Today marks six months since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, and there’s still no end to the war in sight.
On February 24, Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops to advance into Ukraine on a “special military operation”, which turned out to become a mass invasion on a scale which Europe has not seen since World War II.
The resulting, devastating conflict has shocked the world, with stories of Ukraine’s war-torn cities dominating headlines and prompting nations across the globe to take action against Vladimir Putin.
Amongst the first to impose sanctions on Russia were the UK, the US and Japan, while countries such as Norway, South Korea and Canada promptly followed suit.
This response resulted in various repercussions, with Russia cutting off its gas supply to Europe and plunging the continent into a cost of living crisis.
Meanwhile, millions of refugees have fled Ukraine, unsure of when they will be able to return to their home country - with many forced to leave family members behind to fight in the war.
As Ukraine continues to courageously defend itself against Russia’s advances and attacks, NationalWorld has taken a look at some of the key moments in the conflict so far.
Here’s what you need to know.
The war begins
Russia launched a full-scale invasion of its neighbour on 24 February with the attack beginning in Ukraine’s eastern territory of Donbas - and expanding into key cities Kharkiv and Mariupol in the next weeks.
President Volodymyr Zelensky declared martial law in Ukraine and officially broke diplomatic ties with Russia, calling on citizens who are prepared to defend their country to come forward.
Putin gave a chilling speech to his citizens, in which he said the day’s actions were an attempt to ensure the “security of Russia”.
He said this was necessary following Nato’s eastward expansion towards the country’s border - and as a response to the fundamental threats which “irresponsible Western politicians created for Russia consistently, rudely and unceremoniously from year to year”.
Ukraine fights back
The invasion did not quite go as planned for Russia, as Ukraine bravely resisted the attack and fought back on an unexpected scale.
In March, President Zelensky announced the country’s refusal to surrender the besieged city of Mariupol.
Days later, Russian troops were forced to retreat after a failed campaign to capture Ukraine’s capital city, Kyiv.
Russia tells a different story
The Kremlin started to recast the purpose of the invasion as the ‘liberation of the Donbas’ in eastern Ukraine.
Stories began to emerge of Russian soldiers arriving in Ukraine with no idea of the reality of the conflict, instead believing they would be welcomed with open arms.
The horrors emerge
Once Russian troops withdrew from Bucha, near Kyiv, images of the civilian massacre left behind were released. These included pictures of countless bodies lying in the streets.
President Zelensky accused Russia of genocide and war crimes, while Russia denied involvement and claimed the killings were ‘staged’ and ‘fake’.
In April, Finland and Sweden both discussed joining Nato, and Russia reportedly moved military equipment to its border with Finland.
Former Russia President Dmitry Medvedev said there would be “no more talk of a nuclear free Baltic, as the balance must be restored.”
He added: “If our hand is forced, well… take note it wasn’t us who proposed this.”
Russia tested a new missile capable of reaching the UK and the US, and Putin vowed to use nuclear weapons against countries that interfere in the war in a chilling warning to the west.
At this point, the UK, the US, Canada, Germany and Poland had provided the most military support to Ukraine.
Ukraine wins Eurovision
President Zelensky said the country will host the contest in 2023, with frontman Oleh Psiuk saying it will be held in a “newly rebuilt and happy Ukraine”.
A couple months later, Ukraine announced it would not be able to host the competition - and the UK will be holding the event in its place.
Triumphs and defeats
Just after Eurovision, it is reported that Russia may have lost a third of its troops in Ukraine as the invasion is held back in the face of stiff resistance.
The UK’s Ministry of Defence said Russia had “lost momentum” and was “significantly behind schedule”.
But days later soldiers at Azovstal Steelworks in Mariupol were forced to surrender, with Russia taking control.
The war reached its one hundredth day, and President Zelensky revealed that Russian forces have seized a fifth of Ukraine since the invasion began.
More EU support
The European Union announced in June its sixth package of sanctions, “in light of Russia’s continuing war of aggression against Ukraine, Belarus’ support for it, and the reported atrocities committed by the Russian armed forces.”
The European Council also granted EU candidate status to Ukraine.
Zelensky sacks top officials
In July, President Zelensky dismissed two top officials, Prosecutor-General Iryna Venediktova and Security Service chief Ivan Bakanov, after allegations they were “working against our state”.
He also announced in a video address July 18 that a “personnel audit” of Ukraine’s security service was underway.
Russian troops accused of torture
Soldiers who were taken prisoner after the battle for Mariupol, and recently released as part of a prisoner exchange, have accused Russia of torture during their captivity.
Reporters were told of how soldiers were beaten until their bones were broken.
Ukraine blamed for murder of Darya Dugina
One of the most recent developments in the war has been the murder of Darya Dugina, the daughter of an ultra-nationalist Russian ideologue.
Russia’s FSB security service has blamed Ukrainian intelligence agents for the suspected car bomb that killed the journalist, while Ukraine has denied involvement in her death.
There is widespread speculation that the bomb might have been intended for her father - the pro-Kremlin, ultra-nationalist thinker Alexander Dugin.
What is happening with Russia’s war on Ukraine now- current state of play?
After failing to take Kyiv, Russian forces have been focusing on southern and eastern Ukraine.
The port city of Mariupol and cities Kherson and Severodonetsk are under Russian control after Ukrainian forces surrendered following several months of fighting.
Thus far, an “unprecedented” package of sanctions has been imposed on Russia by the US, EU, UK and other allies around the world, and Nato has moved to strengthen the defence of eastern Europe with the deployment of additional ships, fighter aircraft and troops to the region.
Ukraine has said that nearly 9,000 of its soldiers have died in the conflict, while around 6.7 million refugees have been recorded across Europe.
Today - as well as being six months on from the start of the invasion - marks Ukraine’s Independence Day.