The Russian forces’ full scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 was a devastating event that has cost countless lives, displaced millions of Ukrainians, and resulted in tens of billions of dollars worth of damage.
Here is an timeline of the war that highlights one key development for each month.
Russian forces attacked the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, and the country’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, in an attempt to overthrow President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government. Many experts expected Kyiv to fall swiftly, but after weeks of fighting, Russia pulled back, stymied by ferocious resistance.
Attacking from the south, Russian forces took the Kherson region, including the regional capital, aiming to secure Ukraine’s coast. Moscow also sought to form a land bridge between the region of Crimea, which it illegally annexed in 2014, and breakaway republics that were set up with Moscow’s backing that year in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions, together known as Donbas.
Far more civilians were killed in Ukraine in March than in any other month of the war, according to United Nations data.
In early April, a Russian missile strike on a train station in Kramatorsk, a city in Donetsk, killed more than 50 civilians. The attack came at the start of a Russian offensive, ordered by President Vladimir V. Putin, to seize all of Donbas.
The last Ukrainian fighters surrendered to Russian forces in Mariupol, a port city and industrial hub on the Sea of Azov, after weeks of bombardment by Moscow’s forces that killed thousands of civilians. The fighting ended with a siege of the Azovstal steel plant, which had become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance.
Ukrainian forces raised a flag over Snake Island, a sliver of land in the Black Sea off the Ukrainian city of Odesa, which Russian troops had captured in February. By driving Russian forces from the island — two months after sinking the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, the Moskva — Ukraine eased the threat to Odesa and dented Moscow’s aura of naval power.
In a blow to Moscow’s war effort, an explosion damaged the Kerch Strait Bridge linking Crimea with Russia. Two days later, Russia attacked Ukrainian towns and cities from land, sea and air, the start of a campaign to cripple the country’s energy infrastructure. Russia announced the annexation of four Ukrainian regions — Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia — despite international condemnation of the move and Russia’s loss of ground in some of those regions.