At the start of the war, Ukraine defied many Western intelligence assessments that predicted a quick Russian victory. Ukrainian forces held off an assault on its capital, Kyiv, and forced Russia to change its focus to the eastern part of the country.
Now the two sides are mired in battle in parts of the east and south, with Ukraine's Western allies investing billions of dollars into military aid — including sophisticated weaponry — to support Kyiv, while Russia has been amassing resources and troops to the front lines.
A year into the war, there are signs that the fighting could drag on for much longer. Russia has not wavered from its goal to capture eastern Ukraine, while Kyiv has rejected any settlement that would allow its territories captured during the war to remain under Russian occupation.
The war has taken a huge toll in terms of lives lost, homes destroyed, and residents uprooted. Millions of Ukrainians have fled their country, leading to the greatest refugee exodus in Europe since World War II.
While Ukraine and Russia have closely guarded casualty figures, estimates put the number of dead and wounded soldiers from both countries in the tens of thousands, with tens of thousands more civilians killed in Ukraine.
The war has devastated Ukraine's economy, caused an economic downturn in Russia, and had ripple effects on the world economy, including contributing to a global rise in food and energy costs. European energy markets have been fundamentally changed by the war, with much of Europe moving away from Russian coal, oil and gas imports.
The exact number of military casualties is not known, with both Ukraine and Russia guarding the figures for their troops. Civilian casualties are also hard to obtain because Ukraine is an active war zone. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees has confirmed 7,000 civilian deaths in the country; however, the organization says the death toll is likely much higher. U.S. General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, estimated the following figures in November:
Before the war began, Ukraine had a population of more than 40 million. Since the February 2022 invasion, millions of Ukrainians have fled the country, with millions more displaced within its borders.
Refugee numbers for most countries are based on registrations for Temporary Protection or similar national schemes. In countries in which that data is not available, figures are based on refugees registered as living in that country.
DISCLAIMER: UNHCR figures show that 2.8 million Ukrainians went to Russia since the war started, though some went involuntarily or had no alternative.
The Kiel Institute for the World Economy estimates that 46 countries have provided 108.8 billion euros to Ukraine in the form of military, financial and humanitarian aid. The majority of the aid has come from EU countries and the United States.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and the resulting sanctions imposed on Moscow by Western countries have led Russia’s economy into decline. The war has devastated Ukraine’s economy, with World Bank Vice President Anna Bjerde saying in December that postwar construction of Ukraine will cost $525-$630 billion.
The Food Price Index is a measure of the change in international prices of five commodity groups (meat, dairy, cereals, vegetable oils and sugar).
Global food prices have increased in the past two years due to a range of factors, including pandemic disruptions, drought and the war in Ukraine, one of the world’s largest wheat producers.
The index measures the global price movement of energy, including petroleum, natural gas, coal and propane, relative to the base year of 2016.
A recent surge in the global price of gas, coal and electricity is the result of a number of causes, including increased demand for energy as the coronavirus pandemic eased across the world. Exacerbating the energy supply issues is the war in Ukraine, which has led European countries to reduce their dependence on Russian coal, oil and gas.
Economic output around the world dropped significantly in 2022 and is projected to fall further in 2023. The downturn has been caused by a range of factors, including pandemic disruptions and higher-than-expected inflation. Economists say the war in Ukraine has dragged down the world economy, as well as contributed to rising food and energy prices.
On the Ground
On the front lines in Ukraine, journalists confront risks to report on the war. But with several killed or seriously injured in the past year, media advocates have mobilized to offer training and equipment. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Kyiv, Lviv and the front lines in the Donbas region of Ukraine.
Camera: Yan Boechat.
Over the past year of war, Russia has occupied and lost vast swaths of Ukraine, and it now appears to be attempting to retake some of the same territory. Families remaining in the areas under fire say the losses they have already suffered have been enormous. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Ukraine’s Kherson Oblast, just north of Crimea.
Camera: Yan Boechat.
A full year of daily strikes on civilian areas of Ukraine has left people numb, saying they barely hear the sirens. Even far from the front lines, locals say everything about life in Ukraine is different. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Dnipro in Ukraine.
Camera: Yan Boechat.
As both Ukraine and Russia step up military force in eastern Ukraine, Russia appears to be close to surrounding Bakhmut, a city that has been the site of fierce battles for months. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Bakhmut.
Camera: Yan Boechat.
The town of Lyman in the Donetsk region was occupied by Russian forces between May and October 2022. It has been severely damaged, and those locals who have not left are doing what they can to get through the winter. Yaroslava Movchan has the story, narrated by Anna Rice.
Camera: Arthur Shagalin.
The Avtushenkos spent the past year living in war-torn Ukraine, but with a new baby on the way, the family left the country to start anew in Texas. Deana Mitchell has the story.
A year after Russia invaded Ukraine, millions of civilians remain displaced by the fighting. Some are still in Europe, but some are in the United States. For VOA, Svitlana Prystynska visits with a young Ukrainian refugee family in the western U.S. state of Colorado.
Camera: Volydumyr Petruniv.
Nearly a year ago, tens of thousands of Ukrainians sought refuge in the United States as Russian troops invaded their country. Mike O'Sullivan spoke with two Ukrainian families in California about their lives one year later.
One year on from Russia’s invasion, most free transport for those escaping war has been discontinued.
One year after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, refugees fleeing the violence have settled around the world. For VOA, Deborah Bloom take us to meet a refugee mother and daughter in the U.S. Pacific Northwest state of Oregon.
The European Union has opened its doors to millions of Ukrainian refugees since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — even as member states tighten restrictions against economic migrants and asylum seekers from elsewhere. That includes France, which unveiled new immigration legislation last week. For VOA, Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of Evry-Courcouronnes.
Millions of Ukrainians fled into Poland in the first months of Russia's invasion. A year on, the chaotic scenes at the border have eased - and many Ukrainians now cross back and forth from their home country. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the border town of Przemyśl, Poland is braced for a new influx of refugees as the fighting intensifies in eastern Ukraine.
Videographer: Henry Ridgwell.
Many Ukrainian refugees say they have learned to cope with war, 12 months after Russia’s invasion.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine unleashed a wave of repression against independent journalism inside Russia, forcing many journalists to seek refuge in neighboring Latvia. One year on, their hopes of returning to practice their profession in Russia are few. Jonathan Spier narrates this report from Ricardo Marquina in the Latvian capital, Riga.
Russian narratives calling the invasion of Ukraine a "special military operation" are being heard in some countries, thanks to a Russian disinformation campaign targeting specific areas of the world. VOA’s Virginia Gunawan reports. VOA's Ukrainian Service contributed to this report.
Camera: Laurentius Wahyudi, Naras Prameswari, AP, AFP, Zoom (with license).
Residents of Kherson, Ukraine, focus on the small things.
A year after the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the first German-made tanks should soon arrive on the front line to support Kyiv’s forces. Over the past 12 months, Germany and other European nations have tried to respond to the return of large-scale land warfare to the continent. Critics say they haven’t acted fast enough, as Henry Ridgwell reports from Berlin.
Poland has led refugee response and is also the main conduit for western arms into Ukraine.
The European Union is marking the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with more sanctions against Moscow. Previous sanctions have targeted commodities like oil, gas, coal, steel, cigarettes, vodka and gold. But one key Russian export is expected to be off the EU’s list once again: diamonds. For VOA, Lisa Bryant went to the world’s diamond trading capital of Antwerp, Belgium, to find out why.
Ukraine has pursued legal action against Moscow since 2014 without success. Is this time different?
The U.S. Congress has appropriated more than $112 billion in aid to Ukraine since Russia invaded one year ago. VOA congressional correspondent Katherine Gypson looks back at the scope of that assistance and reports on what happens next. VOA footage by Rob Parsons.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was in Estonia on Thursday, where the United States and NATO allies have increased force numbers as part of a push to deepen defenses across NATO’s eastern flank. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb gained exclusive access to US soldiers in Estonia, as she crisscrossed the country to learn more about its defense
Camera: Mary Cieslak
Video Editor: Mary Cieslak.
Securing the skies has been a primary concern in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began, and for NATO countries bordering Ukraine and Russia, it is a job that is shared. Fighter pilots from Italy, Germany, the United States and others rotate through countries on the alliance’s eastern flank to keep constant watch for any threat crossing into NATO air space. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb caught up with members of the Italian Air Force as they practiced how to intercept threats entering Romania.
Videographer: Mary Cieslak.
Most Impactful Articles February 2022 - February 2023
February 22, 2022
UN special rapporteur Tom Andrews calls on UN Security Council to convene emergency meeting to vote on a a resolution for member states to impose arms embargo on Myanmar.
February 24, 2022
Authorities say they are responding to social media calls to rally against Putin's decision to attack Ukraine.
February 25, 2022
Current, former intelligence officials, experts warn that some of the Russian leader's recent behavior may be somewhat uncharacteristic, but writing him off would be a mistake.
February 27, 2022
Ukraine is a stress test for China.
March 5, 2022
Ukraine's embassy in Washington says 3,000 Americans have offered to join an international brigade to resist Russia's aggression.
March 12, 2022
Some wonder if her detente policies with Putin have left Germany, and Europe, vulnerable.
April 13, 2022
Ukrainian official earlier said Moskva was hit by two missiles but did not give evidence.
June 1, 2022
In the sheikhdom of the United Arab Emirates, one of the world's largest yachts sits in a quiet port — so far avoiding the fate of other luxury vessels linked to sanctioned Russian oligarchs.
June 3, 2022
Relentless shelling, bombing and airstrikes have reduced large swaths of many cities and towns to rubble.
July 24, 2022
Ukraine says damage not significant, preparing to restart grain exports.
August 31, 2022
India and China are among several countries taking part in Russia’s weeklong joint military drills scheduled to get under way on Thursday in the east of the country, according to Russia’s state-owned news agency Tass.
October 4, 2022
Carrier strike group marks largest partner show of force in the Atlantic since World War II.
November 1, 2022
Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, Bakhmut is said to be one of the longest and most lethal battlefields for both sides.
November 14, 2022
As Russia has struggled in its war against Ukraine, reports from Russia indicate authorities have been recruiting troops from prisons.
November 21, 2022
Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant safe for now, IAEA says.
January 4, 2023
Moscow says death toll has risen to 89 from Ukrainian attack on military quarters in Makiivka in the Moscow-controlled parts of the Donetsk region.
February 1, 2023
Retired Army Lieutenant General Ben Hodges says Russia's nuclear weapons are useful only when President Vladimir Putin threatens to use them.
February 12, 2023
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy praises power workers for repairs made to energy systems after Russian missile and drone attacks Friday.