On 24 February 2022, Russia launched a large-scale invasion of Ukraine, marking a major escalation of the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian War. The campaign was preceded by a prolonged Russian military buildup since early 2021, and demands by Russia to legally prohibit Ukraine from joining NATO
In the days prior to the invasion, Russia recognised the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic, followed by the incursion of the Russian Armed Forces to the Donbas region of Eastern Ukraine on 21 February 2022.
At about 03:00 UTC (06:00 Moscow time, UTC+3) on 24 February, Russian president Vladimir Putin announced a military operation in eastern Ukraine; minutes later, missile strikes began at locations across the country, including Ukraine's capital Kyiv.
The Ukrainian Border Service stated that its border posts with Russia and Belarus were attacked. Many countries condemned the attack and imposed sanctions on Russia. Ground forces entered at around 05:00 UTC, two hours later.
REASONS AND HISTORY BEHIND THE WAR
Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine and Russia continued to retain close ties. In 1994, Ukraine agreed to abandon its nuclear arsenal and signed the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances on the condition that Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States would provide assurances against threats or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine. Five years later, Russia was one of the signatories of the Charter for European Security, where it "reaffirmed the inherent right of each and every participating State to be free to choose or change its security arrangements, including treaties of alliance, as they evolve
In 2008, Russian president Vladimir Putin spoke out against Ukraine's potential accession to NATO.
In 2009, Romanian analyst Iulian Chifu and his co-authors opined that in regard to Ukraine, Russia has pursued an updated version of the Brezhnev Doctrine, which dictates that the sovereignty of Ukraine cannot be larger than that of the Warsaw Pact's member states prior to the collapse of the Soviet sphere of influence during the late-1980s and early-1990s
UKRAINIAN REVOLUTION AND WAR
Revolution of Dignity
Following weeks of protests as part of the Euromaidan movement (2013–2014), pro-Russian Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych and the leaders of the Ukrainian parliamentary opposition on 21 February 2014 signed a settlement agreement that called for an early election.
The following day, Yanukovych fled from Kyiv ahead of an impeachment vote that stripped him of his powers as president.
Leaders of the Russian-speaking eastern regions of Ukraine declared continuing loyalty to Yanukovych, causing the 2014 pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine.
The unrest was followed by the annexation of Crimea by Russia in March 2014 and the War in Donbas, which started in April 2014 with the creation of the Russia-backed quasi-states of the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics
On 14 September 2020, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy approved Ukraine's new National Security Strategy, "which provides for the development of the distinctive partnership with NATO with the aim of membership of NATO
In July 2021, Putin published an essay titled On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians, in which he re-affirmed his view that Russians and Ukrainians were "one people". American historian Timothy Snyder described Putin's ideas as imperialism. British journalist Edward Lucas described it as historical revisionism. Other observers have described the Russian leadership as having a distorted view of modern Ukraine and its history.
Russia has said that a possible Ukrainian accession to NATO and the NATO enlargement in general threaten its national security. In turn, Ukraine and other European countries neighboring Russia have accused Putin of attempting Russian irredentism and of pursuing aggressive militaristic policies.
Main article: 2021–2022 Russo-Ukrainian crisis The conflict began with a major military build-up, initially from March to April 2021 and then from October 2021 to February 2022.
During the second military buildup, Russia issued demands to the United States and NATO, advancing two draft treaties that contained requests for what it referred to as "security guarantees", including a legally binding promise that Ukraine would not join NATO as well as a reduction in NATO troops and military hardware stationed in Eastern Europe, and threatened an unspecified military response if NATO continued to toe an "aggressive line".
On 9 December 2021, Russian president Vladimir Putin spoke of discrimination against Russian speakers outside Russia, saying: "I have to say that Russophobia is a first step towards genocide. You and I know what is happening in Donbass. It certainly looks very much like genocide.
"Russia also condemned the Ukrainian language law.
On 15 February 2022, Putin told the press: "What is going on in Donbass is exactly genocide. " News outlets noted that, despite Putin's accusation of genocide against native Russian speakers, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy is himself a native Russian speaker.
Russian claims of genocide have been widely rejected as false. Several international organizations, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, and Council of Europe, found no evidence supporting the Russian claims.
The genocide allegations have been rejected by the European Commission as Russian disinformation.
On 21 February, following the recognition of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics, President Putin ordered Russian troops (including mechanised forces) to be sent into Donbas, in what Russia called a "peacekeeping mission". Russia's military said it killed five Ukrainian "saboteurs" who crossed the border into Russia, a claim strongly denied by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.
Later that day, several independent media outlets confirmed that Russian forces were entering Donbas.
The 21 February intervention in Donbass was widely condemned by the UN Security Council and did not receive any support.
Kenya's ambassador, Martin Kimani, compared Putin's move to colonialism and said "We must complete our recovery from the embers of dead empires in a way that does not plunge us back into new forms of domination and oppression.
On 22 February, US president Joe Biden stated that "the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine" had occurred. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said that "further invasion" had taken place. Ukrainian foreign minister Kuleba stated,
"There's no such thing as a minor, middle or major invasion. Invasion is an invasion.
" The European Union foreign policy head Josep Borrell stated that "Russian troops [had arrived] on Ukrainian soil" in what was "[not] a fully-fledged invasion".
On the same day, the Federation Council unanimously authorised Putin to use military force outside Russia.
In turn, President Zelenskyy ordered a conscription of Ukraine's reservists, while not committing to general mobilisation yet.
On 23 February, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine proclaimed a 30-day nationwide state of emergency, excluding the occupied territories in Donbas, which took effect at midnight. The parliament also ordered the mobilisation of all reservists of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
On the same day, Russia began to evacuate its embassy in Kyiv and also lowered the Russian flag from the top of the building.
The websites of the Ukrainian parliament and government, along with banking websites, were hit by DDoS attacks.
Another UN Security Council meeting was convened on 23–24 February. Russia invaded Ukraine during a UN Security Council emergency meeting aiming to defuse the crisis. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had stated: "Give peace a chance.
Russia invaded while holding the presidency of the UN Security Council for February 2022, and has veto power as one of five permanent members.
In the early hours of 24 February, Zelenskyy made a televised speech in which he addressed the citizens of Russia in Russian and pleaded with them to prevent war.
Shortly before 04:00 Moscow Time (UTC+3) on 24 February, Putin announced that he had made the decision to launch a military operation in eastern Ukraine.
In his address, Putin claimed there were no plans to occupy Ukrainian territory and claimed he supported the right of the peoples of Ukraine to self-determination.
Putin also stated that Russia sought the "demilitarisation and denazification" of Ukraine—the latter a claim that CNN called "baseless and urged the Ukrainian service people to lay down their arms and go to their homes.
In light of a request by the Russian Ministry of Defence asking air traffic control units of Ukraine to stop flights, airspace over Ukraine has been restricted to non-civilian air traffic, with the whole area being deemed an active conflict zone by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
Within minutes of Putin's announcement, explosions were reported in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odessa and the Donbas. Ukrainian officials said that Russia landed troops in Mariupol and launched cruise and ballistic missiles at airfields, military headquarters, and military depots in Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Dnipro.
Military vehicles entered Ukraine through Senkivka at the point where Ukraine meets Belarus and Russia around 6:48 a.m. local time.
Video captured Russian troops entering Ukraine from Russian-annexed Crimea.
US senator Marco Rubio, the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, claimed that Russia's initial objectives were to establish air superiority, launch a pincer movement from Belarus and Crimea to cut off Ukrainian ground forces in the east from Kyiv, and decapitate the Ukrainian government via attacks on buildings, leaders, and command and control systems.
According to Ukrainian Minister of State Anton Herashchenko just after 06:30 UTC+2, Russian forces were invading via land near the city of Kharkiv and large-scale amphibious landings were reported at the city of Mariupol. At 07:40, the BBC cited other sources in saying that troops were also entering the country from Belarus.
The Ukrainian Border Force reported attacks on sites in Luhansk, Sumy, Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Zhytomyr, as well as from Crimea.
The Russian Ministry of Defence claimed no resistance by Ukrainian border forces. Welcome to Gboard clipboard, any text you copy will be saved here
The Ukrainian interior ministry reported Russian forces captured the villages of Horodyshche and Milove in Luhansk. The Ukrainian Centre of strategic communications and strategic security reported that the Ukrainian army beat off an attack near Shchastia (near Luhansk) and took back control of the town, claiming nearly 50 casualties from the Russian side.
After being offline for an hour, the Ukrainian Defence Ministry's website was restored. The Ministry claimed that it had shot down five planes and one helicopter in Luhansk.
Shortly before 07:00 (UTC+2), President Zelenskyy announced the introduction of martial law in Ukraine. Later he ordered the Ukrainian Army to "inflict maximum losses" to the invaders. Zelenskyy also announced that diplomatic relations with Russia were being severed, effective immediately. Russian missiles targeted Ukrainian infrastructure, including hitting the Kyiv Boryspil airport. Ukraine closed its air space for civilian flights.
A military A military unit in Podilsk was attacked by Russian forces, resulting in six deaths and seven wounded. Nineteen more people were also reported missing. Another person was killed in the city of Mariupol. A house in Chuhuiv was damaged by Russian artillery; its occupants were injured and one boy died.
Eighteen people were killed by Russian bombing in the village of Lipetske (Odesa Oblast).
At 10:00 (UTC+2), it was reported during the briefing of the Ukrainian presidential administration that Russian troops invaded Ukraine from the north (up to 5 km deep). Russian troops were said to be active in Kharkiv Oblast, Chernihiv Oblast, near Sumy.
Zelenskyy's press service also reported that Ukraine repulsed an attack in Volyn Oblast at 10:30 (UTC+2), the Ukrainian defence ministry reported that Russian troops in Chernihiv Oblast had been stopped, a major battle near Kharkiv was in progress, and Mariupol and Shchastia had been fully reclaimed. It was reported that 6 Russian planes, 2 helicopters and dozens of armoured vehicles were destroyed.
Russia denied having lost any aircraft or armoured vehicles. Ukrainian commander in chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi published photos of 2 captured Russian soldiers saying they were from the Russian 423rd Guards Yampolsky Motor Rifle Regiment (military unit 91701). Russian airborne troops seized the Antonov International Airport in Hostomel, a suburb of Kyiv, after being transported by helicopters early in the morning; a Ukrainian counteroffensive to recapture the airport was launched later in the day.
Belarus allowed Russian troops to invade Ukraine from the north. At 11:00 (UTC+2), Ukrainian border guards reported a border breach in Vilcha (Kyiv Oblast), and border guards in Zhytomyr Oblast were bombarded by Russian rocket launchers (presumably BM-21 Grad). A helicopter without markings reportedly bombed Slavutych border guards position from Belarus.
At 11:30 (UTC+2) a second wave of Russian missile bombings targeted the cities of Kyiv, Odessa, Kharkiv and Lviv. Heavy ground fighting was reported in the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. Civil rights activists in Poland reported an increase in the crossing of migrants from Belarus to Poland. Belarus is considered by observers to be taking orders from Russia and using migrants at the Polish-Belarus border as a weapon (see also 2021–2022 Belarus–European Union border crisis).
At 13:00 and 13:19 (UTC+2), Ukrainian border guards and Armed Forces reported two new clashes—near Sumy ("in the direction of Konotop") and Starobilsk (Luhansk Oblast). At 13:32 (UTC+2), Valerii Zaluzhnyi reported four ballistic missiles launched from the territory of Belarus in the southwestern direction. Several stations of Kyiv Metro and Kharkiv Metro were used as bomb shelters for the local population.
A local hospital in Vuhledar (Donetsk Oblast) was reported to have been bombed with four civilians dead and 10 wounded (including 6 physicians).
Ukrainian border guards reported that two Russian ships Vasily Bykov (Project 22160 patrol ship) and Moskva attacked and tried to capture the small Snake Island near the Danube Delta. Meanwhile, Russian troops advancing from Crimea were reported to have established control over the North Crimean Canal.
At 16:00 (UTC+2) President Zelenskyy said that fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces had erupted in the ghost cities of Chernobyl and Pripyat. By around 18:20 (UTC+2) the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant was under Russian control, as were the surrounding areas.
At 16:18 (UTC+2), the mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, proclaimed a curfew lasting from 22:00 to 7:00.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi estimated that more than 100,000 Ukrainians had left their homes, with thousands of these crossing into Moldova and Romania.
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