrainian defences.[173][172] As of 5 March, a large Russian convoy, reportedly 64 kilometres (40 mi) long, had made little progress toward Kyiv.[209] The London-based think tank Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) assessed Russian advances from the north and east as "stalled".[210] Advances from Chernihiv largely halted as a siege began there. Russian forces continued to advance on Kyiv from the northwest, capturing Bucha, Hostomel, and Vorzel by 5 March,[211][212] though Irpin remained contested as of 9 March.[213] By 11 March, the lengthy convoy had largely dispersed and taken cover.[214] On 16 March, Ukrainian forces began a counter-offensive to repel Russian forces.[215] Unable to achieve a quick victory in Kyiv, Russian forces switched their strategy to indiscriminate bombing and siege warfare.[216][217]

On 25 March, a Ukrainian counter-offensive retook several towns to the east and west of Kyiv, including Makariv.[218][219] Russian troops in the Bucha area retreated north at the end of March. Ukrainian forces entered the city on 1 April.[220] Ukraine said it had recaptured the entire region around Kyiv, including Irpin, Bucha, and Hostomel, and uncovered evidence of war crimes in Bucha.[221] On 6 April, NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said that the Russian "retraction, resupply, and redeployment" of their troops from the Kyiv area should be interpreted as an expansion of Putin's plans for Ukraine, by redeploying and concentrating his forces on Eastern Ukraine.[183] Kyiv was generally left free from attack apart from isolated missile strikes. One did occur while UN Secretary-General António Guterres was visiting Kyiv on 28 April to discuss with Zelenskyy the survivors of the siege of Mariupol.[222]

First phase – North-eastern front[]

Russian forces advanced into Chernihiv Oblast on 24 February and besieged its administrative capital. The next day Russian forces attacked and captured Konotop.[223][224] A separate advance into Sumy Oblast the same day attacked the city of Sumy, just 35 kilometres (22 mi) from the Russo-Ukrainian border. The advance bogged down in urban fighting, and Ukrainian forces successfully held the city, claiming more than 100 Russian armoured vehicles were destroyed and dozens of soldiers were captured.[225] Russian forces also attacked Okhtyrka, deploying thermobaric weapons.[226]

On 4 March, Frederick Kagan wrote that the Sumy axis was then "the most successful and dangerous Russian avenue of advance on Kyiv", and commented that the geography favoured mechanised advances as the terrain "is flat and sparsely populated, offering few good defensive positions".[172] Travelling along highways, Russian forces reached Brovary, an eastern suburb of Kyiv, on 4 March.[173][172] The Pentagon confirmed on 6 April that the Russian army had left Chernihiv Oblast, but Sumy Oblast remained contested.[227] On 7 April, the governor of Sumy Oblast said that Russian troops were gone, but left behind rigged explosives and other hazards.[228]

First phase – Southern front[]

A destroyed Russian BMP-3 near Mariupol, 7 March

On 24 February, Russian forces took control of the North Crimean Canal, allowing Crimea to obtain water from the Dnieper, cut off since 2014.[229] On 26 February, the siege of Mariupol began as the attack moved east linking to separatist-held Donbas.[226][230] En route, Russian forces entered Berdiansk and captured it.[231] On 1 March, Russian forces attacked Melitopol and nearby cities.[232][233] On 25 February, Russian units from the DPR moves on Mariupol and were defeated near Pavlopil.[234][235][236] By evening, the Russian Navy reportedly began an amphibious assault on the coast of the Sea of Azov 70 kilometres (43 mi) west of Mariupol. A US defence official said that Russian forces might be deploying thousands of marines from this beachhead.[237][238][239]

The Russian 22nd Army Corps approached the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant on 26 February[240][241] and besieged Enerhodar to take control of it.[242] A fire began,[243] but the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) subsequently said that essential equipment was undamaged.[244] The nuclear power plant fell under Russian control but despite the fires, it recorded no radiation leaks.[245]

A third Russian attack group from Crimea moved northwest and captured bridges over the Dnieper.[246] On 2 March, Russian troops won a battle at Kherson the first major city to fall to Russian forces in the invasion.[247] Russian troops moved on Mykolaiv and attacked it two days later, but were repelled by Ukrainian forces.[248] Also on 2 March, Ukrainian forces initiated a counter-offensive on Horlivka,[249] controlled by the DPR since 2014.[250]

After renewed missile attacks on 14 March in Mariupol, the Ukrainian government said more than 2,500 had died.[251] By 18 March, Mariupol was completely encircled and fighting reached the city centre, hampering efforts to evacuate civilians.[252] On 20 March, an art school sheltering around 400 people, was destroyed by Russian bombs.[253] The Russians demanded surrender, and the Ukrainians refused.[42][43] On 24 March, Russian forces entered central Mariupol.[254] On 27 March, Ukrainian deputy prime minister Olha Stefanishyna said that "(m)ore than 85 percent of the whole town is destroyed."[255] Putin told Emmanuel Macron in a phone call on 29 March that the bombardment of Mariupol would only end when the Ukrainians surrendered.[256]

On 1 April Russian troops refused safe passage into Mariupol to 50 buses sent by the United Nations to evacuate civilians, as peace talks continued in Istanbul.[257] On 3 April, following the retreat of Russian forces from Kyiv, Russia expanded its attack on Southern Ukraine further west, with bombardment and strikes against Odesa, Mykolaiv, and the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.[258][259]

First phase – Eastern front[]

Russian bombardment on the outskirts of Kharkiv, 1 March

In the east, Russian troops attempted to capture Kharkiv, less than 35 kilometres (22 mi) from the Russian border,[260][261] and met strong Ukrainian resistance. On 25 February, the Millerovo air base was attacked by Ukrainian military forces with OTR-21 Tochka missiles, which according to Ukrainian officials, destroyed several Russian Air Force planes and started a fire.[175][176] On 28 February, missile attacks killed several people in Kharkiv.[262] On 1 March, Denis Pushilin, head of the DPR, announced that DPR forces had almost completely surrounded the city of Volnovakha.[263] On 2 March, Russian forces were repelled from Sievierodonetsk during an attack against the city.[264] Izium was reportedly captured by Russian forces on 17 March,[265] although fighting continued.[266]

On 25 March, the Russian defence ministry said it would seek to occupy major cities in Eastern Ukraine.[267] On 31 March, the Ukrainian military confirmed Izium was under Russian control,[268][269] and PBS News reported renewed shelling and missile attacks in Kharkiv, as bad or worse than before, as peace talks with Russia were to resume in Istanbul.[270]

Amid the heightened Russian shelling of Kharkiv on 31 March, Russia reported a helicopter strike against an oil supply depot approximately 35 kilometres (22 mi) north of the border in Belgorod, and accused Ukraine of the attack.[271] Ukraine denied responsibility.[272] By 7 April, the renewed massing of Russian invasion troops and tank divisions around the towns of Izium, Sloviansk, and Kramatorsk prompted Ukrainian government officials to advise the remaining residents near the eastern border of Ukraine to evacuate to western Ukraine within 2–3 days, given the absence of arms and munitions previously promised to Ukraine by then.[273]

Second phase: South-eastern offensive (8 April – present)[]

2022 Russian Invasion of Ukraine Phase 2 from 7 April to 7 August 2022

On 8 April, the Russian ministry announced that all troops and divisions in south-eastern Ukraine would unite under General Aleksandr Dvornikov, who was placed in charge of combined military operations, including the units redeployed from the northern front and north-eastern fronts.[184] By 17 April, Russian progress on the south-eastern front appeared to be impeded by opposing Ukrainian forces in the large, heavily fortified Azovstal steel mill and surrounding area in Mariupol.[274] On 19 April, The New York Times confirmed that Russia had launched a renewed invasion front referred to as an "eastern assault" across a 300-mile (480 km) front extending from Kharkiv to Donetsk and Luhansk, with simultaneous missile attacks again directed at Kyiv in the north and Lviv in Western Ukraine.[275] As of 30 April, a NATO official described Russian advances as "uneven" and "minor".[276] An anonymous US Defence Official called the Russian offensive: "very tepid", "minimal at best" and "anaemic".[277] On 26 May 2022, the Conflict Intelligence Team, citing Russian soldiers, reported that Colonel General Gennady Zhidko had been put in charge of Russian forces during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, replacing Army General Dvornikov.[192][193] In June 2022 the chief spokesman for the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation Igor Konashenkov revealed that Russian troops are divided between the Army Groups "Center" commanded by Colonel General Aleksander Lapin and "South" commanded by Army General Sergey Surovikin.[278] On 20 July, Lavrov announced that Russia would respond to the increased military aid being received by Ukraine from abroad as justifying the expansion of its special military operation to include objectives in both the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions.[279]

Second phase – Donbas front; Fall of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk[]

Military control around Donbas as of 31 May 2022

A Russian missile attack on Kramatorsk railway station in the city of Kramatorsk took place on 8 April, reportedly killing at least 52[280] and injuring 87 to 300.[281] On 11 April, Zelenskyy said that Ukraine expected a major new Russian offensive in the east.[282] American officials said that Russia had withdrawn or been repulsed elsewhere in Ukraine, and therefore was preparing a retraction, resupply, and redeployment of infantry and tank divisions to the south-eastern Ukraine front.[283][284] Military satellites photographed extensive Russian convoys of infantry and mechanised units deploying south from Kharkiv to Izium on 11 April, apparently part of the planned Russian redeployment of its north-eastern troops to the south-eastern front of the invasion.[285]

On 14 April, Ukrainian troops reportedly blew up a bridge between Kharkiv and Izium used by Russian forces to redeploy troops to Izium, impeding the Russian convoy.[286] On 18 April, with Mariupol almost entirely overtaken by Russian forces, the Ukrainian government announced that the second phase of the reinforced invasion of the Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv regions had intensified with expanded invasion forces occupying of the Donbas.[287] On 5 May, David Axe writing for Forbes stated that the Ukrainian army had concentrated its 4th and 17th Tank Brigades and the 95th Air Assault Brigade around Izium for possible rearguard action against the deployed Russian troops in the area; Axe added that the other major concentration of Ukraine's forces around Kharkiv included the 92nd and 93rd Mechanized Brigades which could similarly be deployed for rearguard action against Russian troops around Kharkiv or link up with Ukrainian troops contemporaneously being deployed around Izium.[288]

On 13 May, BBC reported that Russian troops in Kharkiv were being retracted and redeployed to other fronts in Ukraine following the advances of Ukrainian troops into surrounding cities and Kharkiv itself, which included the destruction of strategic pontoon bridges built by Russian troops to cross over the Seversky Donets river and previously used for rapid tank deployment in the region.[289] On 22 May, the BBC reported that after the fall of Mariupol, Russia had intensified offensives in Luhansk and Donetsk while concentrating missile attacks and intense artillery fire on Sievierodonetsk, the largest city under Ukrainian control in Luhansk province.[290] On 23 May, Russian forces were reported entering the city of Lyman, fully capturing the city by 26 May.[291][292] Ukrainian forces were reported leaving Sviatohirsk.[293] By 24 May, Russian forces captured the city of Svitlodarsk.[294] On 30 May, Reuters reported that Russian troops had breached the outskirts of Sievierodonetsk.[295] By 2 June, The Washington Post reported that Sievierodonetsk was on the brink of capitulation to Russian occupation with over 80 per cent of the city in the hands of Russian troops.[296] On 3 June, Ukrainian forces reportedly began a counter-attack in Sievierodonetsk. By 4 June, Ukrainian government sources claimed 20% or more of the city had been recaptured.[297] However, on 5 June Ukrainian governor of Luhansk Serhiy Haidai said Dvornikov was still in command and had been given until 10 June by his superiors to complete the reduction of Severodonetsk.[298]

On 12 June it was reported that possibly as many as 800 Ukrainian civilians (as per Ukrainian estimates) and 300–400 soldiers (as per Russian sources) were besieged at the Azot chemical factory in Severodonetsk.[299][300] With the Ukrainian defences of Severodonetsk faltering, Russian invasion troops began intensifying their attack upon the neighbouring city of Lysychansk as their next target city in the invasion.[301] On 20 June it was reported that Russian troops continued to tighten their grip on Severodonetsk by capturing surrounding villages and hamlets surrounding the city, most recently the village of Metelkine.[302] On 24 June, CNN reported that, amid continuing scorched-earth tactics being applied by advancing Russian troops, Ukraine's armed forces were ordered to evacuate the city; they'd leave several hundred civilians seeking refuge in the Azot chemical plant in Severodenetsk, which has been compared to the civilian refugees left at the Azovstal steel works in Mariupol during May.[303] On 3 July, CBS announced that the Russian defense ministry claimed that the city of Lysychansk had been captured and occupied by Russian forces.[304] On 4 July, The Guardian reported that after the fall of the Luhansk oblast, that Russian invasion troops would continue their invasion into the adjacent Donetsk oblast to attack the cities of Sloviansk and Bakhmut.[305]

Second phase – Mykolaiv–Odesa front[]

Missile attacks and bombardment of the key cities of Mykolaiv and Odesa continued as the second phase of the invasion began.[275] On 22 April, Russia's Brigadier General Rustam Minnekayev in a defence ministry meeting said that Russia planned to extend its Mykolayiv–Odesa front after the siege of Mariupol further west to include the breakaway region of Transnistria on the Ukrainian border with Moldova.[306][307] The Ministry of Defence of Ukraine described this intention as imperialism, saying that it contradicted previous Russian claims that it did not have territorial ambitions in Ukraine and that the statement was an admission that "the goal of the 'second phase' of the war is not victory over the mythical Nazis, but simply the occupation of eastern and southern Ukraine".[306] Georgi Gotev, writing for Reuters on 22 April, noted that occupying Ukraine from Odesa to Transnistria would transform it into a landlocked nation without any practical access to the Black Sea.[308] On 24 April, Russia resumed its missile strikes on Odesa, destroying military facilities and causing two dozen civilian casualties.[309]

On 27 April, Ukrainian sources indicated that explosions had destroyed two Russian broadcast towers in Transnistria, primarily used to rebroadcast Russian television programming.[310] At the end of April, Russia renewed missile attacks on runways in Odesa, destroying some of them.[311] During the week of 10 May, Ukrainian troops began to take military action to dislodge Russian forces installing themselves on Snake Island in the Black Sea approximately 200 kilometres (120 mi) from Odesa.[312] On 30 June 2022, Russia announced that it had withdrawn troops from the island after objectives were completed.[313][314] On 23 July, CNBC reported a Russian missile strike on Ukrainian port Odesa stating that the action was swiftly condemned by world leaders, a dramatic revelation amid a recently U.N. and Turkish-brokered deal that secured a sea corridor for grains and other foodstuff exports.[315][316] On 31 July, CNN reported significant intensification of the rocket attacks and bombing of Mykolaiv by Russians also killing Ukrainian grain tycoon Oleksiy Vadaturskyi in the city during the bombing.[317]

Second phase – Dnipro–Zaporizhzhia front[]

The Russian missile attack on a public shopping mall in Kremenchuk was called a "war crime" by Emmanuel Macron of France on 28 June 2022.

Russian forces continued to fire missiles and drop bombs on the key cities of Dnipro and Zaporizhzhia.[275] On 10 April, Russian missiles destroyed the Dnipro International Airport.[318][319] On 2 May the UN reportedly evacuated about 100 survivors from the siege at Mariupol with the cooperation of Russian troops, to the village of Bezimenne near Donetsk, from whence they were to move to Zaporizhzhia.[320] On 28 June, Reuters reported that a Russian missile attack was launched upon the city of Kremenchuk north-west or Zaporizhzhia detonating in a public mall and causing at least 18 deaths while drawing condemnation from France's Emmanuel Macron, among other world leaders, who spoke of it as being a "war crime".[321] 2022 July Dnipro missile strike killed four.

On 7 July, it was reported that after the Russians captured the nuclear plant at Zaporizhzhia earlier in the invasion, installed heavy artillery and mobile missile launchers between the separate reactor walls of the nuclear installation as a shield against possible Ukrainian counterattack, not possible without the risk of radiation fallout in case of near misses against the installed Russian artillery sites.[322]

Second phase – Fall of Mariupol[]

On 13 April, Russian forces intensified their attack on the Azovstal iron and steel works in Mariupol, and the Ukrainian defence forces that remained there.[323] By 17 April, Russian forces had surrounded the factory. Ukrainian prime minister Denys Shmyhal said that the Ukrainian soldiers had vowed to ignore the renewed ultimatum to surrender and to fight to the last soul.[324] On 20 April, Putin said that the siege of Mariupol could be considered tactically complete, since the 500 Ukrainian troops entrenched in bunkers within the Azovstal iron works and estimated 1,000 Ukrainian civilians were completely sealed off from any type of relief in their siege.[325]

After consecutive meetings with Putin and Zelenskyy, UN Secretary-General Guterres on 28 April said he would attempt to organise an emergency evacuation of survivors from Azovstal in accordance with assurances he had received from Putin on his visit to the Kremlin.[326] On 30 April, Russian troops allowed civilians to leave under UN protection.[327] By 3 May, after allowing approximately 100 Ukrainian civilians to depart from the Azovstal steel factory, Russian troops renewed non-stop bombardment of the steel factory.[328] On 6 May, The Telegraph reported that Russia had used thermobaric bombs against the remaining Ukrainian soldiers, who had lost contact with the Kyiv government; in his last communications, Zelenskyy had authorised the commander of the besieged steel factory to surrender as necessary under the pressure of increased Russian attacks.[329] On 7 May, the Associated Press reported that all civilians were evacuated from the Azovstal steel works at the end of the three-day ceasefire.[330]

A children's hospital in Mariupol after a Russian airstrike

After the last civilians evacuated from the Azovstal bunkers, nearly two thousand Ukrainian soldiers remained barricaded there, with 700 injured; they were able to communicate a plea for a military corridor to evacuate, as they expected summary execution if they surrendered to the Russians.[331] Reports of dissent within the Ukrainian troops at Azovstal were reported by Ukrainskaya Pravda on 8 May indicating that the commander of the Ukrainian Marines assigned to defend the Azovstal bunkers made an unauthorised acquisition of tanks, munitions, and personnel, broke out from the position there and fled. The remaining soldiers spoke of a weakened defensive position in Azovstal as a result, which allowed progress to advancing Russian lines of attack.[332] Ilia Somolienko, deputy commander of the remaining Ukrainian troops barricaded at Azovstal, said: "We are basically here dead men. Most of us know this and it's why we fight so fearlessly."[333]

On 16 May, the Ukrainian General staff announced that the Mariupol garrison had "fulfilled its combat mission" and that final evacuations from the Azovstal steel factory had begun. The military said that 264 service members were evacuated to Olenivka under Russian control, while 53 of them who were "seriously injured" had been taken to a hospital in Novoazovsk also controlled by Russian forces.[334][335] Following the evacuation of Ukrainian personnel from Azovstal, Russian and DPR forces fully controlled all areas of Mariupol. The end of the battle also brought an end to the Siege of Mariupol. Russia press secretary Dmitry Peskov said Russian President Vladimir Putin had guaranteed that the fighters who surrendered would be treated "in accordance with international standards" while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an address that "the work of bringing the boys home continues, and this work needs delicacy — and time". Some prominent Russian lawmakers called on the government to deny prisoner exchanges for members of the Azov Regiment.[336]

Western Ukraine[]

On 14 March, Russian forces conducted multiple cruise missile attacks on a military training facility in Yavoriv, Lviv Oblast, close to the Polish border. Local governor Maksym Kozytskyy reported that at least 35 people had been killed.[337][338] On 18 March, Russia expanded the attack to Lviv, with Ukrainian military officials saying initial information suggested that the missiles which hit Lviv were likely air-launched cruise missiles originating from warplanes flying over the Black Sea.[339] On 16 May, US defence officials say that in the previous 24 hours Russians fired long range missiles targeting military training facility near Lviv.[340]

Air warfare[]

Russian Aerospace Forces helicopters in a field during the invasion, March 2022

On 24 February, Russian forces attacked the Chuhuiv air base,[341] which housed Bayraktar TB2 drones. The attack caused damage to fuel storage areas and infrastructure.[342] The next day, Ukrainian forces attacked the Millerovo air base.[175][176] On 27 February, Russia reportedly fired 9K720 Iskander missiles from Belarus at the civilian Zhytomyr Airport.[343][344] Many Ukrainian air defence facilities were destroyed or damaged in the first days of the invasion by Russian air strikes.[345] In the opening days of the conflict, Russia fired many cruise and ballistic missiles at the principal Ukrainian ground-based early warning radars, thereby blinding the Ukrainian Air Force to their air activity. Additionally, craters in the operating surfaces at the major Ukrainian air bases hindered Ukrainian aircraft movements, and several Ukrainian long-range S-300P surface-to-air missile batteries were destroyed.[346]

On 1 March, Russia and the US established a deconfliction line to avoid any misunderstanding that could cause an unintentional escalation.[347]

Russia lost at least ten aircraft on 5 March.[348] On 6 March, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that 88 Russian aircraft had been destroyed since the war began.[349] However, an anonymous senior US defence official told Reuters on 7 March that Russia still had the "vast majority" of its fighter jets and helicopters that had been amassed near Ukraine available to fly.[350] After the first month of the invasion, Justin Bronk, a British military observer, counted the Russian aircraft losses at 15 fixed-wing aircraft and 35 helicopters, but noted that the true total was certainly higher.[351] In contrast, according to the United States, 49 Ukrainian fighter aircraft were lost by 18 March.[352]

On 11 March, US officials said that Russian aircraft launched up to 200 sorties a day, most not entering Ukrainian airspace, instead staying in Russian airspace.[353]

On 13 March, Russian forces conducted multiple cruise missile attacks on a military training facility in Yavoriv, Lviv Oblast, close to the Polish border. Local governor Maksym Kozytskyy reported that at least 35 people had been killed in the attacks.[354][355] The poor performance of the Russian Air Force has been attributed by The Economist to Russia's inability to suppress Ukraine's medium-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) batteries and Russia's lack of precision-guided bombs. Ukrainian mid-range SAM sites force planes to fly low, making them vulnerable to Stinger and other shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles, and lack of training and flight hours for Russian pilots renders them inexperienced for the type of close ground support missions typical of modern air forces.[356] On 5 May, Forbes magazine reported that Russians had continued air attacks and "continue to send Su-24 and Su-25 attack planes on treetop-level bombing runs targeting Ukrainian positions."[357]

By June 2022, Russia had not achieved air superiority, having lost around 165 of its combat aircraft over Ukraine which amounted to approximately 10% of its frontline combat strength. Western commentators noted the qualitative and quantative advantages the Russian Air Force had over its Ukrainian counterpart, but attributed the poor performance of Russian aviation to the extensive ground-based anti-aircraft capabilities of the Ukrainians.[358]

Naval warfare[]

Russian Black Sea flagship Moskva, 2012, reportedly sunk on 14 April 2022, after being hit by two Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missiles

Ukraine lies on the Black Sea, which has ocean access only through the Turkish-held Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits. On 28 February, Turkey invoked the 1936 Montreux Convention and sealed off the straits to Russian warships not registered to Black Sea home bases and not returning to their ports of origin. This prevented the passage of four Russian naval vessels through the Turkish Straits in late February.[359][360][361] On 24 February, the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine announced that an attack on Snake Island by Russian Navy ships had begun.[362] The guided missile cruiser Moskva and patrol boat Vasily Bykov bombarded the island with their deck guns.[363] When the Russian warship identified itself and instructed the Ukrainian soldiers stationed on the island to surrender, their response was "Russian warship, go fuck yourself!"[364][365] After the bombardment, a detachment of Russian soldiers landed and took control of Snake Island.[366]

Russia stated on 26 February that US drones supplied intelligence to the Ukrainian navy to help target Russian warships in the Black Sea, which the US denied.[367] By 3 March, the Ukrainian frigate Hetman Sahaidachny, the flagship of the Ukrainian navy, was scuttled in Mykolaiv to prevent its capture by Russian forces.[368][369][370][371] On 14 March, the Russian source RT reported that the Russian Armed Forces had captured about a dozen Ukrainian ships in Berdiansk, including the Polnocny-class landing ship Yuri Olefirenko.[372] On 24 March, Ukrainian officials said that a Russian landing ship docked in Berdiansk – initially reported to be the Orsk and then its sister ship, the Saratov – was destroyed by a Ukrainian rocket attack.[373][219][231]

In March 2022, the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) sought to create a safe sea corridor for commercial vessels to leave Ukrainian ports.[374] On 27 March, Russia established a sea corridor 80 miles (130 km) long and 3 miles (4.8 km) wide through its Maritime Exclusion Zone, for the transit of merchant vessels from the edge of Ukrainian territorial waters south-east of Odesa.[375][376] Ukraine closed its ports at MARSEC level 3, with sea mines laid in port approaches, until the end to hostilities.[377]

The Russian cruiser Moskva, the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet, was, according to Ukrainian sources and a US senior official,[378] hit on 13 April by two Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship cruise missiles, setting the ship on fire. The Russian Defence Ministry confirmed the warship had suffered serious damage due to a munition explosion caused by a fire, and said that its entire crew had been evacuated.[379] The Pentagon spokesman John Kirby reported on 14 April that satellite images showed that the Russian warship had suffered a sizeable explosion onboard but was heading to the east for expected repairs and refitting in Sevastopol.[380] Later on the same day, the Russian Ministry of Defence stated that Moskva had sunk while under tow in rough weather.[381] On 15 April, Reuters reported that Russia launched an apparent retaliatory missile strike against the missile factory Luch Design Bureau in Kyiv where the Neptune missiles used in the Moskva attack were manufactured and designed.[382]

In early May, Ukrainian forces launched counterattacks on Snake Island. The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed to have repelled these counterattacks. Ukraine released footage of a Russian Serna-class landing craft located in the Black Sea being destroyed near Snake Island by a Ukrainian drone.[383][384] The same day, a pair of Ukrainian Su-27 conducted a high-speed, low level bombing run on Russian-occupied Snake Island; the attack was captured on film by a Baykar Bayraktar TB2 drone.[385]

On 1 June, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov asserted that Ukraine's policy of mining its own harbours to impede Russia maritime aggression had contributed to the food export crisis, stating that: "If Kyiv solves the problem of demining ports, the Russian Navy will ensure the unimpeded passage of ships with grain to the Merranean Sea."[386] On 30 June 2022, Russia announced that it had withdrawn troops from the island in a "gesture of goodwill".[313] The withdrawal was later officially confirmed by Ukraine.[387]

Potential Russian use of tactical nuclear weapons[]

On 14 April, The New York Times reported that William Burns of the CIA had announced that the threat of using tactical nuclear weapons was within the weapons capacity of Russia, stating: "The director of the C.I.A. said on Thursday that 'potential desperation' to extract the semblance of a victory in Ukraine could tempt President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to order the use of a tactical or low-yield nuclear weapon."[388] On 22 April, it was reported that Russia was continuing to test its RS-28 Sarmat (nicknamed "Satan 2") long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to upgrade its nuclear arsenal in Autumn of 2022 with Putin stating that other nations should be more wary of Russia's nuclear arsenal.[389] On 24 April, in apparent response to Biden sending Antony Blinken to Kyiv for military support meetings with Zelenskyy on 23 April, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that further support of Ukraine could cause tensions which could potentially lead to a World War III scenario involving Russia's full arsenal of weapons.[390] The next day after Lavrov's comments, CNBC reported that Secretary Lloyd Austin referred to Russia's nuclear war rhetoric as being "dangerous and unhelpful".[391]

In response to Russia's apparent disregard of safety precautions during the invasion of Ukraine's nuclear power plant at Zaporizhzhia and its disabled former nuclear power plant at Chernobyl, on 26 April Zelenskyy voiced concern that Russian irresponsibility in firing their missiles in the vicinity of Ukraine's active nuclear power plant should lead to international discussion directed toward limiting and controlling Russia as a nation no longer being qualified for the responsible management of its nuclear resources and nuclear weapons stating: "I believe that after all that the Russian military has done in the Chernobyl zone and at the Zaporizhzhia power plant, no one in the world can feel safe knowing how many nuclear facilities, nuclear weapons and related technologies the Russian state has ... If Russia has forgotten what Chernobyl is, it means that global control over Russia's nuclear facilities, and nuclear technology is needed."[392]

In apparent response to Germany deploying armed tanks to Ukraine, Putin announced in Russia's main legislative assembly that Russia would respond to any combative military provocation from outside of Ukraine with prompt peremptory action possible only with Russia's unique arsenal of nuclear weapons.[393] Pentagon Press secretary John Kirby, after announcing the successful delivery of a large deployment of M777 howitzer cannons to Ukraine, called Putin's assertion of nuclear potency contrary to the process of the peaceful resolution of the current conflict in Ukraine.[394] On 4 May, the US Senate held the "Hearing on Nuclear Readiness Amid Russia-Ukraine War" where Admiral Charles A. Richard stated that current nuclear triad defence capabilities in the US were operating at a minimal acceptable level of operational capacity, with Russian stockpiles and Chinese stockpiles currently larger than those of the US.[395] On 6 May, Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexei Zaitsev stated that Russia would not use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, describing their use as "not applicable to the Russian 'special military operation'".[396]

On 23 May, Russian diplomat Boris Bondarev resigned from his position and issued a critique of the invasion, singling out Lavrov's position on the potential use of Russian nuclear arms: "In 18 years, he (Lavrov) went from a professional and educated intellectual ... to a person who constantly broadcasts conflicting statements and threatens the world with nuclear weapons!"[397] On 29 May, after repudiating accusations made against Russia regarding atrocities in Bucha, Andrei Kelin in an interview with the BBC tried to walk back earlier Russian comments about the use of nuclear arms by stating that Russia presently had no plans for using them unless Russian sovereignty was found to be in peril.[398] Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stated that Japan would support further international discussion about Russia and its nuclear arms threats during the invasion of Ukraine at the upcoming nuclear non-proliferation meeting taking place next August.[399][400] On 20 June, the "Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons" opened in Vienna to discuss potential catastrophic effects of nuclear arms amid rising fears over Russia's possible use of nuclear weapons during the 2022 invasion of Ukraine.[401]

On 1 July, during a visit by Lavrov to Belarus, Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko indicated support for Moscow to use nuclear weapons against the broad threats of Western hegemony over Russia and its allies demonstrated during the conflict in Ukraine.[402] Eric Schlosser, writing for The Atlantic magazine on 22 June 2022, stated that the nuclear saber rattling by Russia during the invasion appeared to suggest the most probable targets of a nuclear attack to be: "(1) a detonation over the Black Sea, causing no casualties but demonstrating a resolve to cross the nuclear threshold and signaling that worse may come, (2) a decapitation strike against the Ukrainian leadership, attempting to kill President Volodymyr Zelensky and his advisers in their underground bunkers, (3) a nuclear assault on a Ukrainian military target, perhaps an air base or a supply depot, that is not intended to harm civilians, and (4) the destruction of a Ukrainian city, causing mass civilian casualties and creating terror to precipitate a swift surrender—the same aims that motivated the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki."[403]

On 13 August, in an interview with the BBC Jim Hockenhull, the outgoing head of UK Military Intelligence, said he considers the imminent use of tactical nuclear weapons by Russia as "unlikely".[404]

Popular resistance[]

Civilians in Kyiv preparing Molotov cocktails, 26 February 2022

Ukrainian civilians resisted the Russian invasion, volunteered for territorial defence units, made Molotov cocktails, donated food, built barriers such as Czech hedgehogs,[405] and helped to transport refugees.[406] Responding to a call from Ukraine's transportation agency, Ukravtodor, civilians dismantled or altered road signs, constructed makeshift barriers, and blocked roadways. Social media reports showed spontaneous street protests against Russian forces in occupied settlements, often evolving into verbal altercations and physical standoffs with Russian troops.[407] By the beginning of April, Ukrainian civilians began to organise as guerrillas, mostly in the wooded north and east of the country. The Ukrainian military announced plans to launch a large-scale guerrilla campaign to complement its conventional defence against the Russian invasion.[408]

People physically blocked Russian military vehicles, sometimes forcing them to retreat.[407][409][410] The Russian soldiers' response to unarmed civilian resistance varied from reluctance to engage the protesters[407] to firing into the air or directly into crowds.[411] There have been mass detentions of Ukrainian protesters, and Ukrainian media reported forced disappearances, mock executions, hostage-taking, extrajudicial killing, and sexual violence perpetrated by the Russian military.[412] To facilitate Ukrainian attacks, civilians reported Russian military positions via a Telegram chatbot and Diia, a Ukrainian government app previously used by citizens to upload official identity and medical documents. In response, Russian forces began destroying mobile phone network equipment, searching door-to-door for smartphones and computers, and in at least one case killing a civilian found with pictures of Russian tanks.[413]

As of 21 May, President Zelensky indicated that Ukraine had 700,000 servicemembers on active duty combatting the Russian invasion.[414]

Foreign support[]

Foreign military sales and aid[]

  Countries sending military aid to Ukraine during the 2022 invasion
  Countries sending any aid, including humanitarian aid, to Ukraine

Between 2014 and 2021, the UK, US, EU, and NATO provided mostly non-lethal military aid to Ukraine.[415] Lethal military support was initially limited. The US began to sell weapons including Javelin anti-tank missiles starting in 2018,[415] and Ukraine agreed to purchase TB2 combat drones from Turkey in 2019.[416] Russia built up equipment and troops on Ukraine's borders in January 2022. In response, the US worked with other NATO member states to transfer US-produced weapons to Ukraine.[417] The UK also began to supply Ukraine with NLAW and Javelin anti-tank weapons.[418] After the invasion, NATO member states including Germany agreed to supply weapons, but NATO as an organisation did not.[50][419][420] NATO and its members also refused to send troops into Ukraine, or to establish a no fly-zone, lest this spark a larger-scale war,[421][422] a decision some labelled appeasement.[423][424]

On 26 February, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced $350 million in lethal military assistance, including anti-armor and anti-aircraft systems.[425][426] The next day the EU stated that it would purchase €450 million (US$502 million) in lethal assistance and an additional €50 million ($56 million) in non-lethal supplies for Ukraine, with Poland handling distribution.[427][428] During the first week of the invasion, NATO member states supplied more than 17,000 anti-tank weapons to Ukraine;[429] by mid-March, the number was estimated to be more than 20,000.[430] In three tranches agreed in February, March and April 2022, the European Union committed to €1.5 billion to support the capabilities and resilience of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the protection of the Ukrainian civilian population, under the purview of the European Peace Facility line.[431]

As of 11 April, Ukraine had been provided with approximately 25,000 anti-air and 60,000 anti-tank weapon systems by the US and its allies.[432] The following day, Russia reportedly received anti-tank missiles and RPGs from Iran, supplied through undercover networks via Iraq.[433]

On 19 April 2022 Romania announced a planned reform to the government decree that regulates the export of military weapons and national defence products to provide these weapons not only to NATO allies but also to Ukraine.[434] The Ministry of Defense developed the draft decree which states that the reason behind this decision was Russia's aggression against Ukraine.[435] However, on 27 April Defense Minister Vasile Dincu said that his plan had been discontinued.[436]

On 26 April, the US convened a conference in which representatives of more than 40 countries met at the Ramstein Air Base to discuss military support for Ukraine.[437]

On 28 April, US President Biden asked Congress for an additional $33 billion to assist Ukraine, including $20 billion to provide weapons to Ukraine.[438] On 5 May, Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal announced that Ukraine had received more than $12 billion worth of weapons and financial aid from Western countries since the start of Russia's invasion on 24 February.[439] On 10 May, the House passed legislation that would provide $40 billion in new aid to Ukraine.[440] After the legislation was approved by the Senate, Biden signed the legislation on 21 May.[441][442]

On 30 May French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna announced the provision to Ukraine of additional CAESAR self-propelled howitzer self-propelled howitzer systems,[443] mounted on the Renault Sherpa 5 6×6 chassis. On 25 May, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valery Zaluzhny said that the first batch was already on the front lines fighting the invader.[444] On 10 June the AFU demonstrated the combat systems to representatives from the press; by that date the Ukrainian gunners had possession of 18 CAESAR units.[445][446]

On 31 May the White House informed the press that the US would be supplying HIMARS multiple launch rocket system to Ukraine.[447] Some analysts have said HIMARS can be a "game-changer" in the war.[448][449] Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl stated that the US would be able to send more systems as the fighting evolves.[450][451]

On 10 June an official from the Ukrainian military said that they were using 5,000 to 6,000 artillery rounds a day and were then using 155-calibre NATO standard shells because all their Soviet-era guns had been destroyed. The official said the Russians had transformed the war into an artillery duel focused on the southeast of the country.[452] On 12 June a Ukrainian Presidential advisor put on Twitter a list of weapons that Ukraine needs to achieve "heavy weapons parity". The top item is "1000 howitzers caliber 155 mm".[453] Ukraine claims it has enough 155 mm ammunition, it lacks the artillery to use it. According to Oryxspioenkop only 250 howitzers have been promised or delivered.[454] On 13 June a Deutsche Welle correspondent said that the Ukrainian supply of Soviet-era ammunition had been exhausted and all they had was a dwindling supply obtained from friendly ex-Soviet countries.[455] In June 2022 Germany declassified its list of military aid to Ukraine: 1) Self-propelled Howitzer 2000 (which required maintenance before the donation of 7 howitzers);[456]: 1:00  2) Marder infantry fighting vehicle;[456]: 2:30  3) Leopard-2 main battle tank;[456]: 4:00  4) Stinger missile launcher (MANPADS)—500 were donated;[456]: 5:00  5) Geppard flak tank (mobile anti-aircraft cannon) 50 were promised, but there is a shortage of ammunition as of June 2022.[456]: 5:20 

By 21 July 2022 the EUCOM Control Center-Ukraine/International Donor Coordination Centre, or ECCU/IDCC, a joint cell which formed in March 2022, had trained 1,500 Ukrainian Armed Forces members on coalition-donated equipment.[457]

For the 16 US-supplied HIMARS systems in Ukraine (2 August 2022), the US is providing more in munitions (additional HIMARS rocket pods in monthly installments, as well as more 155-mm howitzer shells) at a cost of $550 million for the 17th Presidential drawdown package.[458]

The 18th US Presidential drawdown package was released (8 Aug 2022), a $1 billion package including additional HIMARS rocket pods, 75,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition, 20 120mm mortar systems and 20,000 rounds of 120mm mortar ammunition, National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS), 1000 Javelins and hundreds of AT4 anti-tank weapons, 50 armored medical treatment vehicles, Claymore mines, C4 explosives, and medical supplies.[459] The packages currently total $9.8 billion since 2021.[459]

As of July 2022 CNN reported on American recent declassified intel suggested that Iranians have given Shahed 129 UAV combat drones to Russian forces.[460]

Foreign military involvement[]

Although NATO and the EU have taken a strict policy of "no boots on the ground" in support against the Russian invasion of Ukraine,[461] Ukraine has actively sought volunteers from other countries. On 1 March, Ukraine temporarily lifted visa requirements for foreign volunteers who wished to join the fight against Russian forces. The move came after Zelenskyy created the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine and called on volunteers to "join the defence of Ukraine, Europe and the world".[462] Ukraine's foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba stated that as of 6 March, approximately 20,000 foreign nationals from 52 countries have volunteered to fight.[463] Most of these volunteers joined the newly created International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine.[463] On 9 June, the Donetsk People's Republic sentenced three foreign volunteers to death. Two of them were British citizens and one was a Moroccan national.[464][465]

On 3 March, Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov warned that mercenaries are not entitled to protection under the Geneva Conventions, and captured foreign fighters would not be considered prisoners of war, but prosecuted as criminals.[466] Shortly thereafter, however, on 11 March, Moscow announced that 16,000 volunteers from the Middle East were ready to join other pro-Russian foreign fighters alongside the Donbas separatists.[467] A video uploaded online showed armed Central African paramilitaries calling to arms to fight in Ukraine with Russian troops.[468] On 5 May, a US official confirmed that the US gave "a range of intelligence" (including real-time battlefield targeting intelligence)[469] to assist in the sinking of the Russian cruiser Moskva.[470]

Foreign sanctions and ramifications[]

US president Joe Biden's statements and a short question and answer session on 24 February 2022

Western countries and others imposed limited sanctions on Russia when it recognised Donbas as an independent nation. When the attack began, many other countries applied sanctions intended to cripple the Russian economy.[471] The sanctions targeted individuals, banks, businesses, monetary exchanges, bank transfers, exports, and imports.[472][473] The sanctions cut major Russian banks from SWIFT, the global messaging network for international payments, but left some limited accessibility to ensure the continued ability to pay for gas shipments.[474] Sanctions also included asset freezes on the Russian Central Bank, which holds $630 billion in foreign-exchange reserves,[475] to prevent it from offsetting the impact of sanctions[476][477] and froze the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.[478] By 1 March, total Russian assets frozen by sanctions amounted to $1 trillion.[479]

Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), warned that the conflict posed a substantial economic risk both regionally and internationally. The IMF could help other countries affected, she said, in addition to the $2.2 billion loan package for Ukraine. David Malpass, president of the World Bank Group, warned of far-reaching economic and social effects, and reported that the bank was preparing options for significant economic and fiscal support to Ukraine and the region.[480] Economic sanctions affected Russia from the first day of the invasion, with its stock market falling by up to 39% (RTS Index). The Russian ruble fell to record lows, and Russians rushed to exchange currency.[481][482][483] Stock exchanges in Moscow and Saint Petersburg closed until at least 18 March,[484] the longest closure in Russia's history.[485] On 26 February, S&P Global Ratings downgraded the Russian government cr rating to "junk", causing funds that require investment-grade bonds to dump Russian debt, making further borrowing very difficult for Russia.[486] On 11 April, S&P Global placed Russia under "selective default" on its foreign debt for insisting on payments in rubles.[487] Dozens of corporations, including Unilever, McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Hermès, Chanel, and Prada ceased trading in Russia.[488]

Peace talks and stability of international borders were discussed during the week of 9 May within both Sweden and Finland when their parliaments applied to become full members of NATO.[489]

On 24 March, Joe Biden's administration issued an executive order, which barred the sale of Russian gold reserves in the international market.[490] Gold has been one of Russia's major avenues to protect its economy from the impact of the sanctions imposed since the 2014 annexation of Crimea.[491] In April 2022, Russia supplied 45% of EU's natural gas imports, earning $900 million a day.[492] Russia is the world's largest exporter of natural gas,[493] grains, and fertilisers, and among the world's largest suppliers of crude oil, coal, steel and metals,[494] including palladium, platinum, gold, cobalt, nickel, and aluminium.[495][496] In May 2022, the European Commission proposed a ban on oil imports from Russia.[497] With European policy-makers deciding to replace Russian fossil fuel imports with other fossil fuels imports and European coal energy production,[498][499] as well as due to Russia being "a key supplier" of materials used for "clean energy technologies", the reactions to the war may also have an overall negative impact on the climate emissions pathway.[500] Due to the sanctions imposed on Russia, Moscow is now looking to capitalise on alternative trade routes as the country has practically broken all logistic corridors for trade.[501]

The Russia–EU gas dispute flared up in March 2022.[502] On 14 June, Russia's Gazprom announced that it would be slashing gas flow via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, due to what it claimed to be Siemens’ failure to return on time compressor units that had been sent off to Canada for repair. The explanation was challenged by Germany's energy regulator.[503]

On 17 June, president Putin spoke to investors at St. Petersburg International Economic Forum about economic sanctions, saying that "the economic blitzkrieg against Russia had no chance of succeeding from the very beginning". He further claimed that the sanctions would hurt the countries imposing them more than they would hurt Russia, calling the restrictions "mad and thoughtless". He said to the investors: "Invest here. It's safer in your own house. Those who didn't want to listen to this have lost millions abroad".[504]

Foreign condemnation and protest[]

The invasion received widespread international condemnation and protests occurred around the world. On 2 March, the United Nations General Assembly passed UNGA resolution ES-11/1 condemning the invasion and demanding a full withdrawal of Russian forces.[48] The International Court of Justice ordered Russia to suspend military operations, and the Council of Europe expelled Russia. Many countries imposed sanctions on Russia, which have affected the economies of Russia and the world,[49] and provided humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine.[50] The International Criminal Court opened an investigation into crimes against humanity in Ukraine since 2013, as well as war crimes in the 2022 invasion.[54]

Casualties and humanitarian impact[]


Breakdown Confirmed casualties Time period Source
Civilians 5,401 killed, 7,466 wounded[d]
(269 killed in DPR/LPR areas)
24 February – 7 August 2022 United Nations[505]
Ukrainian forces (ZSU, NGU) 10,000 killed, 30,000 wounded 24 February – 3 June 2022 Ukrainian government[506][507]
Russian forces
(VSRF, Rosgvardiya, FSB)
5,507 killed (conf. by name) 24 February – 11 August 2022 BBC News Russian & Mediazona[508]
5,131 killed (conf. by name) 24 February – 11 August 2022 Important Stories[509]
Donetsk People's Republic forces 2,640 killed, 11,227 wounded 26 February – 11 August 2022 Donetsk People's Republic[e]
Luhansk People's Republic forces 500–600 killed 24 February – 5 April 2022 Russian government[f]
Breakdown Estimated & claimed casualties Time period Source
Civilians 12,000–28,521+ killed[514][g] 24 February – 7 August 2022 Ukrainian government
884 killed, 2,952 wounded 17 February – 11 August 2022 DPR[h] and LPR[516]
Ukrainian forces (ZSU, NGU) 193,000+ killed and wounded 24 February – 8 August 2022 Donetsk People's Republic[517]
Russian and other forces
(VSRF, Rosgvardiya, FSB,
PMC Wagner, DPR & LPR)
15,000 killed, 45,000 wounded 24 February – 20 July 2022 US, UK & Estonian estimates[518][519][520]
70,000–80,000 killed and wounded
(20,000 killed)
24 February – 8 August 2022 US estimate[521]
43,400 killed, 98,000–117,000 wounded 24 February – 13 August 2022 Ukrainian government[522][523]

Combat deaths can be inferred from a variety of sources, including satellite imagery and video footage of military actions.[524] Both Russian and Ukrainian sources are widely considered to inflate casualty numbers in opposing forces, while downplaying their own losses for the sake of morale. Russian news outlets have largely stopped reporting the Russian death toll.[525][526][527][528] Russia and Ukraine admitted to suffering "significant" and "considerable" losses, respectively.[527][528] According to BBC News, Ukrainian claims of Russian fatalities included the injured as well.[529][530] Agence France-Presse, as well as independent conflict monitors, reported that they had not been able to verify Russian and Ukrainian claims of enemy losses, but suspected they were inflated.[531]

The number of civilian and military deaths is impossible to determine with precision given the fog of war.[532][524] The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) considers the number of civilian casualties to be considerably higher than the figure the United Nations has been able to certify.[533]

On 16 June, the Ukrainian Minister of Defense told CNN that he believed tens of thousands of Ukrainians had died, adding that he hoped that the true death toll was below 100,000.[534]

On 17 July, the Chief of UK Defence Staff, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, said that Russia has lost 50,000 soldiers killed or wounded, along with nearly 1,700 tanks and nearly 4,000 fighting vehicles, a loss of more than 30% of its "land combat effectiveness". Morale is also an issue for Russian soldiers.[535]

Prisoners of war[]

Official statistics and informed estimates about prisoners of war (POW) have varied.[536] In the initial stages of the invasion, on 24 February, Oksana Markarova, Ukraine's ambassador to the US, said that a platoon of the 74th Guards Motor Rifle Brigade from Kemerovo Oblast surrendered, saying they were unaware that they had been brought to Ukraine and tasked with killing Ukrainians.[537] Russia claimed to have captured 572 Ukrainian soldiers by 2 March 2022,[538] while Ukraine claimed 562 Russian soldiers were being held as prisoners as of 20 March,[539] with 10 previously reported released in a prisoner exchange for five Ukrainian soldiers and the mayor of Melitopol.[540][541] A report by The Independent on 9 June cited an intelligence report estimating that more than 5,600 Ukrainian soldiers had been captured, while the number of Russian servicemen being held as prisoners had fallen to 550, from 900 in April, following several prisoner exchanges. In contrast, the Ukrayinska Pravda newspaper claimed 1,000 Russian soldiers were being held as prisoners as of 20 June.[542]

The first large prisoner exchange took place on 24 March, when 10 Russian and 10 Ukrainian soldiers, as well as 11 Russian and 19 Ukrainian civilian sailors, were exchanged.[543][544] On 1 April 86 Ukrainian servicemen were exchanged[545] for an unknown number of Russian troops.[546]

On 8 March, a Ukrainian defence reporter with The Kyiv Independent announced that the Ukrainian government was working towards having Russian POWs work to help revive the Ukrainian economy, in full compliance with international law.[547] In the first weeks of March, human rights organisations called on the Ukrainian government to uphold the rights of Russian prisoners of war under the Third Geneva Convention and to stop circulating videos of captured Russian soldiers being humiliated or intimidated.[548][549] On 27 March, a video purportedly showing Ukrainian soldiers shooting Russian prisoners in the knees was uploaded on Telegram, prompting concerns about torture and arbitrary executions of prisoners of war.[550][551][552] Another video showing Ukrainian troops killing Russian prisoners was posted on Telegram on 6 April and was verified by The New York Times and by Reuters.[553][554] The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine expressed worries about the treatment of Ukrainian prisoners of war held by forces of Russia and the Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics. Videos showing Ukrainian war prisoners being forced to sing pro-Russian songs or carrying bruises attracted concerns about their treatment.[555]


Refugees crossing into Poland, March 2022
Ukrainian refugees in Kraków protest against the war, 6 March 2022

The war caused the largest refugee and humanitarian crisis within Europe since the Yugoslav Wars in the 1990s;[556][557] the UN described it as the fastest-growing such crisis since World War II.[558] As Russia built up military forces along the Ukrainian border, many neighbouring governments and aid organisations prepared for a mass displacement event in the weeks before the invasion. In December 2021, the Ukrainian defence minister estimated that an invasion could force three to five million people to flee their homes.[559]

In the first week of the invasion, the UN reported over a million refugees had fled Ukraine; this subsequently rose to over 6.1 million by 28 July, a reduction from higher figures of over eight million due to some refugees' return.[20][21] On 20 May, NPR reported that, following a significant influx of foreign military equipment into Ukraine, a significant number of refugees are seeking to return to regions of Ukraine which are relatively isolated from the invasion front in south-eastern Ukraine.[560] By 3 May, another 8 million people were displaced inside Ukraine.[561]

Most refugees were women, children, the elderly, or people with disabilities.[562][563] Most male Ukrainian nationals aged 18 to 60 were denied exit from Ukraine as part of mandatory conscription,[564][565] unless they were responsible for the financial support of three or more children, single fathers, or were the parent/guardian of children with disabilities.[566] Many Ukrainian men, including teenagers, in any case opted to remain in Ukraine to join the resistance.[567]

Regarding destinations, according to the UN High Commission for Refugees, as of 13 May, there were 3,315,711 refugees in Poland, 901,696 in Romania, 594,664 in Hungary, 461,742 in Moldova, 415,402 in Slovakia, and 27,308 in Belarus, while Russia reported it had received over 800,104 refugees.[568] As of 23 March, over 300,000 refugees had arrived in the Czech Republic.[569] Turkey has been another significant destination, registering more than 58,000 Ukrainian refugees as of 22 March, and more than 58,000 as of 25 April.[570][571] The EU invoked the Temporary Protection Directive for the first time in its history, granting Ukrainian refugees the right to live and work in the EU for up to three years.[572]

Ukraine has accused Russia of forcibly moving civilians to "filtration centers" in Russian-held territory and thence to Russia, which Ukrainian sources compared to Soviet-era population transfers and Russian actions in the Chechen War of Independence.[573][574] As of 8 April, Russia claimed to have evacuated about 121,000 Mariupol residents to Russia.[574] RIA Novosti and Ukrainian officials said that thousands were dispatched to various centers in cities in Russia and Russian-occupied Ukraine,[575] from which people were sent to economically depressed regions of Russia.[576] Ukraine's National Security and Defence Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov said Russia also plans to build concentration camps for Ukrainians in western Siberia, where prisoners will be forced to help build new cities.[577][578][i]

A second refugee crisis created by the invasion and by the Russian government's suppression of human rights has been the flight of more than 300,000 Russian political refugees and economic migrants, the largest exodus from Russia since the October Revolution of 1917,[580][581] to countries such as the Baltic states, Finland, Georgia, Turkey, and Central Asia.[582][583] By 22 March, it was estimated that between 50,000 and 70,000 high-tech workers had left the country, and that 70,000 to 100,000 more might follow. Fears arose over the effect of this flight of talent on Russian economic development.[584] Some joined the Russian resistance to the Putin regime and sought to help Ukraine,[585] and some faced discrimination for being Russian.[586][587] There has also been an exodus of millionaires.[588] On 6 May, The Moscow Times, citing data from the FSB, reported that almost four million Russians had left the country, although this figure does not distinguish between emigres and travellers for business or tourism, etc.[589]

Agriculture and food supplies[]

Putin met with the President of the African Union, Macky Sall, to discuss grain deliveries from Russia and Ukraine to Africa, 3 June 2022

Ukraine has been among the world's top agricultural producers and exporters and is often described as the "breadbasket of Europe".[590] During the 2020/21 international wheat marketing season (July–June), it ranked as the sixth-largest wheat exporter, accounting for nine per cent of world wheat trade.[591] The country is also a major global exporter of maize, barley and rapeseed. In 2020/21, it accounted for 12 per cent of global trade in maize and barley and for 14 per cent of world rapeseed exports. Its trade share is even greater in the sunflower oil sector, with the country accounting for about 50 per cent of world exports in 2020/2021.[591]

Disruptions to the grain and oilseed sectors of Ukraine were thought inevitable. On the eve of the invasion, an estimated 6 million tons of wheat and 15 million tons of corn had been readied for export.[592] According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), this would cause further loss of life and increase humanitarian needs.[593] In addition, potential food and fertiliser export difficulties encountered by the Russian Federation, which is a major exporter of potash, ammonia, urea and other soil nutrients,[594] as a result of economic sanctions could jeopardise the food security of many countries.[593][595] Rising natural gas prices are pushing agricultural fertiliser prices higher, contributing to increasing food prices globally.[596] Particularly vulnerable are those that are highly dependent on Ukraine and the Russian Federation for their food and fertiliser imports.[593] Several of these countries fall into the Least Developed Country (LDC) group, while many others belong to the group of Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries (LIFDCs).[597][598] For example, Eritrea sourced 47% of its wheat imports in 2021 from Ukraine. The other 53% came from the Russian Federation. Overall, more than 30 nations depend on Ukraine and Russia for over 30% of their wheat import needs, with many of them located in North Africa, and in Western and Central Asia.[591]

From the start of the invasion, Russian forces already occupied Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, and quickly overran the remainder of its Azov Sea coast, the Black Sea coast east of the city of Kherson. The Russian navy imposed a blockade of Ukraine's ports, threatening to launch an amphibious assault against the port city of Odesa, and preventing the export of the 2021 harvest by sea. Ukraine and partner countries made efforts to step up exports by land, but sea shipping capacity was needed to ship significant volumes and empty storage facilities for the 2022 harvest. The defeat of Russian forces on Snake Island on 30 June offered some relief, with Ukraine opening four ports on and near the Danube River.

A Russian attack damaged the Kozarovychi Dam [uk], which regulates flow from the Kyiv Reservoir, causing flooding along the Irpin River.[413] A Russian missile attack on Kyiv Dam on the Dnieper River was blocked by Ukrainian defences. A breach could have triggered flooding of parts of Kyiv, damaged downstream dams, and threatened the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.[599] Russian forces blew up the dam on the North Crimean Canal which Ukraine had erected to block water flow to agricultural lands in Crimea seized by Russia in 2014.[599] Russians cut civilian water service as part of the Siege of Mariupol.[599]

The Ukrainian Defence Ministry accused Russia of stealing "hundreds of thousands of tonnes of grain" from grain elevators and other storage facilities throughout occupied Ukraine, and transporting the grain to occupied ports for export.[600][601] Substantial quantities of farm equipment, combine harvesters and tractors have also been looted from farms and dealerships and transported to Russia, as far away as Chechnya in some cases.[592][602] Theft of grain from occupied regions of Ukraine has the potential to intensify food crises, with both the Ukrainian Minister of Agriculture and the U.N. World Food Programme warning that this could worsen the Ukrainian food crisis, and even exacerbate global hunger.[603] On 30 May, Russia claimed that it had started exporting last year's grain from Kherson to Russia, and were working on exporting sunflower seeds.[604] Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said: "If Kyiv solves the problem of demining ports, the Russian Navy will ensure the unimpeded passage of ships with grain to the Merranean Sea."[386] According to locals, Russian soldiers were picking strawberries in Kherson Oblast.[605]

The head of the African Union, Senegalese President Macky Sall, met with President Putin on 3 June to discuss the "liberation of the stocks of grain and fertilizers," President Sall's office said, and discuss efforts "to contribute to the lull of the war in Ukraine."[606] He also blamed EU sanctions on Russian banks and products for worsening the situation.[607]

Ukrainian grain harvest in 2022, according to the UK MoD, will be 35% of its 2021 harvest.[608]

Ukrainian, Russian and UN negotiators met in Turkey in mid-July to consider a plan to ship grain out of Ukrainian Black Sea ports. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the talks a “ray of hope to ease human suffering and alleviate hunger around the world”, but said a plan was “not yet fully done”. The Turkish Defence Minister, Hulusi Akar released a statement: “At this meeting, which we will hold next week, all the details will be reviewed once again and the work we have done will be signed,”[609] On 22 July, two Russia–Ukraine grain export deals were signed, a UN–Turkey–Russia agreement and a UN–Turkey–Ukraine agreement to allow the export of grain from Ukrainian ports.[22] Within 24 hours, Russia attacked the Port of Odesa with cruise missiles.[19]

On 1 August, the first vessel with grain has left Odesa under the deal between Ukraine and Russia for the export of food from Ukraine. According to Turkey, the ship will be headed for Lebanon and carries 26,000 tonnes of corn.[610]

As of 12 August, 14 ships, carrying various grains and corn, have successfully left Ukrainian ports. With the first two under a UN sponsored deal.[611]

Effects on Russian forces[]

Several Russian soldiers, captured by Ukrainian forces, claimed that Russian officers killed their wounded.[612] There were also claims that Russian soldiers have killed their commanding officers,[613] and sometimes themselves.[614] For example, Ukrainian intelligence released a phone intercept that it claims is between a soldier and his mother: "I had a commander who shot himself in the leg just to get out of here. And that was in the very beginning [of the war]." In another call, the wife of a soldier tells him to "fall off a tank or something – I don't fucking know! Because you'd be able to go home straight from the hospital."[614] A Russian court revealed that it had dismissed 115 National Guard members for refusing to fight in the invasion.[615]

In March 2022 it was revealed that Russian conscripts had taken part in the war despite it having been denied earlier.[616] Some mothers of conscripted Russian soldiers have tried to get them out of Ukraine and returned to Russia.[617] A number of mothers have approached the Soldiers' Mothers Committee for advice.[618] Human rights lawyers and activists are claiming that Russian professional soldiers, also known as contract soldiers, are seeking legal advice so that they do not have to fight in Ukraine.[619] Russian soldiers continue to complain of an extended tour of duty. Some have sought legal advice to get out of the army however they have been told that they are in for the length of their contracts. The pro-Russia militias raised in Donetsk and Luhansk have videos showing that they lack even basic protective armour and have old equipment. Russian forces have made up the shortages of troops by recruiting from non-Russian sources including mercenaries such as the Wagner Group, and recruiting from Russian controlled areas of Ukraine.[620]

The UK Ministry of Defence claimed, on 19 June, that: "The Russian authorities likely struggle to bring legal pressure to bear on military dissenters, hampered by the invasion’s official status as a ‘special military operation’ rather than as a war." It has also been reported that Russian soldiers and whole units have refused to obey their commanders' orders and have engaged in armed stand-offs with them.[621] By June 2022, the militia of the Donetsk People's Republic had suffered 55% attrition during the fighting in the Donbas, according to the UK MoD, who also claimed Russia was very likely to deploy a large number of reserve units to the Donbas. Russia has stopped sending conscripts to the Donbas, forcing Russian forces to rely on local proxies due to what UK intelligence calls "extraordinary attrition".[622]

According to the report of the British Ministry of Defence of 27 June 2022, Russian Armed Forces use reservists of the Mobilization Human Reserve in its combat operations in Ukraine. These reservists fill out third battalions within regular brigades.[623][624]

Ukraine claims that Russia is trying to mobilize Crimean residents to fight in the Russian army.[625] The Russian State Duma is considering a new federal law that would force private companies to support the "special military and counterterrorist operations". Giving the government powers to force private businesses to accept government contracts, denying them the right to refuse such work and change employees’ working conditions unilaterally. So to allow the government to "concentrate efforts in certain sectors of the economy." The bill also raises the issue of repairing Russian military equipment.[626]

The proposed bill that would put the Russian economy on a "war footing". It passed the first vote unanimously in the lower house of the State Duma. Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov said: "The load on the defence industry has increased significantly. In order to guarantee the supply of weapons and ammunition, it is necessary to optimize the work of the military-industrial complex and enterprises that are part of cooperation chains." One of the proposed laws allows the government to force workers to work overtime. The second forces private businesses to supply the government.[627]

On 4 July President Putin also commented on Russian forces fighting in Luhansk, saying they "should rest, increase their combat capabilities."[628]

On 7 July, a report by IStories indicated that the brigades hardest hit by the war in Ukraine have started advertising vacancies online to recruit unemployed people as soldiers, sometimes without training.[629]

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has been reporting on Russian military bloggers, known as milbloggers. These milbloggers criticise the Russian handling of the war, while not opposing it. One issue has been the Russian inability to stop, or protect against, Ukrainian attacks, mainly and particularly with HIMARS rockets. ISW quoted one milblogger: "Russian milblogger Voennyi Osvedomitel' underlined the threat posed by Western-provided high mobility artillery rocket system (HIMARS) and stated that HIMARS will complicate Russian logistics, in a Telegram post on July 9."

This came to a head with frontline correspondents bypassing the army and meeting directly with President Putin on 17 June. One milblogger, named Rybar, has said that the Kremlin sees coverage of the war as going from a "poorly controlled problem" to a "threat". If these milbloggers are censored or silenced it would "significantly" affect the information coming out of Russia about the war.[630]

In July, Russia started a "volunteer mobilisation": 85 federal areas of Russia, including "Crimea and Sevastopol", are expected to raise 400 men per region by the end of the month. Russian media has reported: "Kursk, Primorskyi Krai, Republic of Bashkortostan, Chuvashia Republic, Chechnya, Republic of Tatarstan, Moscow City, Perm, Nizhny Novgorod, and Orenburg Oblasts" have already created such units. Russian state TV have shown men who appear to be in their 50s and 60s.[631][632] The new recruits who sign a six-month contract get "3,750 to 6,000 US dollars per month". Some regions are offering a signing bonus of $3,400.[633] According to Russian opposition sources such as Gulagu.net, the Wagner Group has also started recruiting prisoners with the promise of removing their criminal history and a signing-up bonus of 200,000 roubles.[634]

On 29 July a Pentagon media release stated: "We continue to see increased signs of discipline and morale problems in the Russian army. When it comes to Russian morale, the official said there are many reports that detail soldiers at all levels deserting posts or refusing to fight."[635] The Wagner Group has recruited some 1,000 prisoners from 17 prisons around Russia. Those usually selected are murders or thieves. They must past a physical test and not be suffering from any serious illness. After a series of interviews they are then given basic training by the Wagner Group before being sent to Ukraine to fight. They offer a salary of 200,000 roubles per month and a death payment to their next of kin. If, after six months of fighting, they survive they are given a Presidential Pardon.[636]

A study by the Royal United Services Institute shows that Russian weapons found in Ukraine contain many components from foreign countries. Some 450 foreign made components, in 27 weapons examined, have been found in advanced weapons such as cruise missiles, air defences, drones, encrypted radios etc. How these components have reached Russia is not clear; some suggest they have been removed from domestic appliances or third party brokers in Asia.[637] On 11 May Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told Congress: "We have reports from Ukrainians that when they find Russian military equipment on the ground, it's filled with semiconductors that they took out of dishwashers and refrigerators."[638]

Effect on Ukrainian society[]

Collaboration with Russian forces in Crimea is a concern for the Ukrainian government. Some of Russia's greatest gains have been in the south, from Crimea into Kherson region. That bridges across the Dnieper river were not demolished, allowing Russian forces to cross to the right bank and capture the city of Kherson, has been blamed in part on collaboration with Russian forces.[639] According to Kyiv analyst Volodymyr Fesenko: "It was obvious there was treason in Kherson region."[640] Currently 60 former members of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) are working for Russian forces. There are 651 active investigations involving allegations of collaboration and treason in Ukraine. On 31 March, President Zelenskyy sacked the head of the SBU's Kherson office saying: "now I don't have time to deal with all the traitors but gradually they will all be punished." Former SBU commander in Crimea Oleh Kulinych is suspected of treason.[639] President Zelenskyy has said of him: "sufficient evidence has been collected to report this person on suspicion of treason. All his criminal activities are documented."[641] Former head of the SBU Ivan Bakanov has been blamed for the infiltration of the SBU by the FSB. However others point out that his background as a TV producer, political campaign manager and childhood friend of President Zelenskyy has made him a poor choice to begin with.[639] US State Department Officials have confirmed that they will continue sharing intelligence with Ukraine, saying that they invest in institutions and not personalities.[642]

As of 5 June, some 1,400 private citizens face cases of collaboration and treason, facing up to 15 years in prison if convicted.[643] This is in the face of numerous assassination attempts on Ukrainians accused of collaborating with Russia will increase, according to the UK Ministry of Defence. Especially those officials installed by Russia: "the targeting of officials is likely to escalate, exacerbating the already significant challenges facing the Russian occupiers and potentially increasing the pressure on already reduced military and security formations."[644]

Crimes against cultural heritage[]

As of late May, Russian forces had destroyed or damaged 250 museums and institutions in Ukraine. 2,000 art objects are estimated to have been looted, and special squads exist to track down and expropriate antiquities such as Scythian artefacts from archaeological digs, to relocate to Russia.[645] Notable heritage sites destroyed during the invasion include the Sviatohirsk Lavra in Donbas[646][647] and the house of Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in Trostyanets.[648]

Other impacts[]

Ukraine had a significant fertility tourism service industry which was severely impacted.[649] At the start of the invasion, surrogate mothers were displaced and distressed, requiring evacuation to safe areas.[650] One IVF clinic struggled to obtain enough liquid nitrogen to keep 19,000 embryos and eggs viable.[651]

According to researchers, Black Sea bottlenose dolphins are dying or being injured by the war. Powerful military sonar is being blamed, as are underwater explosions. Exact numbers are thought to be high, with many showing up on the coast near Odesa and in other countries.[652]

According to local officials, on 11 June 2022, the first Russian passports were issued to residents Kherson and Melitopol in the Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine.[653]


UN General Assembly Resolution ES-11/1 vote on 2 March 2022 condemning the invasion of Ukraine and demanding a complete withdrawal of Russian troops.
  In favour

The invasion received widespread international condemnation from governments and intergovernmental organisations, with reactions including new sanctions imposed on Russia, which triggered widespread economic effects on the Russian and world economies.[49] The European Union financed and delivered military equipment to Ukraine. The bloc also implemented various economic sanctions, including a ban on Russian aircraft using EU airspace,[654] a SWIFT ban on certain Russian banks, and a ban on certain Russian media outlets.[655] Reactions to the invasion have varied considerably across a broad spectrum of concerns including media responses, peace efforts and the examination of the legal implications of the invasion.

See also[]


  1. ^ a b The Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic are separatist states that declared their independence in May 2014. They have received recognition from each other, Russia, Syria, North Korea, and from the partially recognised states of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.[1][2][3][4][5][6]
  2. ^ Russian forces were permitted to stage part of the invasion from Belarusian territory.[7][8] Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko also stated that Belarusian troops could take part in the invasion if needed,[9] and Belarusian territory was used to launch missiles into Ukraine.[10] Ukrainian officials have claimed that Belarusian troops have entered Ukraine.[11] See also: Belarusian involvement in the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine
  3. ^ Outside of Ukraine, there was spillover into the Russian cities of Millerovo, Belgorod, Klimovo, and Otradny in the Belgorodsky District of Belgorod Oblast.[12][13] See also: 2022 Western Russia attacks
  4. ^ Confirmed figure by source, not final (confirmations ongoing), estimates are higher.
  5. ^ The DPR stated 2,653 of its servicemen were killed and 11,277 wounded between 1 January and 3 August 2022,[510] of which 13 died and 50 were wounded between 1 January and 25 February 2022,[511] leaving a total of 2,640 killed and 11,227 wounded in the period of the Russian invasion.
  6. ^ Russia stated 1,500 DPR and LPR servicemen were killed 24 Feb.–5 April 2022.[512] Taking into account that officially confirmed DPR losses were 979 killed 26 Feb.–7 April 2022,[513][511] it can be estimated 500–600 LPR servicemen died 24 Feb.–5 April 2022.
  7. ^ See table here for a detailed breakdown of civilian deaths by oblast, according to Ukrainian authorities.
  8. ^ The DPR stated 812 of its civilians were killed and 2,726 wounded between 1 January and 11 August 2022,[515] of which 8 died and 23 were wounded between 1 January and 25 February 2022,[511] leaving a total of 804 killed and 2,703 wounded in the period of the Russian invasion.
  9. ^ Most likely, new cities meant new industrial cities in Siberia, the construction plans of which were announced by Shoigu in the fall of 2021.[579]


  1. ^ "South Ossetia recognises independence of Donetsk People's Republic". TASS. 27 June 2014. Archived from the original on 4 January 2022. Retrieved 29 March 2022.
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