Ukraine crisis timeline: how Russia's invasion unfolded

Russia again offers to provide humanitarian corridors in Ukraine to enable civilians to leave five cities

Live updates: follow the latest news on Russia-Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin made an announcement in February that turned fears of war into a reality for Ukrainians, sending political, economic and humanitarian reverberations around the world.

Mr Putin recognised the “independence” of Donbas, a largely separatist region in Ukraine comprising what he proclaimed to be the Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic, effectively laying out the pretext for what became a deadly invasion of the former Soviet nation.

Here is a timeline from that announcement until today:

February 22

In a televised address, Mr Putin says he recognises the “independence” of Donetsk and Luhansk and sends Russian troops to act as “peacekeepers” there.

The decision comes after Moscow sent tens of thousands of soldiers to the border with Ukraine as western nations sounded the alarm over an impending Russian attack.

The move prompts the first round of what Nato describes as “massive and unprecedented” sanctions, but few envisage what is to come. These have led to an almost complete freeze on Russia's banking connections with the outside world.

February 24

In a recorded message, Mr Putin announces a “special military operation” in Ukraine and the first round of missiles aimed at targets in Ukrainian cities is launched.

US President Joe Biden begins freezing the US assets of Russian financial institutions and imposes sanctions on four Russian entities, including the Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs, better known as Vnesheconombank, and private lender Promsvyazbank, along with 42 of their subsidiaries.

“These sanctions ensure VEB and PSB can no longer do business in the United States and are cut off from the US financial system,” the US Treasury says.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says 137 Ukrainian civilians and military personnel have been killed during initial fighting.

February 25

Mr Zelenskyy announces martial law and bans military-age men, those between the ages of 18 and 60, from leaving the country.

Nato says it will send an air, land and sea Response Force for defensive purposes, the first time it has announced such a deployment since its long stand-off with the Soviet Union in the Cold War, which ended in 1991.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba accuses Russian forces of attacking a kindergarten and an orphanage.

“We are collecting this and other facts, which we will immediately send to The Hague,” he says on Twitter, referring to the international war crimes court.

February 26

Russia launches cruise missiles at the cities of Sumy, Poltava and Mariupol, Ukrainian officials say.

Russian troops advance towards the capital as Mayor Vitaly Klitschko says a building was struck by Russian artillery.

Ukraine’s military says it repelled an overnight attack on an army base in central Kyiv, an apparent helicopter assault aimed at capturing Hostomel airport.

February 27

In another escalation, Mr Putin announces that he has placed Russia's nuclear deterrent force on alert in response to Nato’s “aggressive” statements.

The move comes after Russia and Ukraine sent delegations to the Belarusian border to start ceasefire negotiations.

In the meantime, several Russian banks are removed from the Swift interbank system, making it harder for Russian companies to do business internationally — by this point the most stringent financial measure taken against Russia by western countries.

The EU bans Russian aircraft from flying over its airspace and agrees to send weapons and equipment to Ukraine — an unprecedented move by the bloc.

“Another taboo has fallen. The taboo that the European Union was not providing arms in a war,” said the EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell.

February 28

Peace talks on the Belarusian border yield no results and the UN estimates that 520,000 Ukrainians have fled the country.

Mr Zelenskyy calls for fast-track membership of the EU “via a new special procedure” after signing an official request to join the 27-member bloc.

“I am sure we deserve this,” he says. “I am sure that all this is possible.”

Analysts say that Russia is preparing a much larger offensive on several fronts within Ukraine but there is debate over whether initial attacks failed or whether they were “probing” attacks to evaluate the strength of enemy positions.

Satellite images from commercial imaging company Maxar show large military convoys approaching Kyiv, some of which are several kilometres long.

Kharkiv, Ukraine's second city and the site of heavy fighting during the Second World War, comes under heavy rocket fire for the first time in more than 77 years.

March 1

In his State of the Union address, Mr Biden says he stands by the Ukrainian people against the Russian president who, he says, will be “met with a wall of strength he never anticipated or imagined”.

He says the US will ban Russian planes from using its airspace.

Mr Biden also says further action will be taken against Russian oligarchs in the US.

“We are coming for your ill-begotten gains,” he tells them.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, calls the Russian president to discuss a path for a peaceful solution to the crisis “in a way that guarantees the interests and national security of all parties”.

The UK issues its first tranche of sanctions against Belarusian military targets who played a role in the invasion.

YouTube says it will block channels linked to Russia’s state-backed RT news network and Sputnik news agency across Europe, effective immediately.

March 2

The UN says that more than a million people have left Ukraine, one of the fastest mass movements of refugees this century.

At the UN, the General Assembly votes overwhelmingly to condemn Russia’s military assault on Ukraine — the latest major diplomatic setback to Mr Putin’s decision to launch an “unprovoked” war in Eastern Europe.

The US launches a task force to pursue “corrupt Russian oligarchs” and those breaching sanctions imposed on Russia.

In Kyiv, Mr Klitschko and his brother Wladimir, both former world heavyweight boxing champions, appear together to call for more support from allies to defend Ukraine against Russia. Meanwhile, heavyweight boxing champion Oleksandr Usyk says he has no fears about signing up to fight.

A Russian military convoy, reportedly dozens of kilometres long and headed for Kyiv, shows no movement in the previous 24 hours but local officials in Ukraine confirm that Russian forces have taken over Kherson city, making it the first urban centre to fall since the Russian invasion began.

In the UAE, Assistant Undersecretary for Consular Affairs Faisal Lutfi says Ukrainian citizens continue to be eligible for visas on arrival.

March 3

Zaporizhzhia, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, comes under attack by Russian forces, causing a fire to break out. The Ukrainian authorities say the fire was put out and the plant is secure.

“According to those responsible for the plant, a training building and a laboratory were affected by the fire,” Oleksandr Starukh, head of the military administration of the Zaporizhzhia region, says on Facebook.

Russia’s military onslaught has claimed the lives of at least 227 civilians, including 15 children, the UN’s human rights chief says, with the real figure expected to be much higher.

The Biden administration announces new sanctions against Russian oligarchs and others in Mr Putin’s inner circle.

“These individuals and their family members will be cut off from the US financial system; their assets in the United States will be frozen and their property will be blocked from use,” the White House says.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman receives phone calls from Mr Putin and Mr Zelenskyy.

The UN scrambles to step up aid operations in Ukraine, as officials expect 10 million people to flee their homes. Four million alone are set to spill across the country’s borders, it says.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel meets Ukrainians looking to come to Britain as she faces pressure to do more to help people escape the war zone.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II makes a donation to the Disasters Emergency Committee's Ukraine appeal.

RT America, the US arm of the Russian-government-controlled TV channel, will shut down and lay off most of its staff after distributors drop the network.

March 4

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant falls under Russian control amid global concern about the risk of environmental disaster created by the shelling of the power station.

Nato leaders hold an extraordinary meeting to discuss the alliance's response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg rejects Ukraine's plea to impose a no-fly zone to halt Russian bombing, citing the danger of widening the conflict.

Mr Zelenskyy criticises the decision in a video released late in the day, saying it amounts to a “green light” for Russian air strikes.

In a sign of Nato's growing links with Nordic countries and concerns about future Russian aggression, non-members Finland and Sweden are invited to the meeting in Brussels.

Russia blocks Facebook and some other websites on Friday, passing a law that gives Moscow much stronger powers to crack down on independent journalism.

Foreign news outlets such as the BBC and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation said they will suspend reporting from inside Russia out of concern for risks to their staff because of the law.

March 5

Russia announces ceasefires around the cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha to allow citizens to leave, in the first formal cessation of hostilities since its troops entered Ukraine. Officials in Mariupol say residents have been without electricity, water and heat since Russian forces surrounded the Sea of Azov port on Thursday.

March 6

The number of refugees fleeing Ukraine is expected to reach 1.5 million as Russia continues its attack. Kyiv presses for further western help, including more sanctions and weapons.

Moscow and Kyiv trade blame over a failed ceasefire that would have allowed civilians to flee Mariupol and Volnovakha. Ukrainians who can escape go to neighbouring Poland, Romania, Slovakia and elsewhere.

Ukrainian negotiators say a third round of talks with Russia on a ceasefire will go ahead, although Moscow is less definitive.

In a televised address, Mr Zelenskyy calls on people in areas occupied by Russian troops to fight.

“We must go outside and drive this evil out of our cities,” he says, vowing to rebuild his nation.

Meanwhile, Mr Biden speaks on the phone with Mr Zelenskyy for about half an hour.

The US is increasing “security, humanitarian and economic assistance to Ukraine, and is working closely with Congress to secure additional funding”, he tells the Ukrainian leader, according to a White House statement.

The US president highlights actions to raise the costs of war to Russia, and welcomes Visa and MasterCard’s moves to stop operations in Russia.

Washington works with Poland and holds discussions with other Nato allies on a plan to have those countries supply warplanes to Ukraine for use against Russian forces, the White House says.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz meets Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in Berlin, Germany, on March 5, 2022. Reuters

Mr Putin repeats that he wants a “demilitarised” and “de-Nazified” neutral Ukraine, likens western sanctions “to a declaration of war”, and says: “Thank God it has not come to that.”

Seeking to mediate, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett meets Mr Putin at the Kremlin and later speaks to Mr Zelenskyy. He also meets German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson issues a six-point plan to respond to the invasion before meetings this week with leaders from Canada, the Netherlands and central Europe in London.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to talk to Mr Putin. Turkey, a Nato member, shares a maritime border with Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea.

March 7

Ukraine says that a Russian proposal on humanitarian corridors is “completely immoral” after Moscow suggests that it will allow people to flee Ukrainian cities, provided they exit to Belarus or Russia.

Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to the Ukrainian president's chief of staff, says each Ukrainian should be allowed to decide where they want to go but advises them against moving to Russia.

He says negotiations are taking place with Russia on establishing humanitarian corridors but that they are unlikely to be set up while Russian forces keep trying to advance.

As many as five million Ukrainians are expected to flee the country if Russia's bombing continues, the EU's Mr Borrell says.

Quote
We will need more schools, more reception centres, more of everything
Josep Borrell, EU foreign policy chief

Russian forces continue their offensive, shelling the city of Mykolaiv, 480 kilometres south of Kyiv, Ukraine’s defence officials say. Rescuers say they are putting out fires in residential areas caused by rocket attacks.

Shelling also continues in the suburbs of Kyiv, including Irpin, which was loses electricity, water and heating for three days.

Women and children wait for transport in Medyka, Poland, after fleeing from Ukraine.  AP

Police in Russia detain more than 4,600 people at nationwide protests against Mr Putin's invasion of Ukraine, according to an independent protest monitoring group. Russia's Ministry of Interior says 3,510 have been detained.

Russia's rouble tumbles to a record low in thin offshore trade.

Russian policemen detain a participant in a rally against the invasion of Ukraine in Moscow. EPA

The US House of Representatives explores a bill that would ban the import of Russian oil and energy products, a move that could add to economic pressure as more companies pull out of the country.

Oil prices rise to just shy of $140 a barrel after the White House says it is considering an embargo on Russian crude imports.

As Russian forces pound Ukrainian cities with rockets despite announcing a ceasefire to allow civilians to flee some areas, lawyers representing Kyiv and Moscow will speak on Monday at the UN's top court in a legal bid to bring the devastating war to an end.

The International Court of Justice is opening two days of hearings at its headquarters, the Peace Palace, into Ukraine’s request for its judges to order Russia to halt its invasion. Ukraine is scheduled to present its arguments on Monday morning, with Russia set to respond on Tuesday.

March 8

The UN says that Ukraine's refugees are expected to top two million as intense fighting continues.

“I do think that we will pass the two million mark today or maybe, at the latest, tomorrow. So, it doesn't stop,” Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, tells reporters in Oslo.

On Monday, the UNHCR puts the number of refugees at more than 1.7 million. Mr Grandi says that it is the first time Europe has reported such a wave since the Second World War.

After several failed attempts, Russia promises to open humanitarian corridors on Tuesday to allow civilians to flee from Ukrainian cities that have come under artillery fire.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. AP

Buses packed with people fleeing the Russian invasion in Ukraine begin a procession along a snowy road out of one city on Tuesday as a new effort to rescue civilians along safe corridors finally begins.

The route out of the eastern city of Sumy is one of five promised by the Russians to offer civilians a way to escape the Russian onslaught.

Earlier on Tuesday, Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk confirms the humanitarian corridor for civilians to flee the city will be organised and a ceasefire will be declared on the route at 9am Kyiv time.

The Russian Defence Ministry also says a ceasefire will be observed from 10am Moscow time and humanitarian corridors will be open from Kyiv, Chernigov, Sumy, Kharkiv, and Mariupol.

Previous attempts to lead civilians to safety amid the biggest ground war in Europe since World War Two have crumbled with renewed attacks.

Fast-food chain McDonald's announces that it will temporarily close all 847 of its restaurants in Russia, including its Pushkin Square location, increasing pressure on other global brands to pause operations in the country.

The closures will carry symbolic importance. When the first McDonald's restaurant opened in Russia, in central Moscow in 1990, it became a symbol of flourishing American capitalism as the Soviet Union fell.

McDonald's says it will continue to pay salaries to its 62,000 employees in Russia. Because of its large size and global reach, the chain is often copied by other brands if it takes a stance on an issue or makes a major operational change.

“If they decide to do something, then probably others will follow,” said international franchise consultant William Edwards.

March 9

Russia again offers to provide humanitarian corridors in Ukraine to enable civilians to leave five cities after several attempts to establish safe exits failed.

Ukrainian officials said Russian shelling made it impossible for people to use the corridors, despite a deal being reached a day earlier.

The Russian military counters the claim, alleging Ukraine only allowed civilians to use one corridor from the city of Sumy and blocked other routes from Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Mariupol.

Russian Col Gen Mikhail Mizintsev says the Russian military has announced it will stop firing to allow people to leave safely via the corridors.

He suggests setting up a hotline between Russia and Ukraine to coordinate the evacuation.

March 10

International leaders join Ukraine in decrying Russia's “barbaric” attack on a children's hospital in the besieged city of Mariupol.

Mr Zelenskyy calls the “direct strike” a “war crime” but Russia's Foreign Ministry accuses Ukrainian “nationalist battalions” of using the hospital to set up firing positions after moving out staff and patients.

In Washington, the House of Representatives votes 414-17 to impose a ban on imports of Russian oil and other energy products. It earlier advanced about $14bn of aid for Ukraine.

The foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine prepare to hold face-to-face talks in Turkey, where Mr Erdogan, who has pushed for Turkey to mediate, has expressed hope the talks can lead to a ceasefire agreement.

March 11

Mr Zelenskyy's office announces that emergency services personnel have been stationed in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro after news of explosions on Friday morning. Three Russian air strikes hit the city close to the a kindergarten and an apartment building. One person is killed.

US President Joe Biden will call for an end to normal trade relations with Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, clearing the way for increased tariffs on Russian imports.

The move comes after the US Senate on Thursday voted to approve legislation providing $1.5 trillion to keep the federal government operating beyond this week and $13.6 billion to help Ukraine.

On the ground, food is running short in the besieged southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, the local Red Cross has warned.

“No electricity, water and gas supply, meaning no means for heating,” said Sasha Volkov, deputy head of the Red Cross delegation in the city. “Some people still have food but I am not sure for how long it will last.”

March 12

Air raid sirens sound in several Ukrainian cities as Russian forces move closer to the capital, Kyiv.

Russian forces are slowly surrounding Kyiv, with Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak calling it a “city under siege”. He tweets that it is “ready to fight”, with checkpoints prepared and supply lines in place.

“Kyiv will stand until the end,” he says.

March 13

Russian forces launch a missile attack on a Ukrainian military installation near the Polish border on Sunday, the westernmost attack of the conflict so far. About 30 rockets are fired at the site, with figures so far suggesting a death toll of 35.

Mr Zelenskyy calls it a “black day” and again urges Nato leaders to establish a no-fly zone over the country, a plea that the West has said could escalate the war to a nuclear confrontation.

Tens of thousands of people rally in cities across Europe on Sunday to protest against Moscow’s war in Ukraine, with small vigils taking place in Russia despite a crackdown by authorities.

March 14

Mr Zelenskyy will address both chambers of the US Congress via video on Wednesday as his nation continues to fend off invading Russian forces, Democrat leaders say.

The EU approves a new set of sanctions on Russia linked to its invasion of Ukraine. Senior US and Chinese officials hold a long meeting in Rome, with the US expressing “deep concerns” during “intense” discussions on Russia's war in Ukraine and other security matters.

Besieged Ukrainians hold out hope on Monday that renewed diplomatic talks with Russia might open the way for more civilians to flee, a day after Moscow escalated its offensive by shelling areas perilously close to the Polish border.

Ukraine’s leader issues a warning that the attacks could expand to neighbouring countries.

The World Bank approves about $200 million in additional and reprogrammed financing to bolster Ukraine’s support for vulnerable people as Russian forces press forwards in the biggest attack on a European state since the Second World War.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres allocates a further $40m to assist Ukraine, where about five million people have been forced to flee their homes.

March 15

Strikes on residential areas in Kyiv kill at least two people early on Tuesday, emergency services say, as Russian troops intensify their attacks on the Ukrainian capital.

Two bodies are pulled from the rubble after a strike on a 16-storey building in Sviatoshynsky district, the emergency service says in a Facebook post. It says 27 people have been rescued from the site.

Another residential building in the Podilsk area also comes under attack.

Mr Zelenskyy says Ukraine should accept that it will not join Nato and that Kyiv is prepared to have security guarantees instead of joining the military alliance.

A plane linked to oligarch Roman Abramovich, the Chelsea football club owner who was placed under sanctions, lands in Moscow after taking off from Istanbul, Flightradar24 data shows.

The jet arrived in Istanbul from Israel on Monday, shortly after he was seen at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport.

March 16

President Biden says the US will send an additional $800m in aid to Ukraine. More than 3 million people have fled the country, with 1.8 million crossing into Poland.

In the besieged southern city of Mariupol, a theatre reportedly sheltering 1,000 to 2,000 civilians is hit during an overnight air strike.

Donetsk Regional Theatre of Drama after being hit during an overnight air strike on Wednesday. Reuters

French prosecutors open a war crimes investigation into the death of Franco-Irish Fox News cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski who was shot near Kyiv while covering the war in Ukraine.

Mr Putin says he will cleanse Russia of the “scum and traitors” he accuses of working covertly for the US and its allies as Mr Biden calls Mr Putin “a war criminal".

March 17

At least 21 people were killed and 25 were injured on Thursday when Russian forces shelled Merefa, a town in eastern Ukraine, local officials said.

Meanwhile, rescuers are hunting for survivors in the rubble of a bombed theatre in the besieged city of Mariupol, according to Ukraine’s ombudswoman Ludmyla Denisova.

Ukrainian firefighters extinguish a blaze at a warehouse after a bombing in Kyiv.  AP

The Kharkiv region has seen heavy bombardment as stalled Russian forces try to advance in the area.

In other developments, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the UAE's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, emphasised the need for a diplomatic solution to the war in Ukraine during a visit to Moscow. He discussed with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov the crisis in Ukraine and the related global food and energy crises.

March 18

A Russian missile attack destroys an army barracks and training centre near the town of Mykolaiv, killing as many as 100 Ukrainian soldiers. Ukrainian forces had been in the process of pushing back Russian advances near the town, regaining control of nearby villages. International military support for Ukraine continued as Slovakia expressed willingness to send S-300 missile defence systems, while the US said it would move Patriot missiles to Slovakia.

March 19

Mr Zelenskyy says that Russia is blocking humanitarian aid to besieged cities including Mariupol, where hundreds of people are trapped beneath rubble in a bombed-out theatre. The port city, which had a prewar population of nearly half a million, is rapidly becoming the epicentre of human suffering in the conflict. Russia later claims to have used a Kinzhal hypersonic missile to attack an arms depot in western Ukraine, the first use of the device that Mr Putin claims can travel at 10 times the speed of sound.

March 20

Russia's call for Ukrainian forces now trapped in Mariupol to surrender is rejected by Mr Zelenskyy. “There can be no question of any surrender, laying down of arms,” he said. Ukraine says more than 7,000 people were moved out the city overnight. Analysts said Russia's advances are still stalled across most of Ukraine, except around Mariupol.

Russia confirms that Anrei Paly, deputy commander of the Black Sea Fleet for military-political affairs, was killed at Mariupol.

March 21

Mr Zelenskyy tells a local news website that Ukrainians will vote in a referendum on any peace deal reached with Russia.

Meanwhile, the UN human rights office, OHCHR, said it had recorded 925 civilians killed and 1,496 injured in Ukraine as of midnight on March 20.

The Pentagon said Russian forces are experiencing “command-and-control” problems and are communicating over unsecured channels as they try to gain momentum in the war in Ukraine, which entered its fourth week.

A resident throws away damaged items as he retrieves what he can from his destroyed apartment in Kyiv.  AFP

March 22

Mr Zelenskyy said Russian forces not only blocked a humanitarian convoy trying to reach besieged Mariupol with desperately needed supplies, but took captive some of the rescue workers and bus drivers. He said the Russians had agreed to the route.

“We are trying to organise stable humanitarian corridors for Mariupol residents, but almost all of our attempts, unfortunately, are foiled by the Russian occupiers, by shelling, or deliberate terror,” Mr Zelenskyy said.

March 23

A total of 4,554 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors, a senior official said, considerably fewer than managed to escape the previous day.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the president's office, said in an online post that 2,912 people had left Mariupol in private vehicles.

March 24

One month after the invasion, western leaders including Mr Biden meet in Brussels for a three-day summit on Russia's invasion. Nato, the G7 and the EU are all holding meetings, in a display of unity rarely seen in the West. It is the first visit by a US president to an EU summit in Brussels.

Washington said that a new sanctions package will be unveiled this week and will include measures to close loopholes in existing embargoes.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to unveil a £25 million financial package for Ukrainian armed forces alongside 6,000 defensive missiles.

March 25

The US and western nations vow to impose new sanctions on Russia.

The US says it will accept 100,000 Ukrainian refugees fleeing their country.

Mr Biden says the US will respond if Russia uses chemical weapons. He says Nato has “never been more united” and that Mr Putin badly miscalculated in his decision to invade Ukraine.

March 26

Mr Johnson holds a “frank and candid” conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping, which lasted an hour, the UK prime minister's office says.

The family of Dmitry Bodyu, a Ukrainian-American clergyman living in the southern city of Melitopol, tells The National that he has been kidnapped by Russian forces.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urges energy producing nations to increase output to curb Russia's ability to “blackmail” nations with its oil and gas wealth.

YouTube removes an account publishing videos of hoax calls with UK Cabinet ministers by impostors reportedly linked to the Kremlin.

President Joe Biden, on a visit to Warsaw, says ending Ukraine war is “the task of our time” and that Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power".

March 27

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken begins a tour to Israel, the West Bank, Morocco and Algeria with Ukraine and the Iran nuclear deal expected to top the agenda.

Mr Blinken clarifies that the US is not pursuing regime change in Russia.

The UK distances itself from Mr Biden's comment on Mr Putin.

British ships deliver military supplies to Nato to bolster security in the Baltic Sea.

March 28

Mr Biden said he was not seeking regime change after comments he made earlier that the Russian President “cannot remain in power".

“I was expressing the moral outrage that I felt towards this man,” he said.

Russian tycoon and Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich and at least two Ukrainian peace negotiators suffered symptoms of poisoning after they attending peace talks earlier this month in Kyiv, The Wall Street Journal reported.

March 29

Ukraine offered Russia a number of proposals for peace including a framework for Ukraine’s neutrality, during talks in Istanbul, although any agreement would need a number of nations to act as “guarantors”, negotiators said.

In response to what the Russians called “constructive talks”, the Russian Defence Ministry said it would scale back its military presence in Ukraine.

March 30

The Russian Defence Ministry announced a local ceasefire to allow civilians to be moved from Ukraine's besieged port city of Mariupol.

Russian forces began to pull out of the defunct Chernobyl nuclear power site after seizing control of the facility on February 24, a senior US defence official said.

Mr Zelenskyy dismissed Russia's pledges to de-escalate fighting, saying his army was getting ready for further fighting in the east.

“We will not give anything away. We will fight for every metre of our territory,” the Ukrainian president said.

March 31

Heavy fighting raged on the outskirts of Kyiv and other zones amid indications the Kremlin was using talk of de-escalation as a cover while regrouping and resupplying its forces in preparation for a stepped-up offensive in eastern Ukraine.

Meanwhile, a convoy of buses headed to Mariupol in another bid to remove people from the besieged port city after the Russian military agreed to a limited ceasefire in the area.

The Red Cross said its teams were en route to Mariupol with relief and medical supplies and hoped to help pull civilians out of the beleaguered city.

Family members, seeking refuge in abandoned apartments of a residential building damaged in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict, gather in a courtyard in Mariupol. Reuters

April 1

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he had signed a decree that foreign buyers must pay in roubles for Russian gas from April 1 and contracts would be halted if these payments were not made.

Meanwhile, the number of people fleeing the war in Ukraine surpassed four million, the UN refugee agency said.

More than half of those escaping the violence have gone to Poland, where 2,362,044 refugees have been registered.

April 2

Senior Ukrainian figures said Russian troops were likely to retreat to southern and eastern strongholds in Ukraine after partially withdrawing from around Kyiv.

They rejected suggestions that the war would develop into a drawn-out conflict like the one in Afghanistan, after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy suggested some western countries were quietly hoping Russia would remain bogged down.

Russia’s announcement that it was scaling back its operations around Kyiv was met with scepticism by western leaders, amid uncertainty over whether troops were really withdrawing or merely regrouping.

A Ukrainian serviceman keeps watch from a tank as his comrades tighten their grip on areas surrounding the capital Kyiv. AP

April 3

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of killing civilians in Bucha, outside Kyiv, where bodies were found on streets after the town was retaken by Ukrainian forces.

Bucha's mayor said 300 residents were killed.

“I want all the leaders of the Russian Federation to see how their orders are being fulfilled,” Mr Zelenskyy said in a televised address, switching from Ukrainian to Russian.

A woman points to a makeshift grave of a man allegedly killed by Russian forces in Bucha, Ukraine, and buried outside homes as people were unable to take him to a cemetery. AP

Russia denied killing civilians in Bucha, which it had controlled since the early days of its invasion.

Ukraine's Defence Ministry said Lithuanian film director Mantas Kvedaravicius was killed in Mariupol, the besieged Ukrainian city whose fate he had documented for many years.

April 4

Britain and the US ratcheted up pressure on Russia for allegedly committing atrocities during its invasion of Ukraine, pushing for Moscow’s removal from the UN’s top human rights body.

Russia has faced global outrage over alleged killing of civilians in north Ukraine, where a mass grave was found in Bucha with victims shot at close range with their hands bound, after the area was cleared of Russian troops. Moscow says the atrocity was staged.

Meanwhile, Former German chancellor Angela Merkel defended her 2008 decision to block Ukraine from immediately joining Nato.

Viktoria Mukhina, 33, (L),  plant tulips near a block of flats damaged during the conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol. Reuters

April 5

The US, in co-ordination with the G7 and EU, will ban “all” new investments in Russia on Wednesday in its latest round of sanctions. The latest punishment has been sparked by alleged evidence of executions and other atrocities by Russian troops against civilians in areas recently abandoned by Russian troops in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen Mark Milley, said the US should build permanent military bases in Eastern Europe. He said countries in the region including Romania, Poland and the Baltics were “very willing” to have the permanent bases.

April 6

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that the situation in the town of Borodyanka was “significantly more dreadful” than in nearby Bucha, where Russian forces are suspected of committing war crimes.

The World Health Organisation said it had confirmed more than 100 attacks on health services in Ukraine, as it called for humanitarian access to the besieged city of Mariupol.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks to an injured Ukrainian service member, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, during a visit to a military hospital in Kyiv, Ukraine April 3, 2022.  Reuters

April 7

The UN General Assembly voted to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council, deepening Moscow’s isolation over the apparent execution of civilians during its invasion of Ukraine.

A total of 93 nations voted to suspend Russia, 24 voted against and 58 abstained.

Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia had sustained “significant losses” in Ukraine, which it invaded on February 24 in what it calls a special military operation.

The board showing the passage of the resolution during a UN General Assembly vote on a draft resolution seeking to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council in New York City on April 7, 2022.  AFP

April 8

Russia said on Friday it was shutting down the local offices of more than a dozen international organisations, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

A missile strike on a packed Ukrainian train station that killed at least 50 people as they tried flee to safer parts of the country was conducted by Russia, the Pentagon said on Friday.

April 9

Russia and Ukraine carried out a prisoner exchange on Saturday, the Russian Human Rights Commissioner Tatiana Moskalkova confirmed.

Russian shelling killed five civilians and wounded five others in two east Ukrainian cities Saturday, the local governor said on Telegram.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson met President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Saturday, an aide to the Ukrainian leader said.

April 10

Russian troops who occupied the Chernobyl nuclear plant stole radioactive matter from research laboratories which could kill them, Ukraine's State agency for managing the exclusion zone said on Sunday.

Moscow's forces seized the defunct power plant on the first day of their invasion of Ukraine on February 24. They occupied the highly radioactive zone for more than a month, before retreating on March 31.

The UN says the number of Ukrainian refugees who have fled the country has exceeded 4.5 million.

April 11

Mr Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a “candid exchange of views” on Ukraine on Monday, with the US leader asking Mr Modi not to accelerate the buying of Russian oil as many nations try to deny Moscow vital energy income.

The International Monetary Fund has set up a special account to allow donors and international organisations a way to send money to Ukraine.

A tank and a military truck of pro-Russian troops drive along a road near burnt-out residential buildings in Mariupol, Ukraine. Reuters

“Donors will benefit from the IMF's tested infrastructure to quickly deliver authenticated payments,” the IMF said.

The mayor of Mariupol said that more than 10,000 civilians have died during the Russian siege of his city and that the death toll could surpass 20,000, with corpses “carpeted through the streets".

April 12

US President Joe Biden on Tuesday said Russia’s war in Ukraine amounted to "genocide".

Ukraine's security services said they had arrested pro-Moscow politician Viktor Medvedchuk, who is Russian President Vladimir Putin's closest and most influential ally in the country.

The mayor of the Mariupol said about 21,000 civilians had been killed in the city since Russia's invasion began, according to the latest estimates.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that peace talks with Ukraine had hit a dead end, pledging that his troops would win.

The US announced plans to overhaul UN rules so that Russia and other permanent UN Security Council members would have to explain why they used their veto powers.

April 13

Ukraine’s economy is expected to shrink by more than 35 per cent this year because of Russia's military offensive, with its fiscal gap expected to reach between $3bn and $10bn a month, the Institute of International Finance said.

US President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced another $800m in military aid for Ukraine, which will include helicopters, armoured personnel carriers and artillery systems.

People have been urged on Twitter to ignore a fake video online with BBC News branding that suggests Ukraine was responsible for a deadly missile attack on its own civilians.

April 14

The flagship of Russia's Black Sea fleet has been seriously damaged and its crew evacuated following an explosion that a Ukrainian official said was the result of a missile strike.

Russian Navy's guided missile cruiser 'Moskva' sails in the Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey, on its way to the Mediterranean Sea, on June 18. Reuters

Russia's Defence Ministry said on Thursday a fire on Moskva missile cruiser caused ammunition to blow up, Interfax news agency reported. It did not say what caused the fire.

April 15

A British man fighting for the Ukrainian army has been taken captive by Russian forces, reports say.

Images on Russian TV appeared to show Aiden Aslin, 28, from Nottinghamshire, being led around in handcuffs with a cut on his forehead.

A still image taken from Russian state TV of Aiden Aslin, a British fighter captured in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol by Russian forces, at an unknown location. Rossiya 1/via Reuters TV

More than 900 civilian bodies have been discovered in and around Kyiv since Russian forces withdrew from the region.

Most had been shot, an indication that many people were “simply executed”, police said.

April 16

Russia banned British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and 12 senior politicians from entering the country in what it described as a set of personal sanctions to retaliate against Britain's support for Ukraine.

In a daily tally of purported Russian losses, Ukraine said 20,100 invading troops had been killed during the seven-week war.

Russia has claimed victory over the urban area of besieged Mariupol, allegedly killing over 4,000 Ukrainian soldiers, Russian defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told the RIA news agency.

“The entire urban area of ​​Mariupol has been completely cleared; remnants of the Ukrainian group are currently completely blockaded on the territory of the Azovstal metallurgical plant,” the ministry said.

April 17

A total of 1,449 people were rescued from Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors on Saturday, fewer than the 2,864 who escaped on Friday, a senior official said.

Ukrainians sheltering in a steel plant in Mariupol ignored a Russian deadline to hand over their arms following a seven-week siege.

Tens of thousands of Catholics gathered in St Peter’s Square on Sunday to attend Easter Mass celebrated by Pope Francis, where he repeated his condemnation for the war in Ukraine.

Pope Francis on his popemobile drives through the crowds of worshippers at the end of the Catholic Easter Sunday mass he led in St.  Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, April 17, 2022.  AP Photo

April 18

Two captured British pro-Ukrainian fighters were shown on Russian state television on Monday and appeared to plead with Prime Minister Boris Johnson to negotiate their release.

Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin addressed the camera to ask the UK to arrange a swap for Kremlin ally Viktor Medvedchuk, who is being detained by Ukraine.

A still image taken from Russian state TV shows Shaun Pinner, a British fighter captured in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol by Russian forces, at an unknown location. Russian state TV channel Rossiya 1/ via Reuters TV

April 19

Greek authorities say they have seized Russian oil tanker, Pegas, in the Aegean Sea as part of EU sanctions imposed against Russia, with 19 Russian crew members on board.

The seized Russian-flagged oil tanker Pegas is seen anchored off the shore of Karystos, on the Island of Evia, Greece, April 19, 2022. Reuters

G7, Nato and EU leaders were holding talks on Tuesday on offering Kyiv more support. The meeting was called by US President Joe Biden and was due to take place against the backdrop of the battle for Donbas.

Russia’s defence ministry said on Tuesday it had opened up a corridor for Ukrainian forces who wanted to take up a Russian offer to lay down their arms and safely leave the Azovstal steel works in the besieged port of Mariupol.

The number of Ukrainian refugees returning to the country has exceeded 700,000, although the outflux of people outweighs the number who have returned.

April 20

Russia told Ukrainian fighters holding out in Mariupol to give up again on Wednesday, in a new deadline to surrender.

Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak said his country is ready to hold a "special round of negotiations" in Mariupol after several Russian ultimatums for surrender had lapsed.

The number of Ukrainian refugees who have fled the Russian assault hit the five-million mark as the war enters its ninth week, UN data indicated on Wednesday.

Children sit in a refugee centre in Nadarzyn, near Warsaw, Poland, on Friday, March 25, 2022.  The UN refugee agency says more than 5 million refugees have fled Ukraine since Russian troops invaded the country. The agency announced the milestone in Europe’s biggest refugee crisis since World War II on Wednesday, April 20, 2022.  AP

April 21

A top ally of President Vladimir Putin said Russian forces will seize the Azovstal steel plant, the last major stronghold of resistance in Mariupol, on Thursday.

Mr Putin ordered his forces to blockade Mariupol “so that a fly cannot pass through".

About 120,000 civilians are blocked from leaving the besieged city of Mariupol, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Thursday.

A general view of the Azovstal plant in Mariupol, in October 2021 (issued 21 April 2022).  Russian President Vladimir Putin on April 21, 2022 ordered his defence minister to blockade the plant where a number of Ukrainian fighters are holding out.  EPA

April 22

About 120,000 civilians are blocked from leaving the besieged city of Mariupol, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Thursday.

New satellite images show apparent mass graves near Mariupol, where local officials have accused Russia of burying up to 9,000 Ukrainian civilians.

Mariupol's city council posted a satellite photo provided by US-based Planet Labs showing what it said was a mass grave 45 metres by 25 metres.

The Australian government has imposed sanctions and travel bans on two daughters of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's daughter, it said on Friday.

April 23

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Saturday that if all went as planned, the removal of civilians from the besieged city of Mariupol would start at noon (0900 GMT).

Russia resumed its assault on the Ukrainian troops in a steel plant in Mariupol, a Ukrainian official said on Saturday. This comes days after Moscow declared victory in the southern port city and said its forces did not need to take the building.

April 24

US President Joe Biden said his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin had "failed to achieve his grand ambitions".

Amin Awad, the UN's Ukraine crisis coordinator, on Sunday called for an "immediate stop" to fighting in Mariupol to allow trapped civilians an escape from the city "today".

"The longer we wait, the more lives will be at risk. They must be allowed to safely evacuate now, today. Tomorrow could be too late," he said.

The US secretaries of state and defence on Sunday night met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the highest-level visit to the country's capital by an American delegation since the start of Russia’s invasion.

April 25

Moscow is investing a fire that broke out on Monday morning at a large fuel depot in Bryansk, Russia, around 150 kilometres from the Ukrainian border.

Russia's Ministry of Emergency Situations said nobody was hurt.

In this photo taken by an anonymous source, smoke and flame are from oil storage facilities hit by fire in Bryansk, Russia, Monday, April 25, 2022.  The Emergencies Ministry said the massive fire at the depot in the city of Bryansk erupted overnight. The oil depot is owned by Transneft-Druzhba, a subsidiary of the Russian state-controlled company Transneft that operates the western-bound Druzhba (Friendship) pipeline carrying crude to Europe, and it wasn't immediately clear if the blaze could affect the deliveries.  Anonymous source via AP

Moscow accused Kyiv of preventing civilians trapped with Ukrainian soldiers in Mariupol's Azovstal steelworks from leaving the besieged industrial centre, despite a ceasefire announcement.

The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor will join an EU investigations team to probe possible international crimes committed in Ukraine, the EU's judicial co-operation agency said on Monday.

Updated: April 26, 2022, 6:49 AM
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