soldiers on field

A year of war in Ukraine: A timeline of key moments

Russia’s full-scale invasion in Ukraine that began on Feb. 24, 2022, sent shockwaves around the world. It’s now been a year since Russia’s war in Ukraine began. Here’s an account, by month, of some of the key moments in the conflict.

The World

A Ukrainian national guard serviceman stands atop a destroyed Russian tank in an area near the border with Russia, in Kharkiv region, Ukraine, Sept. 19, 2022. 

Leo Correa/AP

One year ago this week — Feb. 24, 2022 — Russia launched Europe’s biggest war since World War II.

Russian tanks began rolling into Ukraine, sending civilians fleeing for basement bunkers and their country’s borders. Governments around the world imposed stringent sanctions on Russia in an attempt — so far unsuccessful — to pressure President Vladimir Putin to abandon the war. Against the odds, Ukraine’s military has held its ground, reclaiming control of broad swaths of occupied territory and fending off Russian attempts to advance in the east where fierce battles are continuing.

The toll of the human suffering has been staggering — thousands have been killed and more than 8 million Ukrainians fled abroad. The economic consequences also continue to reverberate around the world, from the scramble for new energy sources in Europe to higher grain prices in Africa.

The threat of war in Ukraine had loomed for some time. On March 31, 2021, the US military raised an alert of a “potential imminent crisis” arising from Russian drills near the Ukrainian border, though armed conflict in Ukraine began in 2014 when Russia annexed CrimeaThroughout 2021, Russia alternately added and subtracted troops along the Ukrainian border though Moscow denied plans to attack the country and characterized Western concerns as a smear campaign.

On Feb. 24, 2022, Putin announced his “special operation” in Ukraine at 6 a.m. Moscow time. Russian troops invaded Ukraine from three sides. They also commandeered the nuclear plant at Chernobyl and began assaults on Ukraine’s southern port cities including Mariupol and Kherson.

In an address to Ukrainians that night, President Volodomyr Zelenskiy said that he had reached out to the 27 leaders of Europe asking directly whether Ukraine could join NATO — but said he didn’t get an answer.

“Everyone is afraid,” he said. “The fate of the country depends entirely on our army ... on our heroes … and on the friends of the nation. Glory to Ukraine.”

In Washington, President Joe Biden called Russia’s move “a premeditated attack.”

“Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war. And now, he and his country will bear the consequences.”

Here's a timeline, below, of key moments in the war so far.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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