30 Crucial Moments in the First 300 Days of the Ukraine War

Credit: Polina Petrishyna/Unsplash

On Tuesday, the continuing Russian invasion of Ukraine will have lasted 300 days. The most recent round of assault by President Vladimir Putin against Kyiv has altered the political, military, and economic landscape of Europe and beyond and plunged the continent into what is likely its gravest crisis since World War II, as reported by Newsweek.

Escaping the impasse

On the 300th day of the war, Newsweek has chosen 30 turning points that have shaped the conflict thus far. During these times, NATO and the EU have backed Ukraine while Putin and his forces try to escape the impasse.

On the battlefield

February 24: ‘Thunder run’

Russian armoured columns drove south in a “thunder drive” from Belarus to start the invasion. However, the groups were unable to enter Kyiv properly because they were hampered by fierce opposition in the wetlands and woodlands to the north of the city.

The Hostomel Antonov airport was not successfully taken by a Russian helicopter-borne attack, which would have allowed for the airfield to be used as a staging area for the final assault on Kyiv. The northern invasion force was doomed by its first failures near Kyiv; by April, it had been forced to retire back into Belarus despite major successes gained by Russian forces in the south and east of the country.

April 14: Moskva sunk

The Black Sea Fleet’s flagship Russian guided missile cruiser Moskva is sunk by Ukrainian anti-ship missiles. The Moskva was the largest Russian ship sunk since World War II, resulting in a significant propaganda victory for Kyiv and a humiliating defeat for the Kremlin. The immediate threat of an amphibious invasion aimed at taking the southern port city of Odesa was eventually diminished when Russian ships restricted their activity in the Black Sea to avoid Ukrainian coastal artillery. Additionally, this caution assisted Ukraine in driving out Russian troops from the tiny Snake Island in July.

May 17: Azovstal surrenders

Since Mariupol was originally besieged in the early hours of the invasion on February 24, the expansive Azovstal steel facility has been defended by Marine and Azov Battalion forces against Russian attacks. The battle of Mariupol, in which the majority of the city was devastated and tens of thousands of people are believed to have died, came to an end with the capitulation of the last defenders. The survivors were captured, however several were eventually released in prisoner exchanges. 53 people were killed in explosives at the Olenivka prisoner of war camp, and more others are still in Russian hands. While Kyiv said the explosions were an attempt by Russia to conceal evidence of prisoner murders and torture, Russia blamed the incident on Ukrainian artillery.

July 3: Lysychansk falls

Early in July, Lysychansk, the last Ukrainian-controlled city in the Luhansk Oblast, was taken over by Russian forces. It was the culmination of Russia’s arduous summer offensive, in which forces attempted to firmly establish control over the eastern Donbas region while being supported by massive artillery barrages.

September 8: Breakthrough at Balakliia

Early in September, Ukrainian forces launched a surprise counteroffensive in the Kharkiv region, bursting through Russian defences at Balakliia and advancing far behind the enemy lines to liberate more than 4,500 square kilometres and about 500 communities. In anticipation of the openly planned counteroffensive against Kherson, Russian commanders had been concentrating on the southern front. Russian troops fled to the east as their lines in Kharkiv fell. Within a few days, Moscow declared that its forces had received orders to leave the Kharkiv region.

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Source: Newsweek