Jun 3, 2022 - World
Axios Explains: Ukraine

100 days that rocked the globe

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

100 days, thousands dead, millions displaced, billions in destruction, countless lives touched: Russia's war in Ukraine looks less likely to end today than it did when it began on Feb. 24.

The big picture: With the prospect for meaningful peace talks virtually non-existent, the war appears set to continue for weeks or months longer.

Related: The first 100 days of war in Ukraine could be just the beginning

  • 100 days on, Russia has largely shifted its focus to the eastern Donbas region after failing to capture the capital Kyiv. Moscow is progressing there, albeit slowly, as the West pumps more weapons into Ukraine.

This is how the war has unfolded until today:

Week 1
Feb. 24 — Russia's invasion begins
  • Russian troops move into eastern Ukraine and large explosions are heard in major cities, including Kyiv, moments after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a "special military operation" in Ukraine.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vows to stay in Kyiv and declares martial law.
"This might be the last time you see me alive."
— Zelensky tells EU leaders in a video conference on Day 1 of the invasion
  • Western leaders issue strong condemnation and vow to step up aid to Ukraine. President Biden unveils new sanctions that include sweeping export controls and a freeze on billions of dollars' worth of Russian assets.
"This aggression cannot go unanswered, and if it did, the consequences for America would be much worse. America stands up to bullies. We stand up to freedom."
— President Biden on Day 1 of Russia's invasion
Feb. 25 — West hits Putin directly
Ukrainian women and children after crossing the Slovak-Ukrainian border into Ubla, eastern Slovakia, in late February. Photo: Peter Lazar/AFP via Getty Images
Ukrainian women and children after crossing the Slovak-Ukrainian border into Ubla, eastern Slovakia, in late February. Photo: Peter Lazar/AFP via Getty Images
Feb. 26 — Russian banks cut off
Feb. 27 — Putin puts nuclear deterrent forces on alert
Feb. 28 — Ukraine and Russia holds talks
Satellite image of Russian convoy
Russian convoy north of Kyiv in late February. Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies
March 1 — Russian strike hits Holocaust memorial site
March 2 — ICC opens war crimes probe
  • The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court says he will immediately launch an investigation into allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed in Ukraine.
  • Some 141 countries vote in favor of a UN General Assembly resolution "deploring" Russia's aggression against Ukraine and demanding the immediate and complete withdrawal of all Russian forces from Ukrainian territory.
Data: United Nations; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios
Week 2 — Over 1.5 million displaced
  • March 3: Zelensky says Ukraine is a "nation that broke the enemy's plans in a week."
"I am sure of this: if [the Russians] entered somewhere, it is only temporary. We'll drive them out, with shame ... For us, this is a patriotic war. We remember how patriotic wars begin. And we know how they end for the invaders."
— Zelensky says in a video marking one week since Russia's invasion began
People with children wait to cross the Irpin river near Kyiv as Russian shelling intensifies in and around the capital. Photo: Diego Herrera/Europa Press via Getty Images
People with children wait to cross the Irpin river near Kyiv as Russian shelling intensifies in and around the capital. Photo: Diego Herrera/Europa Press via Getty Images
"We will not be part of subsidizing Putin’s war."
— President Biden on Day 13 of Russia's invasion
Week 3 — Biden calls Putin a "war criminal"
"Ukraine is on fire ... The country is being decimated before the eyes of the world."
— UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Day 19 of the invasion
"I wish for you [Biden] to be the leader of the world. Being the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace.
— Zelensky says in address to Congress on Day 21 of invasion
Week 4 — Shelling of Mariupol intensifies
Civilians trapped in Mariupol under Russian attacks are evacuated in groups under the control of pro-Russian separatists, through other cities on March 20.
Civilians trapped in Mariupol under Russian attacks are evacuated in groups under the control of pro-Russian separatists, through other cities on March 20. Photo: Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Week 5 — Russia announces new phase
Satellite photos of the Mariupol Drama Theater from March 14 and March 19 before and after it was struck by a Russian airstrike. Photos: Maxar Technologies.
Satellite photos of the Mariupol Drama Theater from March 14 and March 19 before and after it was struck by a Russian airstrike. Photos: Maxar Technologies.
  • March 26: Biden says Putin "cannot remain in power" during a speech in front of the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland. The White House, and Biden, later clarify he was not calling for regime change.
  • March 27: Zelensky reiterates calls for the West to provide Ukraine with more planes, tanks and other weaponry.
  • March 28: The mayor of Irpin says Ukrainian forces have retaken control the Kyiv suburb. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, meanwhile, claims Russia would only use nuclear weapons if there's a "threat for existence" to the country.
  • March 29: Russia's defense ministry says it would drastically scale back military operations near Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv in order to "increase mutual trust" for a potential peace deal with Ukraine — though advances in both cities had already stalled. U.S. and British officials cast doubt on the claims.
  • March 30: Biden announces an additional $500 million in direct budgetary aid to Ukraine. Zelensky, meanwhile, says Russia's invasion has reached a "turning point," as Russian forces launch attacks in the Donbas region while bombarding Kyiv and other key cities.
Week 6 — Bucha horrors revealed
A man walks with bags of food for the Ukrainian army in Bucha, northwest of Kyiv, on April 2. Photo: Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP via Getty Images
A man walks with bags of food for the Ukrainian army in Bucha, northwest of Kyiv, on April 2. Photo: Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP via Getty Images
  • April 3: Zelensky denounces what he calls Russia's attempt to eliminate "the whole nation," saying, "this is genocide" after atrocities are reported in Bucha.
  • April 4: Zelensky visits Bucha, and says at least 300 were killed. Separately, Biden says Putin should face a war crimes trial over Bucha.
  • April 5: Sweden, Denmark, Italy and Spain expel Russian diplomats.
  • April 6: The U.S., its G7 allies and the European Union say they are banning new investment in Russia and sanctioning Russia's largest bank, as well as Russian elites including Vladimir Putin's adult daughters.
Week 7 — Biden accuses Russia of committing genocide
Local residents walk past a residential building damaged by the Russian air raids in Borodyanka, Ukraine, on April 7. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Local residents walk past a residential building damaged by the Russian air raids in Borodyanka, Ukraine, on April 7. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images
"Yes, I called it genocide, because it’s become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out even the idea of being Ukrainian, and the evidence is mounting."
— Biden on Day 48 of Russia's invasion
Week 8 - Large-scale Donbas offensive begins
  • April 14: Russia says its Moskva cruiser, the flagship of its Black Sea fleet, has sunk. The Pentagon later says Ukraine sunk the ship.
  • April 15: A Kyiv regional police chief tells reporters that the bodies of more than 900 civilians were found in the region after Russia forces withdrew.
  • April 16: Russian forces launch attacks on Kyiv, western Ukraine and the rest of the country.
"This battle — and it can happen, so there will be several battles and we don't know how long it is going to take — can influence the course of the whole war."
— Zelensky on Day 53 of Russia's invasion
  • April 18: Ukrainian officials say at least seven people were killed and 11 were injured after Russian missile strikes hit Lviv in western Ukraine.
Week 9 — U.S. officials visit Kyiv
Austin and Blinken meet Zelensky in Kyiv on April 24. Photo: Handout/ Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via Getty Images
Austin and Blinken meet Zelensky in Kyiv on April 24. Photo: Handout/ Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via Getty Images
Week 10 — Civilians evacuate Mariupol steel plant
A woman who fled Mariupol reacts as she arrives in a private vehicle at a registration and processing area for internally displaced people in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, on May 2.
A woman who fled Mariupol reacts as she arrives in a private vehicle at a registration and processing area for internally displaced people in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, on May 2. Photo: Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images
"You just can't imagine what we have been through — the terror."
Natalia Usmanova, who evacuated the Mariupol steel plant, tells Reuters.
  • May 3: The first evacuees from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol arrive in the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhzhia after a "harrowing journey."
  • May 4: The European Commission announces plans for a phased ban on all Russian oil by the end of the year.
Week 11 — "Victory Day" escalation fears
  • May 5: UN Secretary-General António Guterres calls the war "senseless in its scope, ruthless in its dimensions and limitless in its potential for global harm." 
"We must continue to do all we can to get people out of these hellscapes,"
— UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Day 71 of the war
  • May 6: Zelensky says Ukraine will only reenter peace talks with Russia if the Kremlin guarantees the restoration of pre-invasion borders and returns thousands of Ukrainians who were forcefully evacuated to Russia.
  • May 7: Ukrainian officials say all women, children and elderly people have been evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol.
  • May 8: The U.S., G7 and European Union agree to impose sweeping new sanctions on Russia ahead of its symbolic Victory Day holiday, including additional export controls and a commitment to phase out Russian oil.
A screen shows Russian President Vladimir Putin giving a speech as servicemen line up on Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in central Moscow on May 9.
A screen shows Russian President Vladimir Putin giving a speech as servicemen line up on Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in central Moscow on May 9. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images
  • May 9: Putin rails against NATO and tries to justify the invasion in a speech marking "Victory Day" in Russia. The day largely passes, however, without the escalation that many Western officials feared.
  • May 10: U.S. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines tells a Senate committee that the U.S. intelligence community assesses Russia is preparing for a "prolonged conflict" in Ukraine that is likely to become "more unpredictable and escalatory" due to a "mismatch" between Putin's ambitions and military capabilities.
  • May 11: Ukraine announces that a soldier accused of killing a civilian will be the first Russian service member to stand trial on war crimes charges since the start of the war
Week 12 - Finland, Sweden apply for NATO membership
  • May 12: The number of refugees who have fled Ukraine since the start of war reaches 6 million, the UN says.
  • May 13: Secretary of Defense Austin calls for an immediate cease-fire in his first call with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu since the invasion began.
  • May 14: G7 countries demand Russia end its "illegal war of aggression" and say they will never recognize altered borders stemming from Russia's invasion in Ukraine.
  • May 15: Secretary of State Blinken meets with NATO allies and senior Ukrainian officials in Berlin.
  • May 16: Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson announces that her government will formally apply to join NATO, paving the way for the Scandinavian country to submit a joint bid this week with its strategic ally and neighbor Finland.
Data: NATO; Map: Thomas Oide/Axios
  • May 17: The ICC announces it has sent 42 experts to Ukraine — its "largest ever" single field deployment — to investigate alleged war crimes.
  • May 18: Finland and Sweden formally apply for NATO membership. (Turkey has voiced opposition to their membership, claiming the Nordic countries are home to Kurdish "terrorist organizations.")
Week 13 — Ukraine rules out territory concessions
"We cannot avoid this meeting with the president of the Russian Federation, but after the atrocities that they committed, I cannot be too excited about such a meeting or meetings with the intermediaries."
— Zelensky tells Axios on Day 90 of the war
Week 14 - Russia makes progress in Donbas
Volunteers carry an old woman injured by the Russian shelling in Severodonetsk.
Volunteers carry a woman injured by the Russian shelling in Severodonetsk. Photo: Rick Mave/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Week 15 - War reaches Day 100
  • June 2: The U.S. Treasury Department unveils news sanctions on targeting the network of individuals and entities that enable Kremlin elites to anonymously use their money abroad and make use of their luxury assets.
  • June 3: The war in Ukraine reaches the 100th day.

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