In videos, photos, and maps, how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is unfolding on the ground – wapo NEWSLETTER


In videos, photos, and maps, how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is unfolding on the ground

Video, verified by The Washington Post, shows at least three small fires and heavy smoke lining the center of Peremohy Avenue in Kyiv Saturday. (Telegram)

Russian forces are closing in on Ukraine’s capital. In the early morning hours of Saturday, dozens of explosions echoed across Kyiv, a city of nearly 3 million. Hours earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned “this night will be harder than the day. We can’t lose the capital.”

Obolonski

District

Desnyanskyi

District

Kotsyubyns’ke

Civilian

building

hit by

rocket debris

Svyatoshyns’ski

District

Government

House

Darnyts’kyi

District

KYIV CITY

KYIV OBLAST

Boryspil

International

Airport

Holosiivskyi

District

3 MILES

It was unclear how much of the country remains under Ukrainian control and how much Russia has seized. President Biden denounced the invasion as “unprovoked and unjustified,” and the White House and global allies have pulled together an unprecedented package of sanctions to isolate Russia and President Vladimir Putin.

In photos, videos and maps, this is how the situation on the ground is unfolding, including reports from journalists for The Washington Post on the scene.


Feb. 25
Russian troops have entered Ukraine from the north, south and east of the country.

Contested

Russian-held

Russian troop movement

Ground incursion from Belarus to north of Kyiv

BELARUS

RUSSIA

Chernobyl

Helicopter troop inserts into Kharkiv area

POLAND

Russia is getting more resistance than it expected around Kyiv, according to the Pentagon

Kyiv

Kharkiv

UKRAINE

Dnieper

Amphibious landing

west of the port city

of Mariupol

Mariupol

Separatist-

controlled

area

ROMANIA

Sea of

Azov

Odessa

Crimea

Annexed by Russia

in 2014

100 MILES

Sources: Janes, Post reporting

Black Sea

Dispatches: Reporters on the ground

As the Russian assault on Ukraine intensified, Post reporters shared what they were experiencing on the ground.

In Kharkiv, The Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan took shelter with her colleagues for a second time as the shelling intensified.

Post team in Kharkiv takes shelter as shelling is heard near the city

The Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan is in Kharkiv, Ukraine where shelling could be heard near the city on Feb. 25. (Whitney Leaming/The Washington Post)

In Kyiv, Post Video journalist Whitney Shefte returned to her hotel’s bunker, along with other journalists and hotel guests, for the fourth or fifth time that day.

Video journalist Whitney Shefte reports from her hotel bunker amid loud booms in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Casey Silvestri/The Washington Post)

And farther west, The Post’s David Stern reported from a traffic jam in the Carpathian Mountains, where many were trying to travel farther from the fighting. “Cars are backed up for, well, miles,” he said.

Reporter David Stern sits in miles-long traffic in western Ukraine as people move away from Russian threats. (Casey Silvestri/The Washington Post)
Civilians answer the call to fight for Ukraine
A young couple after joining the territorial defense fighters and receiving their weapons and ammunition in the capital city of Kiev on Feb. 25. (Mikhail Palinchak/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

As Russian forces push toward Kyiv, the seventh most populated city in Europe, people all over the country are being urged by officials — and sometimes compelled by necessity — to fight back in whatever ways they can.

The country’s former president is patrolling the city streets with a civilian defense force, armed with an AK-47. Civilians have been called to find their own weapons and make molotov cocktails — a type of crude, homemade explosive named, mockingly, after a former Soviet foreign minister.

Members of the Territorial Defence Forces of Ukraine receive weapons to defend the city of Kyiv, Ukraine February 25, 2022. Mikhail Palinchak/Pool via REUTERS (Pool/Reuters)
Fighters check their weapons on Feb. 25. (Mikhail Palinchak/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Roughly 18,000 weapons have already been distributed in the Kyiv region, according to the government. At the country’s borders, Ukrainian guards have been stopping vehicles, looking for men between the ages of 18 and 60 who can help in the fight.

Kira Rudik, a member of Ukraine’s parliament, also said she was ready to fight. She had learned to use a Kalashnikov, she said, in a post on Twitter. “It sounds surreal, as just a few days ago it would never come to my mind.”

– Adam Taylor and Ruby Mellen

Satellite images suggest offensive against Kyiv may be ‘imminent’

Satellite images from Maxar Technologies taken Friday showed large deployments of ground forces and nearly 150 helicopters poised in southern Belarus, fewer than 100 miles from Kyiv.

A satellite image made available by Maxar Technologies shows part of a five-mile line of military helicopters southeast of Chojniki, Belarus, on Feb. 25, 2022. Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies

Friday a senior U.S. defense official said the Russian military had lost momentum in its offensive as Ukrainian forces put up resistance, but the official added that could change. The photos reveal extensive troops and materiel in Belarus, a nation loyal to Moscow.

BELARUS

Mazyr

Russian

troop

movement

Satellite images taken Friday

show more than 140 helicopters and ground forces with vehicles in convoy postion in Belarus near Mazyr and Chojniki

Chojniki

UKRAINE

Palieski State

Radioecological

Reserve

Chernihiv

Former

nuclear

plant

Chernobyl

Exclusion Zone

Ovruch

Captured by Russia

on Friday

Desna

River

Korosten

Dneiper

River

Ivankiv

Malyn

Bridge destroyed

by Ukrainian forces

UKRAINE

Targeted

with airstrikes

Kyiv

20 MILES

Boryspil

Int’l Airport

Zhytomyr

“This is an indicator of a large push to come,” said Jeffrey Lewis, a professor and arms control expert at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies. “The helicopters and the ground forces nearby suggest an imminent offensive against Kyiv.”

He added that while they were hard to definitively identify, the helicopters were probably Russian because “Belarus only has a tiny number of attack helicopters” and “the fact that they are out in the field suggests they are far from home.”

In Chojniki, Belarus, more than 90 parked helicopters formed a line extending more than five miles, Maxar said.

A satellite image made available by Maxar Technologies shows extensive Russian ground forces northeast of Chojniki, Belarus, on Feb. 25, 2022. Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies

Northeast of that town, several hundred military vehicles were positioned. Fifty additional helicopters were photographed near Mazyr, Belarus. The Pentagon said Friday about a third of the Russian forces committed to the assault are now in Ukraine, or more than 50,000.

Thousands swarm Kyiv railway station

As officials warned that the capital could fall, thousands of people waited in a Kyiv railway station, desperate to get on a train to leave the city. Photos from the Kyiv-based news organization Zaborona posted on Twitter showed crowds of people swarming platforms. The organization said Ukrainian Railways was evacuating 4,000 people an hour, prioritizing women and children.

Some Ukrainians return to fight, others are blocked from fleeing

The video shows hundreds of people stuck at the Medyka border crossing in Shehyni, Ukraine, waiting to enter Poland on Feb. 25. (Wojciech Grzedzinski/The Washington Post)

As some Ukrainian men living overseas queued at border crossings to return and try to do their part to fight Russia’s onslaught on Friday, others expressed frustration at being blocked from leaving amid a national call to arms.

The queue to the Polish border is about nine miles long, and Ukrainians have been waiting several hours to cross. (Wojciech Grzedzinski for The Washington Post)

Ukraine’s border guard had stopped all male citizens between the ages of 18 and 60 from leaving the country on Friday, as the defense ministry called on residents of one district of Kyiv to make molotov cocktails.

Ukrainians walk to the border with Poland to flee Russia’s invasion. (Wojciech Grzedzinski for The Washington Post)
Men are being prevented from crossing into Poland so that they can stay and fight Russian forces. (Wojciech Grzedzinski for The Washington Post)

Alexander Gorbenko, 54, complained there was little he could do to protect his homeland from Russian troops as he parted with his wife and 11-year-old daughter at the Medyka-Shehyni border crossing to Poland, unable to cross with them.

“I just have an air rifle, the cash machines don’t work, and there is no organization,” he said. “I cannot prepare, you cannot just go and buy a weapon, it’s not like the United States.”

— Loveday Morris

Fire in the capital

Explosions lit up Kyiv’s predawn sky Friday. Social media video showed the blasts as fearful onlookers filmed. The Post verified the videos below and synchronized audio and visual cues to show how the explosions looked from various angles.

Videos show explosions over Kyiv
The Washington Post synchronized multiple videos showing explosions over Kyiv on Feb. 25. (Twitter and Telegram)

A civilian building was heavily damaged after a projectile hit a residential neighborhood in the city, according to Ukrainian officials.

Video shows fire and debris in a Kyiv apartment building

Video posted to social media and verified by The Post shows a small fire and damage to an apartment building in Kyiv in the early morning of Feb. 25. (Telegram)

Several people were injured, including one in critical condition, according to the mayor’s office.

A building damaged, lives destroyed in apparent Russian strike

Scores of civilians were displaced from their homes in Kyiv on Feb. 25 after an unidentified projectile struck just outside their apartment block before dawn. (Whitney Shefte, Joyce Koh/The Washington Post)

Valentina Petrova, one of the building’s residents, examined the damage left behind.

Valentina Petrova inside her Kyiv apartment after it was hit. (Heidi Levine for The Washington Post)

Passersby observed the destruction in shock.

A young person looks at the damage to a residential building in Kyiv on Feb. 25. (Heidi Levine for The Washington Post)
Feb. 24

Daily overview

Scenes of chaos in Kyiv

Russian forces drew nearer to Kyiv on Thursday as military experts warned the capital could fall in days.

The city’s mayor vowed to fight Russian forces.

Some residents tried to leave on buses, fearing what may come next.

Many people bound for Poland try to flee Kyiv, Ukraine, on buses on Feb. 24. (Heidi Lavine for The Washington Post)
Diana Kostro, 18, and Nikolay Sychygov wait to board a bus in Kyiv on Feb. 24 (Heidi Levine for The Washington Post)
The line for buses grows crowded in Kyiv on Feb. 24. (Heidi Levine for The Washington Post)

Protests and arrests in Russia

Protesters in Saint Petersburg, Russia took to the streets to demand an end to the invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. (For The Washington Post)

Thousands of people protested President Vladimir Putin’s attacks on Ukraine in cities across Russia on Thursday, a striking show of anger in a nation where spontaneous mass demonstrations are illegal and protesters can face fines and jail.

Protests in the center of St. Petersburg against the war in Ukraine on Feb. 24. (Photo for The Washington Post)

More than 1,700 people were arrested in at least 47 cities across the nation, according to Russian rights group OVD-Info. The group was declared a foreign agent last year, when Putin launched a sweeping crackdown on activists, rights groups and opposition figures.

Police detain protesters in Moscow on Feb. 24. (Telegram)

The protests came with an outpouring of horror from liberal Russians, social media influencers, athletes, actors, television presenters and others.

— Robyn Dixon


Destruction from the strikes

Video shared to social media on Thursday and verified by The Post shows at least seven aircrafts flying toward plumes of smoke in Hostomel, Ukraine, approximately three miles east of the Antonov International Airport. In the video the sounds of the approaching helicopters build as the people who are filming discuss what they’re seeing.

Video shared on social media Feb. 24 showed helicopters and smoke rising over Hostomel, Ukraine, as Russia began its country-wide attack. (Twitter)

A mix of nearly two dozen attack and transport helicopters assaulted the Hostomel airfield outside Kyiv, the Ukrainian military said.

A resident in Hostomel, Ukraine, northwest of the capital Kyiv shared video of the damage done to his apartment on Feb. 24. (Andriy Tsibulsky via AP)

A resident in Hostomel shared video from his apartment on Thursday showing a room in tatters — a blown-out window, destruction from debris, dust-covered furniture and a baby stroller with a toy doll in it. He said the damage was from Russia’s military attack.

— Joyce Lee, Alex Horton, Elyse Samuels


There were similar scenes of destruction in the south eastern Ukrainian city of Mauripol.

A woman walks past the debris in the aftermath of Russian shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Feb. 24. (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP Photo)
A man walks past a damaged house in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Feb. 24. (Evgeniy Maloletka/ AP Photo)

In Chuhuiv, just outside of Kharkiv, the pain inflicted from the strikes was clear on people’s faces.

A wounded woman stands outside a hospital in Chuhuiv, Ukraine, on Feb. 24. (Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images)

Dispatches: Reporters on the ground

In Ukraine and neighboring Poland, Post reporters witnessed the attack unfold firsthand. Siobhán O’Grady took shelter with other colleagues in a Kyiv hotel basement as Russian forces attacked an air base nearby.

Post reporter takes shelter in Kyiv hotel basement amid Russian strikes

The Post’s Siobhán O’Grady spoke about covering Russia’s military assault on Feb. 24 while taking shelter with colleagues in a hotel basement in Kyiv, Ukraine. (The Washington Post)

Post photojournalist Salwan Georges reported from a Kharkiv subway station, where hundreds were taking shelter from bombardments. Some of the Ukrainians there said their family members were above ground, fighting with the military.

Post photojournalist reports from bomb shelter in Kharkiv subway

The Washington Post’s Salwan Georges reports from Kharkiv, Ukraine where hundreds of civilians are sheltering in a subway station as Russia attacks the country. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post)

And The Post’s Loveday Morris reported from the Ukrainian-Polish border where a steady stream of people were crossing into Poland on foot. U.S. troops inside Poland are moving closer to help process those fleeing.

People stream toward Polish border with Ukraine as Russia attacks country

The Washington Post’s Loveday Morris is at the Ukrainian-Polish border Feb. 24, where a steady stream of people head toward Poland as Russia attacks Ukraine. (Loveday Morris/The Washington Post)
Video: ‘Wake up, the war has started’

In the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, morning light on Feb. 24 brought residents to gas stations to fill up after Russian forces launched military actions. (Whitney Leaming, Lee Powell/The Washington Post)

In the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, residents flocked to gas stations in the morning to fill up. They wanted to be prepared, but not everyone was set on leaving.

“We will stay in Ukraine,” Kristina Nimenko, 18, told The Post. “We will stay at home because we are from Ukraine.”


Ukrainians scramble as Russia attacks

Across the country, Ukrainians faced a new reality on Thursday.

Following a night of explosions in Kharkiv, a family with a 5-month-old baby wondered what they should do next, and where they could go to find safety. (Whitney Leaming, Erin Patrick O’Connor/The Washington Post)

They got in their cars to drive west.

Ukranians flee in cars, buses as Russian attack begins

Ukranians in Kyiv and Kharkiv jammed the highways attempting to leave the area as Russia launched an attack on the country on Feb. 24. (The Washington Post)

But had to avoid Ukrainian carriers in the streets.

Ukrainian amphibious personnel carriers are positioned on the outskirts of Kharkiv as Russian forces advance on the city. (Whitney Leaming/The Washington Post)

They fled to train stations.

A mother and her son wait for trains at the train station in central Kyiv as they try to flee on Feb. 24. (Heidi Levine for The Washington Post)

They took shelter from the strikes in underground subway stations.

‘Nowhere to run’: Ukrainian families crowd into metro stations

Hundreds of people in the eastern city of Kharkiv sheltered inside a subway station on Feb. 24 as Russian troops advanced on the city. (Whitney Leaming, Zoeann Murphy/The Washington Post)

And they looked on as smoke from Russian bombardments rose.

Rising smoke from Russian airstrikes in Kharkiv on Feb. 24. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post)

In a Kharkiv hotel lobby, a boy played the piano as Russian tanks advanced on the city.

Boy playing piano
A young boy plays piano in the lobby of a Kharkiv hotel as Russian troops advance on the city. (Whitney Leaming/The Washington Post)

The attacks continue

By Thursday morning, it became clear the attack was coming from multiple areas. Video published by Ukraine’s border guard showed Russian military vehicles entering the country through Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.

Russian military vehicles enter Ukraine through Crimea

The Ukraine border guard service published a video of Russian military vehicles entering the country on Feb. 24. (Border Service of Ukraine)

In central Ukraine, east of the Dnieper River, explosions near a Ukrainian airfield were documented.

Explosions filmed near Ukraine airfield and bomb depot

A Ukrainian filmed a number of explosions near an airfield and bomb depot in Myrhorod in the center of the country on Feb. 24. (Validated UGC via AP)

Explosions across Ukraine

Post reporter Siobhán O’Grady is in Kyiv and could hear loud explosions in Ukraine’s capital. She sent in this report just after the strikes began.

The Washington Post’s Siobhán O’Grady is in Kyiv as explosions were heard in the capital on Feb. 24. (The Washington Post)

“From central Kyiv, the booms just after 5 a.m. appeared to be relatively far from major urban centers. As dawn begins to break here, traffic appears to be moving relatively normally with plenty of cars driving calmly and no audible sirens or panicked pedestrians,” O’Grady said.

Large explosions could also be seen and heard in Ukraine’s northeastern city of Kharkiv, the country’s second largest after Kyiv.

Explosions heard near Kharkiv after Russia launches military operations
As Russia launched a military assault against Ukraine on Feb. 24, explosions were heard near Kharkiv, in the country’s Northeast. (Whitney Leaming)

Feb. 23
Zelensky’s plea

Just hours before Putin’s declaration, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky pleaded for peace in an emotional video address. Speaking directly to the Russian people, in their language, he warned that the Kremlin had ordered nearly 200,000 troops to enter his country.

“If these forces attack us,” Zelensky warned, “if you attempt to take away our country, our freedom, our lives, the lives of our children, we will defend ourselves. Not attack, defend.”

In an emotional address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Feb. 24 that nearly 200,000 Russian troops are across the border in Russia. (Reuters)

Satellite images: Continued Russian buildup on Ukraine border

On Wednesday, satellite imagery released by Maxar Technologies showed new deployments in western Russia, according to the organization, which has been tracking Moscow’s military movements. Maxar released photos it said showed deployments within 10 miles of the Ukrainian border and less than 50 miles from the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. The satellite image below showed equipment deployed near Kupino, Russia, some 11 miles from Ukraine’s border, according to Maxar.

Maxar satellite image taken and released on Feb. 23 shows additional troops and equipment near Kupino, Russia. (Maxar Technologies)

In Belarus, about 22 miles from Ukraine’s border, an increased Russian presence was also captured. On Feb. 4, the Bolshoy Bokov airfield, near Mazyr, Belarus, was an empty snowy field.

A combination of satellite images from Maxar Technologies shows the Bolshoy Bokov airfield near Mazyr, Belarus, on Feb. 4, top, and Feb. 22, above. (Maxar Technologies/AFP/Getty Images)

By Tuesday, equipment had filled the space.

Russian troops are “ready to go,” Pentagon spokesman John F. Kirby told reporters Wednesday. “They could attack at any time,” he added, “with a significant military force.”


In eastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv, deep worries and defiance

Activists in Kharkiv held a vigil on Feb. 22 to remember Ukraine’s war victims and pray for peace amid a new military escalation by Russia. (Whitney Leaming, Lee Powell/The Washington Post)

Activists in Kharkiv, about 50 miles from where Russian troops amassed, held an annual vigil on Tuesday to remember those killed in Ukraine’s years-long conflict with Russian-backed separatists. But this year’s vigil was just as much a memorial as it was an act of defiance.

“Everyone understands that a war has already been declared,” said Voloymyr Chistilin, one of the organizers of Patriots’ Day in Kharkiv. “And this is a critical, decisive moment.”

But life in Kharkiv looked surprisingly normal even as Ukraine absorbed Putin’s latest moves.

Newlyweds pose for photographs in Kharkiv on Feb. 22. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post)

Newlyweds posed for photos, the downtown mall was bustling, and grocery stores were stocked — as if people don’t want to give Putin the satisfaction of disturbing daily life.

— Isabelle Kurshudyan, Whitney Leaming and Salwan Georges


Feb. 21
Russian troops enter Ukraine

RUSSIA

Belgorod

Valuyki

Kharkiv

LUHANSK

Milove

Strarobilsk

Area held

by Russia-

backed

separatists

Izyum

Lysychansk

UKRAINE

Luhansk

Kramatorsk

Horlivka

Dnipropetrovsk

Shakhty

Donetsk

DONETSK

Zaporizhzhya

Rostov-on-Don

Taganrog

Mariupol

50 MILES

Berdyansk

Melitopol

Yeysk

RUSSIA

THE WASHINGTON POST


On Monday evening, after Putin recognized the legitimacy of the breakaway territories of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine as independent, he ordered what he called “peacekeeping” troops into the region, only parts of which are controlled by pro-Moscow separatists.

Video from Feb. 22 showed military vehicles on the edge of Donetsk, one of two separatist areas in eastern Ukraine that Russia recognized as independent. (Reuters)

The Kremlin said Tuesday that its recognition of the two separatist enclaves covers areas controlled by the Ukrainian government. NATO and Western nations were braced for a full-scale invasion into Ukraine.


Putin’s declaration

Earlier Monday, Putin called a meeting of Russia’s Security Council and grilled members on the merits of recognizing these separatist areas.

Vladimir Putin admonished his head of foreign intelligence during a carefully orchestrated, prerecorded meeting of the Russian Security Council. (The Washington Post)

After that meeting, Putin aired an angry, prerecorded speech that recognized the sovereignty of the regions, where fighting first broke out in 2014, and rejected Ukraine’s legitimacy as an independent nation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized the West and referred to Ukraine as “a colony” in a televised address on Feb. 21. (The Washington Post)

Zelensky later responded to Putin’s speech in a televised address, calling for a “peaceful, diplomatic solution” to the situation. “We are on our land,” he added. “We owe nothing to anybody.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gave a late night, emergency address on Feb. 22, after Russia recognized the two breakaway regions in east Ukraine. (AP)

Feb. 17-21

Daily overview

Shelling and evacuations
Civilians leave the separatist region self-described as the Donetsk People’s Republic on a train traveling from the industrial city of Makiivka, Ukraine, to Rostov in Russia on Feb. 19. (Nanna Heitmann/Magnum Photos for The Washington Post)

Putin’s screed came after a sharp increase in violence in eastern Ukraine over the weekend. Civilians in Ukrainian-controlled parts of the east said they thought their homes were being targeted by separatists to provoke a response from Ukrainian forces. U.S. officials repeatedly warned that Russian troops might stage an attack that appeared to come from Ukrainian government forces to justify an invasion.

“We have no doubt in our minds where this shelling is coming from and who is firing it,” Diana Levenets said, pointing to the hills where the separatist forces are posted. “We can literally see where it’s coming from.”

For civilians in eastern Ukraine, war is already at their doorstep
After years of peace, villagers in Ukraine’s Donbas region are enduring a sharp increase in shelling from separatists and fear a Russian invasion could be next. (Whitney Leaming, Erin Patrick O’Connor, Salwan Georges/The Washington Post)

Meanwhile, leaders of the separatist areas announced a mass evacuation of civilians, saying they knew of plans for an imminent attack by Ukrainian forces. Buses were escorted by the head of police from Donbas to Rostov, a city in southwestern Russia.

Buses with Donbas civilians are escorted by police from the Russia-Ukraine border to the Taganrog terminal in Rostov Oblast, Russia, on Feb. 21. (Arthur Bondar for The Washington Post)
Russian police help civilians evacuated from Donbas in eastern Ukraine board a train in Taganrog, Rostov Oblast, Russia, on Feb. 21. (Arthur Bondar for The Washington Post)

Feb. 17

Daily overview

Shelling increases
A kindergarten classroom in Stanytsia Luhanska, Ukraine, damaged from artillery rounds fired by Russian-backed separatists. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post)

The increase in violence in the east began on Thursday, with shelling from Russian-backed separatists that put civilians in the crossfire.

A Post photographer captured images of a badly damaged kindergarten in Stanytsia Luhanska. No children were harmed, but three adults were injured, according to the Ukrainian military. The kindergarten director describes hustling the children to hide from the shelling in this video.


Context: Uneasy calm on the front lines
Ukrainian soldiers dig a bunker on the front line that separates Ukrainian forces and separatists on Feb. 8 near Novotroitske, Ukraine. (Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post)

Although they have increased in intensity, clashes between Ukrainian soldiers and the Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine are nothing new. More than 3,000 civilians have been killed there since 2014, according to the United Nations.

Despite military aid from Western countries and newly delivered equipment, the 209,000 active-duty Ukrainian fighters face a potential battle against Russia. In the trenches, the soldiers acknowledged the challenges ahead.

“Our defense is our job,” Oleksander, a battalion commander, told The Post. “But whoever helps us, we’ll be grateful for it.” He took The Post into the trenches, where his troops were preparing for a possible Russian assault.

The life of a soldier on Ukraine’s front lines

Follow a battalion commander through the trenches of eastern Ukraine as he prepares his troops for a possible Russian invasion. (Whitney Shefte, Whitney Leaming, Erin Patrick O’Connor/The Washington Post)

 Isabelle Kurshudyan, Whitney Shefte and Michael Robinson Chavez


Feb. 10-20
Military exercises in Belarus

The Washington Post’s Mary Ilyushina observes military drills with Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko on Feb. 17. (Mary Ilyushina, Jason Aldag/The Washington Post)

As tensions escalated in Ukraine’s east, Russia also was conducting military exercises in Moscow-allied Belarus, which is to Ukraine’s north. Belarus’s southern border is about 50 miles from Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital.

Both countries said Russian troops would withdraw when the exercises ended Feb. 20. When that deadline arrived, both announced that Russian forces would stay in Belarus indefinitely.

Russia started the active phase of military drills in Belarus on Feb. 10. (Reuters)

Explainer: Maps that explain the conflict

The strains between Russia and Ukraine involve land borders and strategic influence. Ukraine once was a part of the Soviet Union, a fact that Putin used to question the legitimacy of the country’s independence. He sees Ukraine, which has been an independent nation since 1991, as an integral part of greater Russia.

SWE.

NOR.

FIN.

EST.

LAT.

LITH.

Boundary of former

Soviet Union

Moscow

GER.

POL.

BELARUS

MONGOLIA

MOL.—

KAZAKHSTAN

GEORGIA

KYRGYZ.

ARMENIA—

AZER.

CHINA

TAJIK.

SYRIA

IRAN

AFGH.

IRAQ

INDIA

PAK.

He has demanded that Ukraine not join NATO because such a move would increase the alliance’s footprint on Russia’s borders.

NATO member states

CANADA

Atlantic

Ocean

Alaska

Greenland

U.S.

(DENMARK)

ICELAND

SPAIN

Arctic

Ocean

U.K.

North

Pole

FRANCE

NOR.

GER.

SWE.

Pacific

Ocean

FIN.

POL.

BELARUS

UKRAINE

TURKEY

JAPAN

CHINA

N. KOR.

GEORGIA

MONGOLIA

In 2014, Russian military forces annexed Crimea on the Black Sea, after Ukraine’s Maidan Revolution ousted a pro-Russian government for a Western-leaning one. Putin backed separatists in the eastern industrial regions that are the flash point of the current actions. On Tuesday, forces entered those eastern regions, and Putin called on Ukraine to accept that Crimea is Russian territory, a continuation of his long push to return Ukraine to Russia’s fold.

Percentage of population that identified Russian as their first language

(2001 census, most recent data available)

0

100%

BELARUS

POLAND

RUSSIA

Chernobyl

Lviv

Kyiv

Dnieper

Kharkiv

Luhansk

UKRAINE

Dnipropetrovsk

Donetsk

Separatist-

controlled

area

ROMANIA

100 MILES

Sea of

Azov

Odessa

Crimea

RUSSIA

Sevastopol

Black Sea


Ruby Mellen reported from Washington.

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Bhujan means people of the earth

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You're No.1 Marketplace & Business Solutions.. Tel: +2348034011547

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a perfectly trilingual translator between Russian-English-French in all directions

lifeisprecious358866402.wordpress.com/

Finding, Seeing, Feeling, Appreciating, Capturing and Sharing Life’s Beauty

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A small window which chronicles my exploration in visual arts from circa 2012 to present day.

BEST WEB DESIGNING INSTITUTE

BEST WEB DESIGNING INSTITUTE

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Online Psychology Experiments With Labvanced.com

Online Psychology Experiments With Labvanced.com

Bobbie Kay

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societyissinister.com

societyissinister.com

Tantra Mantra Specialist Astrologer solve your love problems

Tantra Mantra Specialist Astrologer Provide Love back, marriage solution, ex back and other all type of astrology Services

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My website to showcase my creative writings.

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If you don't step over the handlebars at least once during the ride, You weren't riding hard enough...

SRT News

News and Opinion on Public Interest

Daurel's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

BHUJAN

Bhujan means people of the earth

The earth

Great people, places, events, trends, movies, music, life around this great world

New World News

Genuine News At Your Finger Tips

The Fifteenth Factory Art

Indie Psychedelic

FISH4KOZAH

Fish4kozah est un blog. Vous allez trouver ici comme des aquariums et des rivières

Artemis and the Moon

short stories about life

Broken Armchair Psychology

A sum of thoughts some more than others

SHOPPEX NIGERIA

You're No.1 Marketplace & Business Solutions.. Tel: +2348034011547

LOSPROJM

Losprojm is a creator of content, arts and videos.

Entertainment

Saviourojoe

Lynn Hammond

Where books come to life!

Varsha’s World

Random thoughts

Quotes Hub

Quotes Hub 📖 Dictionary of Life

MONTREALEX BLOG

a perfectly trilingual translator between Russian-English-French in all directions

lifeisprecious358866402.wordpress.com/

Finding, Seeing, Feeling, Appreciating, Capturing and Sharing Life’s Beauty

Moë Nicole Murray

A small window which chronicles my exploration in visual arts from circa 2012 to present day.

BEST WEB DESIGNING INSTITUTE

BEST WEB DESIGNING INSTITUTE

Try to get it!

My thoughts.....

Online Psychology Experiments With Labvanced.com

Online Psychology Experiments With Labvanced.com

Bobbie Kay

Better Together

Freelancer Jobs

Remote Jobs

societyissinister.com

societyissinister.com

Tantra Mantra Specialist Astrologer solve your love problems

Tantra Mantra Specialist Astrologer Provide Love back, marriage solution, ex back and other all type of astrology Services

Michael Mike Cully

Portland, OR

CANA

100% Love & Belief

Freeman's Front Porch Musings

My website to showcase my creative writings.

Ominous The Spirit

Learn more about an artist that makes music, paints, and creates photography.

Mediarteducation

Integración de las artes, ciencias y continua evolución.

PrE&Post

Pre&Post

Butterfly Wings

Healing journey through trauma

JANKARI CLUB

YOUR KNOWLEDGE IS OUR DUTY<br><br><br>

You-Guess

If you don't step over the handlebars at least once during the ride, You weren't riding hard enough...

SRT News

News and Opinion on Public Interest

Daurel's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

BHUJAN

Bhujan means people of the earth

The earth

Great people, places, events, trends, movies, music, life around this great world

New World News

Genuine News At Your Finger Tips

The Fifteenth Factory Art

Indie Psychedelic

FISH4KOZAH

Fish4kozah est un blog. Vous allez trouver ici comme des aquariums et des rivières

Artemis and the Moon

short stories about life

Broken Armchair Psychology

A sum of thoughts some more than others

SHOPPEX NIGERIA

You're No.1 Marketplace & Business Solutions.. Tel: +2348034011547

LOSPROJM

Losprojm is a creator of content, arts and videos.

Entertainment

Saviourojoe

Lynn Hammond

Where books come to life!

Varsha’s World

Random thoughts

Quotes Hub

Quotes Hub 📖 Dictionary of Life

MONTREALEX BLOG

a perfectly trilingual translator between Russian-English-French in all directions

lifeisprecious358866402.wordpress.com/

Finding, Seeing, Feeling, Appreciating, Capturing and Sharing Life’s Beauty

Moë Nicole Murray

A small window which chronicles my exploration in visual arts from circa 2012 to present day.

BEST WEB DESIGNING INSTITUTE

BEST WEB DESIGNING INSTITUTE

Try to get it!

My thoughts.....

Online Psychology Experiments With Labvanced.com

Online Psychology Experiments With Labvanced.com

Bobbie Kay

Better Together

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