Over the weekend, Russian troops achieved one of their alleged war goals and took control of most of the Luhansk region. But Russia’s attacks have changed significantly over the past four and a half months. A chronology of the course of the war.
War has been raging in Ukraine since February 24. In the past 131 days, Russian troops have attacked the country on various targets. On the first weekend in July, the Ukrainian army withdrew from Lysychansk after heavy fighting. This means that the entire Luhansk region is now effectively under Russian control – and from the Kremlin’s point of view, a key war goal has been achieved.
In the neighboring region of Donetsk, fighting continues, especially around the city of Sloviansk. For the first time in almost a week there was an air alert across the country – including the capital Kyiv. Several rockets hit Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine. There were also rocket attacks in Kharkiv and Dnipro in eastern Ukraine. The Russian attack targets have changed significantly in the last months of the war. A chronology of the course of the war:
The Russian troops are primarily attacking military targets across the country. They fight for the cities of Cherson to the south, Kharkiv to the east and Mariupol to the south-east, and are advancing on the capital Kyiv, where they are quickly pushed back by the Ukrainian resistance. Kherson is the first city to fall under Russian control in early March. The port city of Mariupol is completely surrounded.
For the first time it is reported that Russia is also attacking primarily civilian targets. However, the troops hardly made any progress, mostly fighting in the suburbs of Kyiv, Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Mariupol. In the south, Russia conquers individual areas, but no important cities. At the end of March, Russia loses control of Cherson. For the first time since the beginning of the war, the city of Lviv near the Polish border is attacked.
Russia begins withdrawing troops from the north of the country. After the troop withdrawal, numerous dead civilians were found in the Kiev suburb of Bucha. Fighting continues in Mariupol and Kharkiv, among others. The Ukrainian army command expects a major Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine in mid-April. But then Russia intensified its attacks on the capital Kyiv and the city of Lviv to the west. The eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv is under intense shelling and Russia says it has captured the port city of Mariupol. There they besiege the Azovstal steelworks. The port city of Odessa, to the south-west, was also attacked. But the Russians still haven’t made many territorial gains by the end of April.
Political developments and voices on the war
In early May, Russia continued to attack the port cities of Mariupol and Odessa, but without much success. In his May 9 speech, President Vladimir Putin did not speak of a new phase of the war as expected. Nevertheless, it quickly becomes clear that the Russian troops are primarily concentrating on the Donbass. There they achieve some ground gains until mid-May. Among other things, the city of Sieverodonetsk is heavily shelled. Ukraine fears a further advance of the troops.
Severodonetsk and Lysychansk in Donbass remained fiercely contested in early June. In the weeks that followed, Russian efforts focused almost exclusively on these two cities, but the troops made only small territorial gains. At the end of June, the Ukrainian army evacuated Sieverodonetsk, while fighting continued for Lysychansk.