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List of Key Events on Second Anniversary of Russia-Ukraine War

HomeWARList of Key Events on Second Anniversary of Russia-Ukraine War

Today marks two devastating years since Russian forces first invaded Ukraine on February 24th, 2022, igniting the largest armed conflict in Europe since World War II. As the world commemorates this solemn milestone, here is a timeline of notable developments:

February 24th, 2022: Russian President Vladimir Putin announces a “special military operation” in Ukraine’s Donbas region in the early morning hours, as troops and tanks roll across the border. Air raids bombard major cities like Kyiv and Kharkiv. The brutal war begins.

February 26th, 2022: Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declares martial law and orders a general military mobilization to defend against Russian advances. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian civilians soon volunteer to fight.

March 16th, 2022: Russia bombs a theater sheltering civilians in the besieged city of Mariupol, killing hundreds. This ruthless attack shocks the world as a possible war crime.

April 3rd, 2022: Evidence emerges of horrific atrocities committed by Russian forces against unarmed civilians in Bucha and other towns near Kyiv, adding to war crimes allegations.

April 14th, 2022: Russia’s flagship Moskva cruiser sinks in the Black Sea after being struck by Ukrainian missiles, dealing a major reputational blow to Russia’s military prestige.

May 18th, 2022: Finland and Sweden apply to join NATO in response to Russia’s invasion, abandoning decades of neutrality. This move reflects drastically shifting European security alignments provoked by the conflict.

July 22nd, 2022: Russia and Ukraine sign a landmark deal brokered by Turkey and the UN to unblock grain exports from Ukraine’s beseiged ports. This alleviates global food security fears.

September 21st, 2022: Putin announces a partial military mobilization to call up 300,000 reservists after Russian forces encounter fierce Ukrainian resistance in the east. A major escalation.

November 9th, 2022: Ukraine recaptures the strategic city of Kherson from Russia, its forces’ first major victory after months of brutal trench warfare in the south.

December 5th, 2022: Western countries impose a $60 price cap on seaborne Russian oil exports. The unprecedented move seeks to restrict Russia’s oil revenue funding its war in Ukraine.

January 1st, 2023: Poland sends the first 14 German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. The move opens the door for more NATO countries to provide advanced heavy weaponry to Ukrainian forces.

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January 14th, 2023: After months of Russian aerial bombardments across Ukraine, a massive missile barrage kills 45 civilians in the city of Dnipro, igniting global outrage.

February 24th, 2023: On the first anniversary of the invasion, Biden makes a bold visit to Kyiv promising steadfast support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity. New US sanctions also imposed.

February 24th, 2024: Two years since Russian forces invaded, Ukraine’s resilience persists amid some battlefield success. But Russian attacks escalate again with renewed strikes killing civilians on the anniversary.

As this grim two-year milestone passes, the people of Ukraine remain courageously defiant despite massive devastation across the country. With over 10,500 civilians dead and almost one-third of Ukrainians displaced, this conflict has already produced profound geopolitical ripples.

Yet the future remains uncertain. Russia still occupies nearly 20% of Ukraine’s internationally-recognized territory in the south and east. Fierce combat rages daily as exhausted armies brace for spring. Still, Ukraine’s resistance and solidarity from abroad sparks cautious hope that justice may one day prevail.

World Leaders Voice Ongoing Support Amid New Sanctions

In a strong show of unity on the invasion’s two-year mark, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen traveled to Kyiv by train alongside the Prime Ministers of Italy, Canada and Belgium in solidarity with Ukraine.

In emotional remarks, von der Leyen praised Ukraine’s “extraordinary courage and resilience” during two years of horrific bloodshed. She reminded Ukrainians they are not alone, with allies across Europe and beyond still committed to their cause.

In anticipation of the anniversary, the United States also unveiled sweeping new sanctions debilitating over 500 Russian-connected entities, including government officials, defense companies and technology firms accused of enabling Vladimir Putin’s brutal war.

Washington additionally imposed stringent export controls on nearly 100 Russian companies to restrict access to vital technologies required for Moscow’s military operations. The European Union simultaneously approved its 13th round of sanctions, targeting almost 200 more Russian individuals and organizations supporting the war.

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Echoing global condemnation of Russia’s actions, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stated plainly that “Russia is not only attacking Ukraine, it is also destroying peace and security across Europe.” He pledged Germany would continue supplying military aid to Ukraine for “as long as it takes” to repel Russian attacks.

Biden Urges Congress to Quickly Approve $60 Billion in Assistance

In Washington, President Joe Biden renewed bipartisan calls for Congressional leaders to quickly authorize over $60 billion in additional military, economic and humanitarian assistance for embattled Ukraine.

Citing the horrifying milestones reached after two years of war, Biden emphasized that “history is waiting” for the United States to lead the global response, including holding Russia accountable for atrocities. He warned that “failure to support Ukraine now would be unforgivable.”

If rapidly approved, this huge package would represent America’s largest single aid tranche since the invasion began. The emergency funds will help provide weapons, ammunition and defensive arms to outgunned but determined Ukrainian troops facing waves of Russian assaults.

Additionally, the money will underwrite vital reconstruction efforts by repairing Ukraine’s obliterated infrastructure of roads, housing, bridges and energy grids destroyed by years of relentless Russian aerial bombardments.

Moreover, American assistance will fund food, medicine, shelter and other humanitarian relief for millions of displaced Ukrainian families — especially vulnerable groups like children, the elderly and disabled — as the war continues with no end in sight after 24 arduous months.

Fierce Battles Rage in East; Russia Strikes Civilian Areas

Even as global leaders issued somber anniversary remembrances and record sanctions, Russia continued aerial assaults using missiles, rockets and explosive drones which killed three more Ukrainian civilians and injured many others on the February 24th anniversary itself.

Meanwhile, intense ground combat persists in contested regions of the Donbas and along the extended Southern frontlines. Some military experts anticipate Russia may launch major new offensive operations this spring after months of regrouping its depleted forces.

According to the Kremlin’s controlled press, President Putin also issued bold claims that 95 percent of Russia’s strategic nuclear weapons complex has been modernized – widely interpreted as a threatening reminder of Moscow’s escalatory capabilities if the conflict drags on.

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For their part, Ukrainian officials remain cautiously optimistic about recent counteroffensive successes. The Ukrainian Air Force asserts it finally shot down an advanced Russian A-50 reconnaissance and command aircraft over the Azov Sea coastal waters on the invasion anniversary.

And in the battered Donbas city of Avdiivka, Ukrainian forces also managed to recapture areas from entrenched Russian troops who had occupied the town for months – one of several ongoing counter-assaults aimed at gradually pushing back eastern invaders.

War Grinds On As Anniversary Passes; Outcome Remains Uncertain

And so two devastating years of all-out war between Russia and Ukraine have now passed, setting the stage for what may be an even more grinding next phase in the months ahead.

As spring arrives, there are concerns Vladimir Putin may intensify attacks in a desperate effort to finally capture more Ukrainian territory after early failures. Russia still occupies nearly 20% of Ukraine, and peace talks remain stalled despite Switzerland’s offer to try mediating a negotiated settlement by this summer.

In the meantime, the world continues demonstrating extensive support for Ukraine’s right to survive as an independent nation. Just this week, Washington unveiled plans for tens of billions in extra military equipment, economic assistance and humanitarian aid.

Whether these renewed international commitments will help turn the tide against a numerically larger invading Russian force remains to be determined. With both sides apparently gearing up for bloody spring offensives, Ukraine’s courageous defenders face several more months of brutal fighting to expel Russia’s weakened but still dangerous battalions from their battered land.

Yet the indomitable will of the Ukrainian people remains intact on this doleful anniversary marking two years of horrors they never imagined. From Lviv to Kharkiv, soldiers and civilians stand united against tyranny. And with ongoing help from abroad, there is still flickering hope that freedom can prevail even in the face of Moscow’s remorseless aggression.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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