HomeNewsDiplomatic NewsTimeline of events in Russia-Ukraine War

Timeline of events in Russia-Ukraine War

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When and how did the Russian aggression against Ukraine start?

Russia’s premeditated armed aggression against Ukraine began on February 20, 2014, with the military operation of the Russian Armed Forces to seize a part of the territory of Ukraine – the Crimean Peninsula.

Having carried out the temporary occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the
Kremlin moved to the next stage – the war in the Ukrainian Donbas. Units of the Russian special forces and other armed formations of the Russian Federation, Russian soldiers “on leave” and military advisers seized local bodies of power, police stations, and military facilities of Ukraine in the certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine.

The Minsk agreements and agreements in the “Normandy format” reached later through the mediation of the OSCE, as well as Germany and France, from the very first day were not fulfilled by Russia, which, instead of their implementation, tried to replace the process of peaceful settlement and efforts aimed at ending the war with granting “special status” to the quasi-state entities created by it.

What happened on February 24, 2022?

In November 2021, the Russian Federation started building up its troops on the border with
Ukraine, both on its side and on the side of Belarus, while assuring the absence of any intention to attack Ukraine.

On February 21, 2022, Russia officially “recognized” as “states” the terrorist entities “Luhansk People’s Republic” and “Donetsk People’s Republic” created by it in the certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine.

On February 24, 2022, the President of the Russian Federation announced the beginning of the so-called “special military operation” under the pretext of carrying out the so-called
“demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine”.

After that, around four o’clock in the morning, missile strikes were carried out throughout the territory of Ukraine, and Russian troops launched a large-scale invasion of the territory of our state, entering from the side of the Russian Federation, Belarus and the temporarily occupied Crimean peninsula. About 330,000 military personnel were involved into Russia’s large-scale armed aggression against Ukraine.

Developments at the frontline after the beginning of a full-scale invasion

Active resistance from the Armed Forces of Ukraine, territorial defense forces and Ukrainian
citizens incurred significant losses to the Russian occupiers and disrupted the Kremlin’s plans to carry out a “blitzkrieg”, capture Kyiv and key cities and change power in Ukraine.

By the April 2022, the Russian invaders were expelled from the Kyiv region as well as from
Chernihiv and Sumy regions. The support of the partner states allowed the Ukrainian Defense Forces to disrupt the plans of the Russian command to occupy the entire territory of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions as part of the spring-summer offensive. As a result of
counteroffensive operations in the fall of 2022, the Armed Forces of Ukraine liberated significant territories of the Kherson and Kharkiv regions.

In the winter-spring campaign of 2023, the Russian offensive potential was exhausted in the battle for Bakhmut. 50% of the territory occupied after 24 February 2022 was liberated by the Defence Forces of Ukraine (nearly 20% of the territory of Ukraine is still under Russian occupation).

Russia’s offensive operation, which began on 3 October 2023, is currently underway. The
occupation forces increased offensive actions along the frontline, but cannot advance
significantly. Russian troops have no strategic successes in the East of Ukraine, but are actively trying to advance and look for weaknesses in Ukraine’s defense.

Currently, the Ukrainian military switched to the defense operation to exhaust the enemy forces and inflict maximum losses on them.

It cost enemy tens of thousands of fighters and many months to create numerical superiority and break through the Ukrainian defense near Avdiivka in February 2024. Nevertheless, the Ukrainian Forces inflicted huge losses on the enemy and destroyed a significant reserve of the Russian army, which it planned to use in other parts of the front for offensive actions.

The total losses of the enemy in Avdiivka during 10.10.2023-17.02.2024 amounted to 47 186 troops, 364 tanks, 748 armored vehicles, 248 pieces of artillery and 5 aircraft; As of 21 February, since the start of the full-scale armed invasion 406 080 Russian soldiers were
killed in action as well as 6516 tanks, 9826 artillery systems, 1903 cruise missiles, 339 aircraft and 325 helicopters, 992 MLRS, 12338 armored personnel vehicles, 678 anti-aircraft warfare systems, 25 warships, 1 submarine and 7560 UAV of tactical level were destroyed.

So far, Ukraine has sunk a third of Russia’s Black Sea fleet. The latest destroyed warship was the occupiers’ large landing ship Tsezar Kunikov (14 February 2024). It was used in the wars against Georgia and Ukraine as well as in Syria.

Since the beginning of the year, 359 Iranian-made attack drones have been destroyed; In revenge for its military losses, Russia continues terrorizing Ukrainian civilians by attacking critical infrastructure and residential areas with missiles, MLRS, guided aerial bombs and attack drones resulting in significant casualties and destruction.

The number of damaged or destroyed civilian infrastructure facilities has exceeded 149,000
(149,883 sites, including 120,531 residential buildings, 3,028 educational and 735 medical
institutions, 529 cultural and 167 religious buildings, and 5,707 water and electricity networks).

>200 schools were destroyed and >1,600 damaged. It means one in seven schools in Ukraine suffered damage. These numbers do not include the Temporarily occupied territories.

The impact of the Russian war against Ukraine on European and world security

Russia’s war against Ukraine is not a regional but a civilizational conflict. Democratic Ukraine is fighting for independence, defending itself against Russian neo-colonialism, personified by an authoritarian regime that denies the very right of an independent Ukrainian nation to exist. In its struggle Ukraine protects the world order based on the rule of law from Russian revisionism.

Instead, Russia seeks to change the balance of power by applying the principle of the right of force.

The main goal of the Kremlin’s military and hybrid efforts is not only to restore its Cold War
sphere of influence in Europe, but also to destroy unity, weaken and discredit the multilateral institutions, primarily the EU and NATO. The movement of Ukraine in the direction of integration into the mentioned structures was used as a formal justification for the start of full scale hostilities by Russia against Ukraine.

Also Read: Ambassador Maciej reflects on two-years of Russian invasion of Ukraine

Ukraine is one of the leading producers and exporters of wheat, corn and sunflower oil. The
consequences of military operations, shelling of transport and agricultural infrastructure, Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports causes the global food crisis, which contributes to political instability in Global South countries as well.

Goals of Ukraine in the war and after it

Ukraine strives for the complete liberation of all occupied territories, the restoration of
sovereignty and territorial integrity in the internationally recognized borders, including the parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, as well as the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, occupied in 2014.

Russia must pay compensation for the mass destruction caused to Ukraine. War criminals must be held accountable.

Ukraine should receive clear and effective international security guarantees. Russia must be
deprived of the capacity for armed aggression in the future.

After the war, Ukraine, having gone through reforms, will join the European and Euro-Atlantic institutions as a full member, as it fixed in the Constitution of Ukraine.

The implementation of the Peace Formula proposed by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr
Zelenskyi on November 15, 2022 will contribute to achieving these goals as well as to the
restoration of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine and security for the entire
world as well.

The points of the Peace Formula were reflected in resolution A/RES/ES-11/6 “Principles of the UN Charter underlying a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine”, approved by the UN General Assembly on February 23, 2023 by an overwhelming majority of votes (141).

Russia’s violation of the international law

By launching armed aggression against Ukraine, Russia has violated the fundamental norms and principles of international law, numerous bilateral and multilateral treaties and agreements.

Since the day one of the invasion, Russia has been violating the rules of war and international law and committing war crimes and crimes against humanity on a massive scale, killing civilians, destroying infrastructure and deporting population.

Large-scale crimes against civilians committed by Russian troops were recorded in the territories liberated from occupation. After the liberation of Kyiv region from Russian troops, facts of mass murders, torture and rape of civilians, including children, were documented in the cities of Bucha, Irpin, Gostomel and many villages of the region.

Later, the facts of torture and murder of Ukrainian citizens were revealed in almost all settlements that were liberated from Russian occupation in Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Kherson regions.

Ukrainian law enforcement agencies launched investigations into 125,834 war crimes and crimes of aggression as well as 16,445 crimes against national security perpetrated by Russian occupiers. They include the killing of 11,914 (including 528 children) and the wounding of 19,047 civilians (including 1,226 children). These figures do not take into account the temporarily occupied areas.

The crimes of the Russian occupiers against Ukrainian children are especially terrible. Only
according to confirmed data, hundreds of them died and more than a thousand were wounded.

The Russia carried out the illegal deportation of 200-300 thousand children from the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. The purposeful nature of these actions was confirmed by the International Criminal Court, which on March 17, 2023 issued an arrest warrant for the President of the Russian Federation and the Russian Commissioner for Children’s Rights.

In fall and winter of 2022, the Russia actively used missile weapons and kamikaze drones to attack critical infrastructure facilities in Ukraine, trying to destroy the Ukrainian power system and deprive the civilian population of electricity, water supply, and heating in the cold season.

On June 6, 2023, the Russian occupiers blew up the Kakhovka hydro-electric plant, which
became another act of state terrorism of the Russian Federation and led to an unprecedented humanitarian and environmental disaster in the south of Ukraine.

Since the March 4, 2022, the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant remains occupied by the Russian military. In deliberate violation of the principles of nuclear safety, the Russian side has placed weapons in the premises and on the territory of the plant, creating the most serious threats to global security.

The Kremlin tried to “legitimize” the occupation by organizing sham “referenda” on September 23-27, 2022, in the temporarily occupied territories of the Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk, and Donetsk regions of Ukraine and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Preparations for Russian Presidential elections to be held on March 15-17, 2024 on occupied territories of Ukraine are under way. From a legal point of view these actions are null and void.

Russians systematically violate the law of war by executing Ukrainian POWs. The Ombudsman of Ukraine urgently appealed to the ICRC and the UN to investigate the execution of our soldiers at the Zenit position near Avdiivka.

Through organizations negotiating with Russia on prisoner exchanges, the Ukrainian forces agreed with the enemy to evacuate our wounded from encircled ”Zenit”, provide them with assistance, and exchange them later. Russian troops broke their promise and shot the surrendered Ukrainian soldiers.

The UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine stated a widespread
pattern of torture and inhuman treatment committed by the Russian side against the detained persons in Ukraine, with tortures being particularly severe against current or former members of Ukrainian military and associated persons, and their relatives. More than a hundred Russian torture chambers were found in the de-occupied territories of Ukraine.

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