100 days of war in Ukraine – the war so far and what is happening now

Ukraine: Footage appears to show Russian tanks hit by artillery

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Decades of peace in Europe came to an abrupt end on February 24 this year when Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine. The war, which has devastated countless lives and forced millions to flee their homes, is still raging in certain parts of the country. What has happened in Ukraine so far, and what could come next?

Why did Russia invade Ukraine?

Vladimir Putin justified his “special military operation” as he needed to “denazify” Ukraine, claiming Ukraine had incited tensions, Russophobia, and repressing Russian speakers in Ukraine.

His declared aim was to protect people subjected to what he called eight years of bullying and genocide by Ukraine’s government.

The claims of Nazis and genocide in Ukraine are completely unfounded but part of a narrative repeated by Russia for years.

The Kremlin leader also took issue with Ukraine’s longstanding wish to join NATO, not wishing to have a member of the western security alliance effectively on his doorstep.

What has happened so far?

Russia began its conquest with an all out offensive and attempt to capture the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.

Russia began making moves on major cities such as Mariupol in the south and attempting to encircle the capital city.

The Kremlin eventually abandoned this strategy after suffering huge losses and underestimating the strength of the European and US-backed Ukrainian forces.

It emerged soon after soldiers abandoned their posts that horrific crimes had been committed against civilians. The town of Bucha outside Kyiv became famous for being the site of brutal atrocities that shook the world.

On Day 54 of the war, Russia began a new offensive focussing only on the long suffering east of the country, which has been embroiled in a civil war since the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

On Day 82, defenders of the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol finally surrendered, marking a full Russian takeover of the long suffering city.

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What’s happening now?

Ukrainian forces are now thought to be struggling in areas of the east, with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) warning on Friday that Russia controlled 90 percent of the Luhansk oblast in the eastern Donbas region, and looks likely to gain complete control in the next two weeks.

Sievierodonetsk has been marked as Russia’s next strategic target and its forces are battling to encircle the city.

Outside of Ukraine, the war has resulted in a significant shift in international relations and has also had big ramifications on the European public.

So far, some of the world’s harshest sanctions have been implemented against Russia, NATO membership applications from Sweden and Finland, and rising fuel and food prices in countries thousands of miles from the conflict zone.

European powers renewed their commitment to Ukraine on the 100th day of the war.

In a statement marking the 100th day of the war, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the UK remained determined that President Vladimir Putin’s offensive should not succeed.

She said: “He expected the invasion to be over in days, but significantly underestimated the resolve of brave Ukrainians, who have valiantly defended their country,”

“Putin’s invasion has brought death and destruction on a scale not seen in Europe since World War II. This war has huge ramifications for global peace, prosperity and food security. It matters to us all.

“Today is a moment to pay our respects to the thousands of innocent civilians murdered since the invasion, and reaffirm our steadfast support for Ukraine’s heroic defence, to ensure they succeed and Putin fails.”

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