February 24 – March 2:
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine begins with a televised speech by President Vladimir Putin in which he claims that Russia will “de-Nazify” its neighbor. The claim that Ukraine is led by the Nazis will be a serial during the first weeks of the war.
The initial days are otherwise a jumble of information, condemnations, sanctions, support for Ukraine and people fleeing invading Russian forces. As early as February 28, Ukraine and Russia will meet for talks – but without real success.
The wave of refugees from Ukraine to neighboring countries passes during the week both one and two million people. In Sweden, more than 1,000 Ukrainian citizens seek asylum.
Talks between Ukraine and Russia culminate in “humanitarian corridors” for civilians to leave cities under attack. Agreements on ceasefire are not kept, however, and several cities, including Mariupol in the south, are beginning to be hard hit.
The long Russian military column that wound its way to the Ukrainian capital Kyiv is dissipated and takes on a new shape. Exact information on troop movements, battles, casualties and control of territory remains difficult to confirm. More information is coming about Russian attacks on hospitals, something that arouses international anger. Accusations of war crimes are growing stronger.
Kiev’s mayor, Vitaly Klitschko, said on March 10 that more than half of the population, close to two million people, had left the city.
On March 16, the Russian military bombed a theater in vulnerable Mariupol, where hundreds of civilians are said to have sought refuge. On the same day, the UN announces that the number of people fleeing Ukraine now exceeds 3 million, 1.4 million of whom are children.
Russia’s attack on Mariupol is a huge war crime, says EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell at a meeting in Brussels.
On March 18, Russian President Vladimir Putin will address tens of thousands of people in Moscow to celebrate the anniversary of the annexation of Crimea. the withdrawal of Russian troops.
One month into the war in Ukraine, Russia shifts its focus, troops withdraw from the capital Kyiv and all force instead seems to concentrate on the eastern parts of the country. The information is divided as to whether Russia’s changed strategy is mainly due to failure to capture Kyiv and fierce Ukrainian resistance or whether it was a Russian plan from the start.
The UN refugee agency UNHCR estimates that four million people have fled Ukraine. Another 6.5 million are internally displaced persons within the country. The refugee crisis is the largest since World War II.
31 mars–6 april:
Terrible images are wired from Butja outside the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, where shot dead civilians line the streets after Russia’s retreat. These are serious war crimes, according to international law expert Mark Klamberg, who draws parallels to the massacre in Srebrenica. The outside world condemns and is appalled, US President Joe Biden calls Vladimir Putin a war criminal.
The devastation that Russian soldiers have left behind in the city of Borodjanka is said to be even more horrific than that in nearby Butja. “It’s much worse there, there are more victims,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The EU nails a fifth sanctions package against Russia. US President Joe Biden accuses Vladimir Putin of being behind genocide in Ukraine.
Russia, through former President Dmitry Medvedev, is threatening to “take action” if Finland and Sweden join NATO.
The situation in besieged Mariupol is getting worse, attempts to evacuate civilians are slow and hundreds are said to remain in the Azovstal steelworks.
Russian forces attack on a broad front in eastern Ukraine after launching a full-scale offensive in the Donbass.
The UN estimates that more than eight million Ukrainians will flee their country – far more than the 5.2 million people who have already fled the war.
The fighting in various parts of Ukraine continues, without Russia achieving clear successes. In connection with UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ visit to Moscow, Vladimir Putin says he is still open to talks with Ukraine to end the war.
April 28-May 4:
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov compares Volodymyr Zelensky with Adolf Hitler and causes new international condemnation of the Russian government. Following criticism from, among others, Israel, Lavrov maintains his statements and believes that Israel supports a “neo-Nazi” regime in Ukraine.
In Russia, famous Swedes, including Astrid Lindgren, are also singled out as Nazis on advertising posters in Moscow.
From besieged Mariupol comes information that Russia has stormed the last Ukrainian stronghold in the city, the steel plant Azovstal – something that is rejected by Russia. However, time seems to be running out faster and faster for those who remain in the city.