(VOA News)

Timeline of war

At the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, few would have predicted that the war would still be ongoing two years later with no clear end in sight. Here is a look at how the war, known for the fierceness of its battles, has unfolded into a near stalemate on the frontlines.

February 24, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin announces the start of a “special military operation” in Ukraine

February 25, 2022

The next day, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy films himself in central Kyiv, disproving rumors that he fled his country and vowing that Ukrainians will fight back.

March 29, 2022

Russia abandons Kyiv offensive

At the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many military analysts predicted Russian troops would quickly take control of Kyiv. However, Ukrainian forces put up a strong resistance, forcing Russian troops to leave the capital and refocus the fight in Ukraine’s east and south.

April 3, 2022

Bucha atrocities discovered

Retreating Russian troops from Kyiv and surrounding areas reveal evidence of atrocities, particularly in Bucha. Hundreds of bodies are discovered in mass graves in the town, many bearing signs of torture.

May 18, 2022

Sweden and Finland apply to join NATO

Nearly three months after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Sweden and Finland apply simultaneously to join NATO. It is the start of the most significant expansion of the military alliance in more than two decades.

May 20, 2022

Russia takes Mariupol

The fight for the eastern city of Mariupol comes to define the drawn-out nature of the war’s battles.


Azovstal Iron and Steel Works

A group of Ukrainian soldiers, who were holed up in the city’s steel plant, withstand weeks of Russian bombardment before surrendering in May.

September 1, 2022

Russia retreats from Kharkiv

After occupying Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region for six months, Russian forces are forced to retreat after a rapid Ukrainian counteroffensive in the province. There is no one date because the offensive lasted several weeks, and it is hard to pin down exactly when all the troops had left.

September 21, 2022

Putin announces partial military draft

Putin announces a “partial mobilization” of 300,000 reservists. The move triggers a mass exodus of Russians to avoid the draft.

September 30, 2022

Russia officially annexes four regions

Putin announces the annexation of four partially occupied regions in Ukraine — Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia — after Russian officials there orchestrate referendums. Ukraine and its allies, along with the United Nations, dismiss the move as illegal.


October 8, 2022

Crimea bridge attack

An explosion severely damages the only bridge connecting Russia with the Crimean Peninsula. Russia retaliates by launching waves of missile strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, leading to blackouts across the country.

November 11, 2022

Kherson liberated

Ukrainian forces retake the southeastern city of Kherson, as Russian forces withdraw to the eastern side of the Dnipro River. Videos from the city show residents celebrating in the streets.


December 21, 2022

Zelenskyy visits the White House

Making his first trip abroad since the Russian invasion, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy meets with U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House and addresses Congress, securing the continuation of U.S. military aid.

January 25, 2023

Germany approves sending tanks to Ukraine

After weeks of mounting political pressure from Ukraine and its allies, Germany agrees to supply Kyiv with Leopard 2 battle tanks. The U.S. promises to send M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine.

March 17, 2023

ICC issues arrest warrant for Putin

The International Criminal Court issues an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of war crimes for his alleged involvement in the abduction of children from Ukraine. Russia, which is not a member state of the ICC, calls the warrant “outrageous and unacceptable.”

May 21, 2023

Russia claims Bakhmut

Russia says it has taken the eastern salt mining city of Bakhmut, following a yearlong battle. The mercenary Wagner Group takes credit for the victory after taking over the fight from Russian forces.

(Handout photo)

June 23, 2023

Wagner mutiny

In an unprecedented challenge to Putin’s rule, the Wagner Group carries out a mutiny, saying it has been deprived of support and ammunition by the Russian army. The group’s leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, leads his mercenaries to within 200 kilometers of Moscow before making a deal to end the mutiny. He dies in a plane crash two months later.


July 17, 2023

Russia withdrawals from grain deal

Russia ends its participation in a United Nations deal allowing Ukraine safe passage to export grain past Russian warships on the Black Sea. The moves forces Ukraine to transport more of its grain by land across Europe.

November 1, 2023

‘Stalemate’ in the war

Ukrainian military chief General Valery Zaluzhny tells The Economist that the war has reached a stalemate, though Ukraine's president disagrees with his assessment. “Just like in the first world war, we have reached the level of technology that puts us into a stalemate,” Zaluzhny says.

December 14, 2023

EU opens talks on Ukraine membership

The European Union agrees to open formal accession talks with Ukraine, bringing the country a step closer to joining the bloc. Ukraine had applied for EU accession less than a week after Russia invaded the country. Zelenskyy calls the development a “victory that motivates, inspires and strengthens.”