Russia on Wednesday accused Ukraine of attacking the Kremlin with drones overnight in a failed attempt to assassinate President Vladimir Putin. A senior Ukrainian presidential official has denied the accusations, the most dramatic since Russia invaded its European neighbor more than 14 months ago.
Here is a timeline of the main developments since the start of the so-called military operation by Russia:
February 2022: At dawn on February 24, 2022, after having repeatedly denied plans to invade Ukraine, Putin announced a “special military operation” to demilitarize and “denazify” Ukraine, a former Soviet country. A full-scale invasion begins, with missile strikes on several Ukrainian cities and ground forces entering the country from the north, south and east. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy remains in the capital kyiv to lead the resistance, despite US warning that Russia is ready to “decapitate” his government. The invasion, which comes after frantic diplomatic efforts to keep Putin at the negotiating table, provokes an international outcry The West imposes unprecedented sanctions on Russia and gradually tightens them, the EU agrees to send weapons to Ukraine – a first for the bloc – and the United States greenlight billions of dollars in military aid.
March 2022: Russia is firmly taking control of several regions in southern Ukraine. They take the province of Kherson as well as the coast of the Black Sea, thus inflicting an economic blow on Ukraine. The aim was to form a land bridge between the Crimea region, which Russia annexed in 2014. The land bridge would also include Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions, where Moscow-backed separatist forces have been helping the Russian military . Airstrikes on a hospital in Mariupol kill civilians.
April 2022: The Russian army is withdrawing from northern Ukraine to concentrate on the east and the south. As Moscow forces retreat from the western suburbs of kyiv, they leave behind scenes of horror. On April 2, the bodies of at least 20 civilians were discovered, some with their hands tied behind their backs, lying in a single street in Bucha, on the northwestern outskirts of Kiev. Over the next few weeks, hundreds more bodies, many bearing signs of torture, were found in houses, cellars and shallow graves across the north. Russia is accused of widespread war crimes, which it denies.
May 2022: Ukrainian fighters surrender to Russian military in Mariupol. Ukrainian soldiers – called the last defenders of Azovstal – faced intense shelling that saw the port city and industrial center of the Sea of Azov turn to rubble. Thousands of civilians were killed and the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works factory was besieged, forcing the Ukrainian defenders to surrender.
June 2022: Ukrainian forces deal a blow to Russian naval forces by hoisting a flag on Snake Island, a strip of land in the Black Sea off the Ukrainian city of Odessa. In the initial phase of the conflict, Snake Island was used to carry out missile attacks against Ukraine. Ukraine is also home to the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, the Moskva.
July 2022: Severodonetsk and Lysychansk fall into the hands of the Russian army. A “strategic reset” ensues as Russian forces call in reinforcements and replenish their supplies of food, fuel and ammunition for the next phase of the war.
August 2022: The Ukrainian counter-offensive begins in southern Kherson. The Ukrainian military grew stronger after the arrival of HIMARS and other upgraded weapons from the United States and its Western allies destroyed Russian ammunition storage centers and military infrastructure. An air base in Crimea is also attacked.
September 2022: Ukraine takes control of parts of Kharkiv, including the city of Izium. Izium was a key logistics hub for the Russians. Russia announces referendum polls for the Russian-occupied Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson. Russian proxies claim victory and Russia prepares to declare these areas part of the Russian Federation.
October 2022: Russia is changing tack and turning to Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, which it targets with repeated missile and drone fire. The attacks leave millions of people without electricity or heat for hours on end in the dead of winter.
November 2022: Russian forces suffer their greatest setback in the war when they are forced to abandon Kherson. Ukrainian forces are greeted as liberators when they arrive days later.
January 2023: Russian forces backed by the controversial Wagner mercenary group are stepping up their offensive on the town of Bakhmut in Donetsk, at the center of the longest and bloodiest battle of the war.
Zelensky repeatedly asks the West to send tanks. Germany, which had been wary of the escalating conflict, finally relented in sending some of its mighty Leopard tanks, paving the way for other European countries to follow suit.
May 3, 2023: Russia claims Ukraine tried to kill Putin via drones, while kyiv has denied the charges and said it had nothing to do with the alleged incident. The Kremlin said two drones were used in the alleged attack on Putin’s residence in the Kremlin’s fortified citadel, but were disabled by electronic defenses. He said Russia reserved the right to retaliate – a comment that suggested Moscow could use the alleged incident to justify further escalation in its war with Ukraine.
(With contributions from the agency)
Read all the latest news here