It has been almost three months since Russia invaded Ukraine – a 12-week period in which Russian forces wreaked havoc on the country and its people, resulting in widespread death and causing millions to flee of people.
But the invasion was not the army success hoped for by Moscow, and is now deep into its second phase.
The bulk of the fighting shifted east after Russian advances in central Ukraine failed. Ukrainians focus on recovery some key areas closer to the Russian border, while Moscow is seeing its troops pushed back in a few key battles.
Western aid is also flowing to Ukraine, NATO is set to be strengthened as Nordic countries seek to join, and the first Russian soldier accused of war crimes has been tried.
Here is what has happened in several key areas since the start of the war.
After weeks of intense fighting, Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region is “completely destroyed”, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday.
He accused Russia of a “deliberate and criminal attempt to kill as many Ukrainians as possible” after a village in Chernihiv was hit by missiles, killing many.
Officials in the region say the frontline is being shelled “day and night” as Russian forces attempt to break through Ukrainian lines.
A NATO military official told CNN on Wednesday that the alliance expects some sort of stalemate in the coming weeks. But the official said NATO believes the momentum has shifted significantly in Ukraine’s favor and the debate in NATO circles is now about whether kyiv can retake Crimea and the territories of Donbas seized by Russia and Russian-backed separatists, respectively, in 2014.
Ukrainian forces repelled Russian assaults on Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, and advanced towards the border at several points north and east of the city.
Ukrainian officials said last week they were liberating villages on the outskirts of the city. Their advances have led to the symbolic and embarrassing expulsion of Kremlin forces to their own border while posing the strategic threat of cutting off Russia’s supply lines to Ukraine and its forces further south in the Donbass.
Anastasia Paraskevova recently returned home to Kharkiv for the first time since she fled the city two months ago. It had been constantly bombarded since then until the Russian forces were pushed back.
Paraskevova said overall the experience was good.
“The city was much livelier. People were walking in the streets. And some stores were working. It felt like life was back, much better than it was when I was here in March.
Every day, hundreds if not thousands of people try to flee the Russian-occupied Kherson region in southern Ukraine.
The city has been under Russian control since the start of the invasion. Ukrainians leave for many reasons: to avoid being detained or to escape the brutal actions of Russian forces, or because of chronic shortages of medicine and other basics in Kherson, which fell under Russian control soon after. the invasion.
Last week, a convoy of around 1,000 vehicles attempted to leave Kherson. The Russians eventually let the convoy move in batches – but only after holding it in one place for most of the day.
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