It’s been nearly three months since Russia invaded Ukraine — a 12-week period during which Russian forces devastated the country and its people, killing masses and displacing millions.
But the invasion hasn’t been the army success Moscow hoped for, and is now deep in its second phase.
Most of the fighting has moved east after a failed Russian advance into central Ukraine. The Ukrainians focus on reconquest some key areas closer to the Russian border, while Moscow sees its forces retaliate in some key battles.
Western aid is also pouring into Ukraine, NATO will be strengthened if Nordic countries try to join, and the first Russian soldier charged with war crimes is on trial.
This is what has happened in several key areas since the beginning of the war.
After weeks of fierce fighting, Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region has been “completely devastated,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday.
He accused Russia of a “deliberate and criminal attempt to kill as many Ukrainians as possible” after rockets hit a village in Chernihiv, killing many.
Officials in the region say the front line is being shelled “day and night”, with Russian troops trying to breach Ukrainian lines.
A NATO military official told DailyExpertNews on Wednesday that the alliance expects some sort of stalemate in the coming weeks. But the official said NATO believes momentum has shifted significantly in Ukraine’s favour, and the debate in NATO circles is now over whether Kiev will deport the Crimea and Donbas territories to Russia and the Donbas territories in 2014, respectively. Russian-backed separatists seized can recapture.
Ukrainian forces have beaten back Russian attacks in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, and have advanced towards the border in several places north and east of the city.
Ukrainian officials last week said they liberated villages on the outskirts of the city. Their advances led to the symbolic and embarrassing expulsion of the Kremlin’s forces back to their own border, while posing the strategic threat of cutting off Russian supply lines to Ukraine and its forces further south in Donbas.
Anastasia Paraskevova recently returned to her home in Kharkiv for the first time since she fled the city two months ago. Since then it was bombed constantly until the Russian troops were repulsed.
Paraskevova said the experience was generally good.
“The city was much livelier. People walked through the streets. And some stores were working. It felt like there was some life again, much better than when I was here in March.”
Every day, hundreds or even thousands of people try to flee the Russian-occupied Kherson region of southern Ukraine.
The city has been under Russian control since the beginning of the invasion. Ukrainians leave for many reasons: to avoid being detained or to escape crackdowns by Russian troops, or because of chronic shortages of medicines and other basic necessities in Kherson, which fell under Russian control shortly after the invasion.
Last week, a convoy of about 1,000 vehicles attempted to leave Kherson. The Russians eventually let the convoy drive in sections, but only after holding it in one place for most of the day.
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