(Reuters) – Russia’s invasion of Ukraine enters its 100th unending day on Friday ahead of fighting that has killed thousands, uprooted millions and reduced cities to rubble.
After abandoning its assault on the capital, Kyiv, Russia continues east and south in the face of mounting sanctions and a fierce Ukrainian counter-offensive reinforced by Western weapons.
Some key events of the conflict so far:
* February 24: Russia invades Ukraine on three fronts in the biggest assault on a European state since World War II. Tens of thousands flee.
* Russian President Vladimir Putin announces a “special military operation” to demilitarize and “denazify” Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy tweets: “Russia has gone down the wrong path, but Ukraine is fighting back.”
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* February 25: Ukrainian forces fight the Russian invaders to the north, east and south. Artillery shells Kyiv and its suburbs.
* March 1: A US official says a mile-long Russian armored column heading for Kyiv is plagued by logistical problems.
* Russia strikes a TV tower in Kyiv and steps up its long-range bombardment of Kharkiv in the northeast and other cities, in what is seen as a change in tactics by Moscow as its hopes of a charge fast on the capital fade.
* March 2: Russian forces begin a siege of the southeastern port of Mariupol, seen as vital to Moscow’s attempts to link the eastern Donbass region with Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula Russia has seized in 2014.
* Russian troops enter the Black Sea port of Kherson, the first major urban center captured.
* One million people have fled Ukraine, according to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).
* March 4: Russian forces seize the nuclear power station of Zaporizhzhia, the largest in Europe. NATO rejects Ukraine’s call for no-fly zones, saying they would worsen the conflict.
* March 8: Civilians flee the northeast city of Sumy in the agreed first successful humanitarian corridor. Two million people have now fled Ukraine, according to the UNHCR. * March 9: Ukraine accuses Russia of bombing a maternity hospital in Mariupol, burying people in the rubble. Russia says Ukrainian fighters occupied the building.
* March 13: Russia expands its war deep into western Ukraine, firing missiles at a base near the border with NATO member Poland.
* March 16: Ukraine accuses Russia of having bombed a theater in Mariupol where hundreds of civilians have taken refuge. Moscow denies it.
* March 25: Moscow signals a shift in focus towards gains in the east, as Ukrainian forces push to retake towns outside Kyiv.
* March 30: More than 4 million people have fled Ukraine, according to UNHCR.
* April 3/4: Ukraine accuses Russia of war crimes after a mass grave and bodies of people shot at close range are found in the recaptured town of Bucha. The Kremlin denies responsibility and says images of bodies were staged.
* April 8: Ukraine accuses Russia of a missile attack on a train station in Kramatorsk that killed at least 52 people trying to flee the impending eastern offensive. Moscow denies any responsibility.
* April 14: The main Russian warship in the Black Sea, the Moskva, sinks after what Ukraine describes as a missile attack. Russia blames ammunition explosion. * April 18: Russia launches what Ukraine describes as the Battle of Donbass, a campaign to seize two provinces and salvage a battlefield victory. * April 21: Putin declares Mariupol “liberated” after nearly two months of siege, but hundreds of defenders resist inside the city’s huge Azovstal steelworks.
* April 25/26: The dissident pro-Russian region of Moldova in Transnistria says explosions hit a ministry and two base stations. He blames neighboring Ukraine. Kyiv accuses Moscow of having organized the attacks in an attempt to widen the conflict.
* April 28: Russia fires two missiles at Kyiv during a visit by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, according to Ukraine. The Kremlin accuses Ukraine of attacking Russian regions near the border.
* May 1: About 100 Ukrainian civilians are evacuated from the ruined Azovstal steel mills in Mariupol, in what the United Nations describes as a “safe passage operation”.
* May 7: As many as 60 people died after a bomb hit a school in the village of Bilohorivka in eastern Ukraine, the regional governor said.
* May 9: Putin urges Russians to fight back in a defiant VE Day speech, but remains silent on plans for an escalation in Ukraine.
* May 10: Ukraine says its forces have recaptured villages north and northeast of Kharkiv in a counter-offensive. * May 12: More than 6 million people have fled Ukraine, according to UNHCR.
* May 14: Ukrainian forces launched a counter-offensive near the eastern Russian-held town of Izium, the local governor said.
* May 18: Finland and Sweden apply to join NATO, a move that would lead to the expansion of the Western military alliance that Putin aimed to prevent.
* May 20: Russia says last Ukrainian fighters who resisted Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol have surrendered. Hours earlier, Zelenskiy said the Ukrainian military had told defenders they could get out and save their lives.
* May 21/22: Russia launches an offensive in Luhansk, one of the two provinces of Donbass, concentrating the attack on the twin cities of Sloviansk and Sievierodonetsk.
* May 23: In the first war crimes trial of the conflict, a court in Kyiv sentences a young Russian tank commander to life in prison for killing an unarmed civilian.
* May 25: Putin signs a decree simplifying the process of acquisition of Russian citizenship and passports by residents of newly captured districts with the aim of strengthening Moscow’s hold on the seized territory.
* May 29: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov describes the “liberation” of Donbass as an “unconditional priority” for Moscow, while Russian forces seem on the verge of seizing the entire Luhansk region after slow but steady gain days.
* May 31: Local authorities say it is no longer possible to evacuate trapped civilians in Sievierodonetsk, where Ukrainian forces are still holding out, but much of the town is under Russian control.
* June 1: Russia criticizes the US decision to supply advanced rocket systems to Ukraine, warning that it could widen the conflict and increase the risk of direct confrontation with Washington. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Ukraine had given assurances that it would not use the systems against targets on Russian territory.
(Compiled by Andrew Heavens and Tomasz Janowski; Editing by Alison Williams)
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