Russian forces began their invasion of Ukraine more than six months ago. Since then, tens of thousands of people have been killed, millions of Ukrainians have fled and the country has sustained tens of billions of dollars worth of damage.
Here is an overview of the war that highlights one key development for each month since the invasion began on Feb. 24.
Russian forces attacked the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, from the north in an attempt to overthrow President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government. With Ukrainian troops outgunned and outnumbered, many military experts expected the attack to succeed swiftly. But after weeks of fighting, Russia retreated, stymied by ferocious Ukrainian resistance. Evidence of atrocities emerged in the wake of the retreat.
Russian forces attacking from the south took the province of Kherson. The advance was part of an attempt to secure Ukraine’s Black Sea coast and form a land bridge between the region of Crimea, which Russia 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.
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 to seize all of Donetsk and Luhansk, together known as Donbas.
The last Ukrainian fighters surrendered to Russian forces in Mariupol, a port city and industrial hub on the Sea of Azov. Russian forces shattered the city during weeks of bombardment that killed thousands of civilians. The fighting ended with a siege of the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works plant, which became 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. Russian forces had captured the island at the start of the conflict, exposing Ukraine’s coast to missile attacks and a potential ground invasion. By driving Russian troops from the island — two months after sinking the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, the Moskva — Ukraine eased the threat to Odesa further dented Moscow’s aura of naval power.
After weeks of artillery bombardment and street fighting, the last city under Ukrainian control in Luhansk, Lysychansk, fell to Russia. In the weeks that followed, however, Moscow made only minimal progress in its effort to secure the rest of Donbas.
In late August, Ukraine said it had launched a counteroffensive in the southern region of Kherson. The buildup to the attack had taken weeks, during which Ukraine deployed newly arrived missile systems supplied by the United States and other Western countries to destroy Russian ammunition dumps and other military infrastructure. Ukraine also attacked a Russian air base in Crimea.
In a rapid offensive, Ukraine recaptured much of the northeastern Kharkiv region, including the city of Izium, which had been a key Russian logistics hub. The advance, which continues, enabled Kyiv to seize the momentum in the war.