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The current conflict in Ukraine began on 24 February 2022 when Russian military forces entered the country from Belarus, Russia and Crimea.

Prior to the invasion, there had already been eight years of conflict in eastern Ukraine between Ukrainian Government forces and Russia-backed separatists.

This paper provides a timeline of the major events that happened in the conflict in Ukraine since the 2022 Russian invasion.

A timeline covering events during the prior eight years is available in Commons Library research briefing CBP-9476, Conflict in Ukraine: A timeline (2014 – eve of 2022 conflict).

Full-scale invasion of Ukraine

On 24 February 2022 Russia launched military action in Ukraine, with forces crossing into the country from Belarus in the north, Russia in the east and Crimea in the south.

President Putin said it was a “special military operation” intended to protect the people of the Donbas and to “demilitarise and denazify Ukraine”. He denied that Russia planned to occupy Ukrainian territory or to “impose anything on anyone by force”.

For the last two years Russian forces have, however, been conducting a full-scale assault on the country.

Initial Ukrainian counteroffensive

Over the course of 2002, Ukraine, with military assistance from its allies and partners, conducted a major counteroffensive. Ukrainian forces liberated significant territory in the northeast and east of the country. In the south, Ukrainian forces retook key towns and villages in Kherson, north of the Dnipro River. 

Further annexation in eastern Ukraine

In early October 2022 Russia signed annexation treaties recognising Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia as part of the Russian Federation, even though those regions are not totally under Russian control.

Ukraine counteroffensive – 2023

On the back of Ukraine’s initial military success in 2022, President Zelenskyy vowed to continue the counteroffensive and reclaim all of Ukraine’s sovereign territory, including Crimea which Russia annexed in 2014.

Ukraine launched its counteroffensive in early June 2023. However, deeply entrenched Russian positions to the south of the Dnipro River in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts made progress difficult and slow. Going into the winter of 2023, Ukraine’s counteroffensive had not achieved as much as some had hoped. Russia remains in control of 18% of Ukrainian territory and many commentators talk of a “stalemate” in the conflict.

Despite the lack of success in the ground counteroffensive, Ukraine has however made gains elsewhere, most notably in the Black Sea. Ukraine has conducted an increasingly successful military campaign against Russian military assets in and around Crimea and has successfully established a maritime corridor in the western Black Sea through which it has been transporting grain and other goods.

Prospects for the conflict

Fierce fighting continues in eastern Ukraine and with both sides continuing to call for a decisive victory, despite their military shortcomings, there appears little appetite for compromise or peace. Continued military assistance to Ukraine, in particular from the United States, is considered crucial for the coming year.

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