Monday, February 6

Russia’s war in Ukraine: complete guide in maps, video and pictures | Ukraine


What’s the latest?

The Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, with Moscow’s forces having taken the port and train station in the strategically important city of Kherson, on the Black Sea. Russian paratroopers landed in Ukraine’s second city, Kharkiv, at 3am on Wednesday, security chiefs said, after several days of fierce bombardment that killed or wounded dozens of civilians. Kyiv has also come under more heavy shelling as Russian forces step up their offensive and move closer towards the capital in an apparent attempt to encircle it. The strategically important Sea of ​​Azov port city of Mariupol is reportedly surrounded by Russian troops.

Map showing fighting across Ukraine on Wednesday

Russian armored vehicles and soldiers could be seen patrolling Kherson.

Russian armored vehicles and soldiers could be seen patrolling Kherson

A video released by Ukraine’s ministry of emergency situations shows firefighters attempting to put out a blaze at the regional headquarters of the ministry of internal affairs in Kharkiv.

A video released by Ukraine’s ministry of emergency situations shows firefighters attempting to put out a fire in the regional headquarters of the ministry of internal affairs in Kharkiv

Video footage shows wrecked residential buildings with no windows, and fallen trees and power lines, in the aftermath of strikes that killed at least 11 people in Kharkiv.

Video footage shows wrecked residential buildings with no windows, and fallen trees and power lines, in the aftermath of strikes that killed at least 11 people in Kharkiv

What has happened since Russia invaded?

Last Thursday, Russia attacked Ukraine along multiple axes, bringing to a calamitous end weeks of fruitless diplomatic efforts by western leaders to avert war.

Day one map

Fighting and other military activity took place around and on the way to Kyiv.

Russia armored vehicles in north-western Kyiv

A substantial attack was aimed at the eastern city of Kharkiv.

Kharkiv footage

Russian forces also headed north and east from Crimea.

Crimean border crossing
crimea map

On Friday, Russian forces reached the outskirts of Kyiv and carried out an amphibious assault from the Sea of ​​Azov near Mariupol. The shape of the Russian incursion became clearer.

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Russian fronts map

On Saturday, Russian forces in control of territory to the north-west of Kyiv continued their assault on the capital.

Kyiv latest

Elsewhere, heavy fighting was reported in and around Kharkiv and there were Ukrainian counterattacks in some places previously claimed by Russian forces.

Kharkiv on Sunday map

On Monday, Russian rocket attacks killed dozens of people in Kharkiv.

Kharkiv blasts on Monday

Predawn blasts were heard again in Kyiv and in Mariupol, which was surrounded by Russian forces and under heavy attack.

Mariupol on Thursday map

On Tuesday, Russian forces bombarded the government headquarters in Kharkiv, and the armored column continued rolling towards the capital.

How did we get here?

Over the past few months Russia forward-deployed hundreds of tanks, self-propelled artillery and short-range ballistic missiles from as far away as Siberia to within striking range of Ukraine.

Map showing Russian troop deployments

Moscow’s rhetoric grew more belligerent. Vladimir Putin demanded legal guarantees that Ukraine would never join Nato or host its missile strike systems, concessions he was unlikely to receive. A flurry of diplomatic activity did little to ease tensions.

The second half of February was long seen as the most likely period for a potential offensive. Russian soldiers stayed on in Belarus beyond the end of planned military exercises, and the Winter Olympics, hosted by Russia’s ally China, concluded.

The invasion was preceded on 22 February by Putin saying Russia would recognize the territorial claims of self-proclaimed republics in Luhansk and Donetsk. He had already ordered his forces into Russian-controlled territory in Ukraine.

donbas map

What do we know about Russia’s deployments?

Scores of battalion tactical groups – the smallest operational unit in Moscow’s army, consisting of about 800-1,000 troops – were put in place near the borders of Ukraine in Russia and latterly Belarus prior to the invasion. As of 18 February, the US estimated that Russia had between 169,000 and 190,000 personnel in and around Ukraine.

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An estimated 32,000 separatist forces were already operating in the breakaway areas of Donetsk and Luhansk – some of whom were likely to be unacknowledged Russian forces – before the invasion.

Many of the heavy weapons stationed near Ukraine arrived as far back as spring 2021. Over the new year Russia also began to move tanks, artillery, air-defence systems and fighter jets to Belarus for joint exercises in February. That deployment has since grown.

Deployments at Zyabrovka (AKA Pribytki) airfield in Gomel, Belarus, 25km from the border with Ukraine, on 10 February. Photograph: Maxar Technologies/Reuters

These satellite image composites show the buildup of troops in Yelnya and Pogonovo over the new year.

Satellite before and after
Satellite before and after
Satellite before and after

Satellite photographs also show increased deployments in Novoozernoye, in western Crimea.

Satellite before and after

The US estimates that 10,000 troops moved into Crimea in late January and early February.

Satellite images taken on 20 February showed troops and equipment being moved from holding areas to potential launch locations.

Map and satellite images showing deployment of Russian troops

How do the militaries compare?

Russia’s invasion pits the Kremlin’s large, recently modernized military against an adversary largely using older versions of the same or similar equipment, dating back to the Soviet era. Russia has significant numerical advantages on land and in particular in the air and at sea, although Ukrainians are defending their homeland.

armies compared

What is the historical context?

In 2014 Putin sent troops to annex Crimea, a mainly Russian-speaking region of Ukraine. Russia also incited a separatist uprising in Ukraine’s south-east, clandestinely sending soldiers and weapons to provoke a conflict that grew into a full-blown war.

A 2015 peace deal established a line of demarcation and called on both sides to make concessions. Since then low-level fighting has continued along the front, and each side has accused the other of violating the agreement.

history map

Going back further, Russia has long opposed any attempts by Ukraine to move towards the EU and Nato. One of Putin’s often repeated demands is a guarantee that Ukraine never joins Nato, the alliance of 30 countries that has expanded eastwards since the end of the cold war.

born map

What is the role of Nord Stream 2?

On 22 February, the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, stopped the certification process for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in response to Russia’s recognition of the two self-proclaimed republics.

First announced in 2015, the $11bn (£8.3bn) pipeline owned by Russia’s state-backed energy firm Gazprom has been built to carry gas from western Siberia to Lubmin in Germany’s north-east, doubling the existing capacity of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline and keeping 26m German homes warm at an affordable price.

North Stream 2 map

Europe’s most divisive energy project, the route of Nord Stream 2 bypasses the traditional gas transit nation of Ukraine by running along the bed of the Baltic Sea. It faced resistance within the EU, and from the US as well as Ukraine, on the grounds that it increases Europe’s energy dependence on Russia, denies Ukraine transit fees and made it more vulnerable to Russian invasion.


www.theguardian.com

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