Timeline: Events leading up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

FILE PHOTO: People take cover as air raid sirens sound in Kyiv
FILE PHOTO: People take cover as air raid sirens sound, near an apartment building damaged by recent shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine February 26, 2022. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich/ File Photo

March 1, 2022

(Reuters) – Russia launched a large-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24. Here’s a timeline of Ukraine’s strained relationship with Moscow since it gained independence in 1991. and events leading up to the current conflict.

1991: Immediately after the fall of the Soviet Union, Ukraine declares its independence from Moscow.

2004: Pro-Russian candidate Viktor Yanukovich is declared president but accused of electoral fraud triggering protests, known as the Orange Revolution, forcing a rerun of the vote. Former pro-Western prime minister, Viktor Yushchenko, was elected president.

2005: Yushchenko comes to power promising to move Ukraine out of the Kremlin’s orbit, towards NATO and the EU.

2008: NATO promises Ukraine to one day join the alliance.

2010: Yanukovich wins the presidential election.

2013: Yanukovich’s government suspends trade and association talks with the EU and chooses to restore economic ties with Moscow, sparking months of protests in Kyiv.

February 2014: Parliament votes to remove Yanukovich after bloodshed in protests. Within days, armed men took over parliament in Ukraine’s Crimea region and raised the Russian flag. Moscow later annexed the territory.

April 2014: Pro-Russian separatists in the eastern Donbass region declare independence. About 15,000 people have been killed since 2014 in skirmishes between the separatists and the Ukrainian army, according to the Kyiv government.

2017: The association agreement between Ukraine and the EU opens up a free market for trade in goods and services, and visa-free travel to the EU for Ukrainians.

2019: Former comic actor Volodymyr Zelenskiy is elected president.

January 2021: Zelenskiy urges US President Joe Biden to allow Ukraine to join NATO. In February, his government froze the assets of opposition leader Viktor Medvedchuk, the Kremlin’s most prominent ally in Ukraine.

Spring 2021: Russia begins massing troops near Ukraine’s border in what it says are exercises.

November 2021: Satellite images taken by Maxar Technologies show Russian forces continuing to build near Ukraine with an estimated soon surpassing 100,000 deployed troops.

December 17, 2021: Russia issues security requirements that include NATO’s withdrawal of troops and weapons from Eastern Europe and a ban on Ukraine’s accession.

January 24, 2022: NATO puts forces on standby and reinforces Eastern Europe with more ships and fighters.

January 26: Washington responds to Russia’s security requests, repeating its commitment to NATO’s “open door” policy while providing a “realistic assessment” of Moscow’s concerns. Two days later, Russia said its request had not been resolved.

February 2022: Amid growing Western concerns that Russia might attack Ukraine, the United States says it will send 3,000 more troops to NATO members Poland and Romania. Washington and its allies have said they will not send troops to Ukraine, but warned of severe economic sanctions if Russian President Vladimir Putin takes military action.

February 21: In a televised address, Putin says that Ukraine is an integral part of Russian history and has a puppet regime governed by foreign powers. Putin ordered the peacekeepers to split into two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, after recognizing the forces as independent.

February 22: The US, UK and their allies sanction Russian parliament members, banks and other assets on Putin’s orders to leave. Germany suspends Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.

February 23: Leaders of the Russian-backed separatists ask for Russia’s help to repel aggression from the Ukrainian army.

February 24: Putin authorizes “special military operations” in Ukraine. Russian forces began missile and artillery attacks, hitting major Ukrainian cities including Kiev.

February 26: Western allies announce new sanctions, including restrictions on Russia’s central bank and expulsion of key banks from the main global payments system.

(Edited by Silvia Aloisi; Edited by Frank Jack Daniel) Timeline: Events leading up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Bobby Allyn

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