The Ukrainian war in maps: Graphics detail Russian forces movements 

The Ukrainian war in maps: Graphics detail how Russian forces have gained territory – and then been repelled by Zelensky’s forces – over the course of the 42-day conflict

  • Moscow’s forces are regrouping in Belarus and Russia ahead of new, major offensive in pro-separatist Donbas 
  • Mariupol council accused Russians of using mobile crematoriums to remove evidence of potential war crimes
  • Officials estimate death toll in the port city up to tens of thousands and with scenes possibly similar to Bucha
  • Kremlin has pulled all of its forces out of Kyiv and the Ukrainian military have regained control of ‘key terrain’ 
  • MailOnline looks at how Russian forces have gained territory and then lost it over the course of 42day conflict 
  • The advance of Vladimir Putin‘s war machine continues to be halted by a heroic Ukrainian resistance that has seen Moscow completely withdraw from the outskirts of Kyiv after Russian troops failed to gain ground despite relentless shelling and swathes of heavy fighting.   

    Putin was last week forced into a withering face-saving climbdown over the failed march on the capital – that his forces, which have been devastated with more than 20 battalions wiped out since the start of the war, would focus on ‘liberating’ the eastern Donbas region instead of trying to take the capital.   

    Russian forces have also withdrawn from Chernihiv, Konotop, Chernobyl, Sloboda and Lukashivka in recent days after facing a staunch fightback from Kyiv’s troops and volunteers. 

    Moscow’s men are though to be regrouping on Ukraine’s eastern border ahead of a heavy onslaught on the Donbas region and residents in Donetsk and Luhansk have been told to evacuate now ahead of the impending manoeuvre. 

    The besieged southern port city Mariupol, where residents have been trapped without food, water, electricity or heat for more than a month, has continued to hold firm against Moscow’s attacks despite facing continued Russian bombardment and heavy street-to-street fighting.  

    Mykolaiv, Severodonetsk and Kharkiv have continued to come under Russian shelling though Moscow has failed to take control of any of the three cities. Meanwhile Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said today that ‘those who choose war always lose’.  

    His comments come after drone footage emerged showing an obliterated Russian convoy lying along a highway west of Kyiv following an ambush by Zelensky’s troops – a tactic Ukraine has employed to great success across the country to repel Putin’s vast numbers of slow-moving military hardware. 

    As Putin’s invasion enters its 42nd day today, MailOnline takes a look at how Russian forces have gained territory and then been repelled by Ukrainian forces in a heroic fightback.   

    February 24, day one: Putin announces ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine

    Vladimir Putin announces that Russia has launched a ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine, claiming that he only intends to demilitarise rather than occupy the country. 

    Missiles and bombs subsequently rained from the sky, tanks rolled across the border, troops parachuted down on eastern regions and explosions were seen across the country after Putin gave the order for his troops to move in from the north, east and south. 

    Luhansk, Sumy and Chernihiv in the east of Ukraine all came under attack, while tanks battled on the outskirts of Kharkiv after paratroopers dropped in. 

    Blasts were also reported in the west – in Zhytomyr and Lviv, close to the border with Poland. In Kherson, in the south, Ukrainian units had reportedly been routed by Russian tanks rolling out of Crimea, which had arrived at the Dnieper River by mid-morning. 

    Russian forces seized control of Chernobyl nuclear power plant after a ‘fierce’ battle, with the condition of nuclear storage facilities ‘unknown’ – sparking fears of a radiation leak that could cause fallout in Europe.  

    Following the first day of conflict, President Volodymyr Zelensky described Russia as ‘evil’ and said Putin had attacked ‘like a suicidal scoundrel… just as Fascist Germany did in World War II’.

    February 25, day two: Kyiv bombarded as Russian forces take control of Chernobyl

    Kyiv came under bombardment in the early hours of day two of the invasion, with the skies ablaze as Putin’s tanks moved to within 20 miles of the capital. 

    Bridges leading to Kyiv and to Kharkiv, in the east, were destroyed by Ukrainian forces to try and slow the Russian advance. Footage also revealed Russian tanks and armoured vehicles standing in front of the destroyed reactor at Chernobyl. 

    A squad of Chechen special forces ‘hunters’ were said to have been unleashed in Ukraine to detain or kill a set of specific Ukrainian officials. 

    Each soldier was understood to have been given a special ‘deck of cards’ with Ukrainian officials’ photos and descriptions on them, a Moscow Telegram channel with links to the security establishment reported.  

    Ukraine‘s government claimed to have retaken an airport on the outskirts of Kyiv that Russian airborne troops had earlier seized, as President Zelensky ordered compulsory enlistment and banned all men aged 18-60 from leaving the country. 

    February 26, day three: Missile hits block of flats in Kyiv but Russia makes limited progress

    The civilian death toll reached 198 after a devastating missile struck a high-rise apartment block as fighting continued to rage around Kyiv following a barrage of airstrikes on cities and military bases around the country. 

    Russia said it was not willing to negotiate with the Ukrainian government until its military operation is over, despite President Zelensky calling for sit-down talks with Putin.  

    Russia’s military said it seized a strategic airport outside Kyiv, allowing it to quickly build up forces to take the capital. Intense gunfire broke out on a bridge across the Dnieper River dividing eastern and western Kyiv, while another key bridge to the capital was blown away.

    The Ministry of Defence said Russia’s invasion had so far made limited progress and Ukraine retained control of key cities, including the capital. 

    February 27, day four: Russia nuclear forces on alert as troops encounter strong opposition

     Putin says he has placed Moscow’s nuclear forces on a ‘special regime of combat duty’ in response to ‘aggressive statements’ from members of the NATO defence alliance. 

    Russian forces took Berdyansk, a Ukrainian city of 100,000 on the Azov Sea coast, while also making advances toward Kherson, another city in the south of Ukraine. Ukrainian officials claimed to have repelled attacks on the country’s second city Kharkiv.

    Mariupol in southern Ukraine was ‘hanging on’ as Russian forces encountered strong opposition from Ukraine defenders across the country – most notably in Kyiv. 

    Moscow had also so far failed to win full control of airspace, despite advances across the country, with US officials saying they believe the invasion had been more difficult than the Kremlin envisioned.

    February 28, day five: Russia denies shelling residential areas as blasts heard in several cities

    Day five saw an escalation in fighting as supposed peace talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials took place. 

    Blasts were heard in the early hours of day five in several of Ukraine cities including the capital Kyiv, Kharkiv, the country’s second biggest city and Chernihiv, north of the capital, but overall, it was a quiet night on the streets of the capital with an almost two-day curfew lifted . 

    Satellite imagery released by Maxar Technologies depicted a three-mile long convoy of Russian military vehicles lined up on roads leading to Kyiv, thought to be less than 40 miles away. 

    And a 400-strong squad of bloodthirsty mercenaries were reportedly flown in from Africa with orders to kill Zelensky – a notorious private militia linked to a string of rapes, robberies, murders, and alleged war crimes. 

    March 1, day six: Zelensky declares Putin a ‘terrorist’ after 18 killed in Kharkiv rocket strikes

    The war entered a new phase, with Russia’s aim seemingly to surround and besiege cities such as Kharkiv, Kyiv, Mariupol, Sumy and Kherson which have so-far put up fierce resistance – and bomb them into submission.

    Russian forces strike the square in front of a civilian public administration building in Kharkiv, destroying the road outside and blowing the windows out on day six. Missile strikes in the city killed at least 18 civilians and injured dozens more. 

    Explosions erupted around Kyiv’s 1,300ft television tower, just hours after Russia told civilians to evacuate because it was about to begin bombarding ‘strategic’ targets. Ukraine claimed it destroyed an elite group of Chechen fighters that were plotting to assassinate Zelensky. 

    A huge Russian column of military vehicles, stretching for around 40 miles, was pictured around 17 miles from Kyiv. US officials said it appeared to have stalled due to the brave fighting of Ukrainian forces.  

    March 2, day seven: Russia claims to have taken first city as war machine steps up efforts

    Ukraine denied Russian claims that its troops had seized the southern city of Kherson, on the Black Sea, in what would have been the first major city to fall.  

    Heavy shelling of Ukraine’s major cities continued, though, as Russian paratroopers landed in Kharkiv in the early hours following several days of bombardment. Kyiv also came under further bombing as Russian forces stepped up attempts to try and take the capital.

    The port city of Mariupol, another key strategic target, was encircled by Russian troops as Ukrainian forces continue to put up fierce resistance leaving ‘hundreds’ dead. Mayor says they cannot get remove dead bodies from the streets as ‘the shelling does not stop’. 

    Ukrainian emergency services say more than 350 civilians have been killed, though officials also say thousands of Russians have died in the conflict. 

    March 3, day eight: Mariupol bombarded with shelling as huge Russian convoy is halted

    Russian forces claim to be in control of government buildings on Kherson, while Mariupol is also understood to be encircled and under constant shelling.   

    Odessa also prepares for an amphibious assault with strategists believing it is being targeted to cut off Ukraine from the sea and to create a land corridor. 

    About 80 per cent of Russia’s invasion force are now said to be in Ukraine, with as many as 15,000 troops – an entire Russian army division – bearing down on Kyiv.  But the huge convoy outside the capital continues to remain stagnant as it becomes plagues with breakdown issues and Ukrainian attacks.  

    March 4, day nine: Russia seizes Europe’s largest nuclear plant as heavy shelling intensifies

    Russian troops seize Europe’s largest nuclear plant in Zaporizhzhia after heavy shelling caused a large fire. A projectile hit one of its six reactors overnight, causing a fire that was later extinguished. 

    Putin’s forces also intensified their bombing of Mariupol after already taking Kherson, while Russian troops were also said to have entered Mykolayiv and Kharkiv following shelling.  

    Mykolaiv, another port city, also comes under attack from Russian forces as Putin looks to seize control of the Black Sea. 

    March 5, day ten: Ceasefire to allow refugees to flee is broken by shelling after 45 minutes

    A ceasefire is agreed between Russia and Ukraine in Mariupol to allow hundreds of thousands of residents to flee the city for safety. However, shells rain down on the port city just 45 minutes into the ceasefire, leaving residents trapped without electricity or water. 

    Russia’s defence ministry accused Ukrainian ‘nationalists’ of preventing civilians from leaving, RIA news agency reported. But Mariupol’s city council said Russia was not observing the ceasefire. 

    The Kremlin also threatened Britain with ‘tough retaliatory measures’ as Putin said devastating Western sanctions against Russia are verging on a declaration of war, and warned that any country imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine would be considered to have entered the ongoing conflict.

    Thousands of Ukrainian residents marched through the streets of Kherson in defiance of Russian troops. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba claimed Russia has lost more than 10,000 troops since the invasion began.

    March 6, day 11: Mariupol ceasefire interrupted by bombing as Vinnytsia airport is destroyed

    The Kremlin is understood to be recruiting Syrians to fight in Ukraine, US officials say, as Russian advances stall in the continued face of strong resistance. Zelensky also warned that Russian forces are preparing to shell Odessa, much like Mariupol, as the relentless bombing continued.

    A second agreed ceasefire to allow residents to leave Mariupol safely is also again interrupted by Russian shelling after just minutes.

    Heartbreaking footage, taken in Irpin, located on the outskirts of the besieged capital city Kyiv, also confirmed that Russian forces are attacking heavily populated civilian areas where men, women and children are leaving the country. 

    US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken says there is ‘very credible reports’ that Russia has committed war crimes during its invasion of Ukraine – particularly in attacking civilians. 

    Russia is said to have deployed around 95 per cent of its combat forces it had prepared on the Ukrainian border, with Vinnytsia airport totally destroyed by a reported eight Russian missiles on day 11 of the war.  

    March 7, day 12: Russia pummels Ukrainian cities with shelling as Russian war ship struck

    Russia announced yet another ceasefire and a handful of humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to flee Ukraine today ahead of a third round of planned talks.

    The Russian Defence Ministry said a ceasefire would start in the morning, and safe passages would open for civilians from Kyiv, Mariupol, Kharkiv and Sumy. But some of the evacuation routes would funnel civilians toward Russia or its ally Belarus – and hopes were dim that the latest talks would yield breakthroughs.

    Russian forces continued to pummel some Ukrainian cities with rockets even after the new announcement of corridors and fierce fighting continued in some areas, indicating there would be no wider cessation of hostilities. 

    Well into the second week of war, Russia’s plan to quickly overrun the country has been stymied by fierce resistance. Its troops have made significant advances in southern Ukraine and along the coast, but many of its efforts have become stalled.

    A Russian war ship was struck by Ukrainian forces as they continued to defend the port of Odessa from invading troops, according to Ukraine ‘s navy. Video footage appeared to show Ukrainian defence forces, based in Odessa, cheering as they exchanged fire with ships in the Black Sea.

    March 8, day 13: Russia launches ‘psychological combat units’ to influence local population

    Russia masses troops on the north, west and east of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv in preparation for an assault on the city. Ukrainian forces fightback starts in earnest as Kyiv’s troops recapture the city of Chuhuiv and repel an attack by Moscow’s men on Mykolaiv’s airfield. 

    Strikes on civilian areas also continued, with the city of Sumy – in the east – struck by bombs which the local mayor said killed 21 people including two children and left others wounded. Ukraine’s parliament published a photo of a bloodied infant they said was hurt in the attack. 

    Russia again offered to open up ‘humanitarian corridors’ today to allow civilians to flee bombarded cities – but the move was swiftly dismissed by Kyiv, with President Volodymyr Zelensky accusing Moscow of ‘cynicism’. 

    March 9, day 14: ‘New low’ rocket attack destroys maternity hospital in Mariupol

    A maternity hospital in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol is decimated in a ‘direct hit’ by Russian rockets leaving children buried in the rubble. Footage emerges of badly wounded patients and nurses being evacuated from decimated buildings, while pregnant women were carried out on stretchers into a courtyard covered in rubble and littered with huge craters. 

    At least 17 people, including women in labour, were injured in the attack. Days later, an injured pregnant woman and her unborn baby – whose image being stretchered from her Putin-bombed maternity ward became one of the war’s most shocking images – died.   

    Russian forces accused of rounding up 400 activists and taking them hostage after they were caught protesting Moscow’s invasion in Kherson. But Ukrainian counter attacks see Chuhuiv retaken and Moscow’s men repelled from Mykolaiv’s airfield. 

    Fighting continues on the outskirts of the capital Kyiv as Russia continues to mass forces in the north, east and west flanks of the city. Moscow’s men also advance on Sumy in north eastern Ukraine as they try to surround the country’s second biggest city Kharkiv and cut it off. 

    Nuclear safety watchdogs warn of a potential unfolding disaster at Chernobyl after the International Atomic Energy Agency says it has lost touch with the power plant’s systems that monitor nuclear material.  The IAEA also say they have lost contact with the captured Zaporizhzhia power plant.  

    March 10, day 15: Civilians in Mariupol ‘fight over food’ and bury bodies in trenches in siege

    Imprecise Russian missiles fired from a Grad launcher strikes a Physics institute in Kharkiv which houses the Neutron Source nuclear research facility and contains 37 nuclear fuel cells in its core, raising fears of a radiation leak that could spread across Europe. 

    Airstrikes strike the cities of Dnipro, in central Ukraine, Lutsk and Ivano-Frankivsk, in the west, which have largely been spared attacks. The strike on Dnipro hit civilian areas including a shoe factory, killing at least one person. The bombings in Lutsk and Ivano-Frankivsk are thought to have targeted military airports – mirroring attacks in the early days of the war. Two soldiers were killed. 

    Civilians in Mariupol are reported to be fighting over food and burying bodies in trenches before they pile high in the streets amid ‘apocalyptic’ humanitarian conditions after Russian forces laid siege to the southern port city leaving inhabitants without food, water, electricity or heat.  

    March 11, day 16: Russian ‘death convoy’ disperses around Kyiv as battle for capital begins

    Russia’s 40-mile ‘death convoy’ – which had been stuck for two weeks due to fuel and logistical issues – starts to disperse and encircle the city. Moscow’s men take up firing positions and start concealing themselves in civilian areas and forests to prevent attacks. 

    Ukraine’s territorial defence units, charged with protecting the city, were pictured digging trenches and setting up barricades, as mayor Vitali Kitschko says the capital has been turned into a ‘fortress’. A psychiatric hospital and 50 schools were destroyed in shelling in the eastern city of Kharkiv but early warning systems repel an early morning attack in Dnipro.

    Russian rocket attack hits mosque in Mariupol harbouring more than 85 people, mostly Turkish nationals and including 34 children. In nearby Melitopol, Moscow’s men kidnap the mayor after he refused to cooperate with them. 

    March 13, day 18: Russia accuses Ukraine of killing civilians in attack Kyiv says is a ‘false flag’

    Russia accuses Ukraine of killing 23 civilians, including children, in an attack involving cluster munitions in the rebel-held Donetsk oblast in eastern Ukraine on March 14. 

    Kyiv hits back, denying the attack had come from them and claiming the missile was Russian – suggesting Moscow carried out the attack itself as a bloody ‘false flag’ attack intended to justify an attack in retaliation.

    A television tower in the Rivne region in the northwest is destroyed. Explosions rang out overnight around the Russian-occupied Black Sea port of Kherson as the bombardment intensifies in Ukraine’s second largest city  Kharkiv hitting hospitals and civilian infrastructure. 

    Airstrikes in Kyiv target residential buildings and a plan factory while residents in Chernihiv lose heating in shelling. Meanwhile the death toll in Mariupol rises to 2,500 as the strategic port city remains encircled by Russian forces. 

    March 14, day 19: Heavy artillery fired at Odesa as Moscow’s men fail to penetrate capital

    Ukraine’s interior minister warns that a ‘huge amount’ of Russian artillery was fired at Odesa on Ukraine’s south coast overnight. It comes as Russian forces advance northwards from Kherson towards Kryvyi Rih in preparation for an attack on the city. 

    Moscow’s men advance on Kyiv but fails to penetrate the capital’s outskirts while their artillery carries out a sustained bombardment of the city. Putin’s troops attempt to march on Kyiv from Sumy on the eastern border but are met with heavy resistance.  

    March 17, day 22: Lightly-armed Ukrainians fend off Russian battalion, inflicting heavy losses

    Russian airstrikes pound the city of Lviv in the west of Ukraine in the early hours on March 18, as Vladimir Putin increasingly strikes close to NATO-member Poland in his bloody-minded invasion of his ex-Soviet neighbour.

    Andriy Sadovyi, mayor of Lviv, said two Russian missiles launched from the Black Sea – likely by warships – had destroyed an aircraft repair facility and a bus garage close to the airport. Kyiv was also struck in the early hours.

    Russian forces take control of half of Izium but fail to capture key river crossings as Ukraine’s valiant fightback continues with lightly armed soldiers fending off one of Moscow’s battalions and inflicting heavy losses on the invading force. 

    March 18, day 23: Russia claims first use of ‘unstoppable’ Kinzhal hypersonic missile

    Russian forces continue to make steady territorial gains around Mariupol as they start targeting residential areas of the city in attacks. Meanwhile the Kremlin claims its forces have recorded the first successful use of its ‘unstoppable’ Kinzhal hypersonic missiles  on a weapons depot in Deliatyn on March 19. 

    Moscow claims the nuclear capable ‘Kinzhal’- or Dagger – with a range of 1,250 miles is ‘unstoppable’ by current Western weapons. Russia has never before admitted using the high-precision weapon in combat, and state news agency RIA Novosti said it was the first use of the Kinzhal hypersonic weapons during the conflict in Ukraine.

    Ukrainian forces repel Russian operations around Kharkiv, reportedly killing a regimental commander, as Kyiv’s forces launched a string of local counterattacks in the suburbs of the capital, inflicting heavy damage on Moscow’s men hiding the outskirts. 

    Fears of a Russian amphibious assault on Odesa are relieved amid reports Moscow is parceling out elements of its reserve force that would take part in any attack from the sea to help support stalled efforts else in Ukraine.   

    March 20, day 25: Mariupol rejects Russian offer for surrender to allow civilians to escape 

    Russia has also kept up its bombardment of other Ukrainian cities today, hitting the sprawling ‘Retroville’ mall in Kyiv and several apartments in the capital in the early hours – reducing the former to rubble in a blast powerful it pulverised vehicles in its car park and left a massive crater, as well as bodies scattered in the carnage.  

    Kyiv department of the state emergency service said four people had been killed but there were reports as many as six were dead with dozens more missing in the debris. In Sumy, emergency officials said they had contained an ammonia leak at a chemical plant that contaminated wide area on the city’s eastern outskirts forcing everyone within a three mile radius to evacuate.  

    Officials in the Black Sea port Mariupol rejected Russian demands that troops lay down their weapons and surrender in return for letting tens of thousands of civilians trapped in the heavily besieged city leave safely – saying promises of amnesty cannot be trusted and they are determined to fight ‘to the last soldier’. 

    Meanwhile Russian troops open fire on civilian protesters in Kherson and cause multiple injuries. Moscow claims to have used its second Kinzhal hypersonic missile on a fuel depot in Kostyantynivka, central Ukraine. 

    March 21, day 26: Mykolaiv residents refuse to abandon their homes to stop Russian advance

    Residents in Mykolaiv refuse to abandon their homes on March 25 in order to prevent the Russian advance on Odesa, where houses on the outskirts are shelled by Moscow’s warships stationed in the Black Sea – though naval personnel have not yet come onshore as part of a larger assault. 

    Ukrainian forces repel Russian efforts to capture the besieged port city of Mariupol while Kyiv claims Moscow’s men are retreating after failing to advance in the strategic suburb of Makariv, in a move which could stop Vladimir Putin’s forces from surrounding the capital.  

    Ukrainian think tank The Centre for Defence Strategies claimed that Russian troops in the Okhtyrka region of Sumy ‘left the area of operations’ in order to ‘choose desertion to avoid death’ and in Havronshchyna, in the Makariv district, that Russians had stolen cars to drive towards the border with Belarus.  

    March 23, day 28: Volunteers destroy Russian tanks as Moscow warship hit in Black Sea

    Ukraine destroys a huge Russian ship Orsk, a 370ft Russian Alligator-class tank carrier, as it was sitting at anchor in the captured port of Berdyansk on March 26, just days after state media filmed it unloading reinforcements in the south of the country.   

    A Russian tank column is destroyed by Ukrainian troops and volunteers at Voznesensk – pushing Moscow’s forces back 60 miles from the strategically-important town that spans the Bug River. Attacks are also launched on the captured city of Kherson, where Russian troops are ‘repositioning’.  

    Russian troops are also forced to reposition around Mykolaiv after coming under attack by Ukrainian forces, the Pentagon says, while heavy fighting rages in Izyum – hundreds of miles away to the northeast – as Ukraine tries to thwart attempts to surround its armies near the Donbass.

    March 24, day 29: Mariupol city council evacuated as Malynivkia recaptured by Ukraine

    Mariupol city council workers are evacuated and are working from outside the city as Russian forces continue to advance on the centre weeks after laying siege to the strategic southern port town. It comes as Ukrainian forces recapture Malynivka as Kyiv’s soldiers focus on preventing its troops being surrounded in Donbas. 

    Heavy fighting is underway in Izium, where Russian troops are advancing but are yet to take full control of the eastern Ukrainian city by March 27.  

    Ukrainian counterattacks in Mykolaiv defeat the Russian advance on the city and push Moscow’s force back towards Kherson. Similar fighting underway in Kyiv sees Ukrainians forces prevent Russian troops from surrounded the capital and repel Moscow’s advances in the city’s east. 

    March 27, day 32: ‘Significant’ fires break out in Chernobyl nuclear exclusion zone

    Ukraine’s deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk warns Russian forces are ‘militarising’ the exclusion zone around Chernobyl – the site of the world’s worst civil nuclear accident in 1986 – saying that it is ‘completely impossible’ to put out ‘significant fires’ started in the exclusion zone on March 28.  

    A fire at a major oil depot started when two missiles reported within 15 minutes of each other hit Lutsk, Volyn oblast, around 10:30pm on March 27 is brought under control, local authorities confirm. Renewed shelling targets Kharkiv and Kyiv, as Russia withdraws troops from the Ukrainian capital after suffering heavy losses.  

    More than 160,000 civilians remains trapped in the encircled Ukrainian port city of Mariupol as heavy fighting rages in the area. Authorities scramble to organise 26 buses of civilians in an attempted evacuation. 

    March 28, day 33: Russian military slow activity around Chernihiv as troops retreat from Kyiv

    Authorities warn that ‘time is running out’ for residents in Mariupol who have no food or water as heavy fighting continues in the besieged port city’s streets.   

    The Russian military says it will reduce its activity around Chernihiv as troops are seen withdrawing from the capital, Kyiv, after sustaining heavy losses in the suburbs and failing to capture the heart of the city – but Moscow’s men continue to shell Ukraine’s second city Kharkiv. 

    Three Ukrainians are killed and 22 are wounded in Mykolaiv after a Russian missile strike hits a government building as officials streamed into the office. 

    March 29, day 34: Russia continues bombardment of cities despite promise to stop assault

    Ukraine warns of the danger that Russian ammunition could explode at the Chernobyl nuclear plant while frequent explosions are heard 60km in Irpin, a western suburb on the outskirts of Kyiv. 

    Heavy street fighting in the encircled southern port city Mariupol sees Russian forces take half of the city. In Mykolaiv, a strike kills 12 people and injures 33 more, while in Khmelnitsky industrial facilities are hit with Russian rocket attacks overnight.

    Rights groups claim Russia has used banned antipersonnel landmine in Ukraine’s second city, Kharkiv, after Moscow’s pounds nearby Chernihiv ‘all night long’ with air strikes, despite promising to stop the bombardment.  

    March 30, day 35: Red Cross hospital in Mariupol hit as Ukrainian forces regain parts of Kyiv 

    Russians continue to hold positions in the east and west of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, after Moscow announces a limited withdrawal from the suburbs including Irpin, which though recaptured remains disconnected from electricity and water. 

    Moscow’s men continue to bombard Chernihiv in northern Ukraine and Mariupol in the south with strikes hitting a Red Cross warehouse in the port city, stalling efforts to evacuate civilians launched after Russia promised to scale back the offensive.   

    Making the promise, Russia hinted that its forces would instead focus on ‘liberating’ the eastern Donbas region in a potential face-saving climbdown amid Western claims that Putin’s military has been devastated and 20 battalions have been wiped out.   

    March 31, day 36: Ukraine regains Chernobyl and attacks Sloboda, Lukashivka and Kyiv

    Russian troops, who have been subjected to ‘significant doses’ of radiation from digging trenches in the forest of the exclusion zone, leave the heavily contaminated Chernobyl nuclear site and state energy company Energoatom regains control. 

    Ukrainian forces also retake villages Sloboda and Lukashivka, which are primary sites for supply routes, and start counter attacks in the suburbs of Kyiv, despite ongoing Russian missile strikes. 

    Moscow’s men continue to pound Kharkiv, in eastern Ukraine, and Chernihiv, in the north, despite promises from the Kremlin that Russian forces would slow the bombardment.  It comes as the Mayor of Mariupol Vadym Boichenko accused Russian forces of blocking vital humanitarian aid and evacuation routes. 

    April 2, day 38: Fighting reaches Lviv as Ukraine helicopters ‘hit fuel depot in Russia’

    Kyiv’s Mayor Vitali Klitschko said a Russian bombardment of satellite towns near the Ukrainian capital was ongoing early on April 3 as President Zelensky warned that Moscow’s men had moved towards Kharkiv in the country’s east. 

    A Red Cross convoy was on route to the besieged port city Mariupol in another bid to evacuate civilians trapped in the city. Fighting reached Lviv after at least three Russian ballistic missiles struck the western Ukrainian city, resulting in multiple casualties.  

    Meanwhile Moscow hit back at Ukrainian claims, saying that two of Kyiv’s helicopters had struck a fuel depot over the border in Belgorod, causing a huge fire. Ukraine denies responsibility for the attack raising fears the alleged strike could have been a false flag operation by Putin’s men. 

    April 3, day 39: Russian forces withdraw from Kyiv’s suburbs revealing war crimes in Bucha

    Russian forces completely withdraw from the northern suburbs of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on April 4, leaving evidence of war crimes in Bucha. Pictures show dead civilians shot at close range, many with their hands tied behind their backs. 

    Russian airstrikes hit Odessa early in the morning sending up at least three columns of black smoke with flames visible apparently in an industrial area but there were no reported casualties. Rocket strikes also hit Mykolaiv and were blamed on Moscow’s men by the city’s mayor. 

    Heavy fighting was reported in Mariupol in southern Ukraine as Russian forces keep trying to take the besieged port city where thousands of civilians have been trapped since the early days of Putin’s war. 

    April 5, day 41: Ukrainian forces retake ‘key terrain’ around Kyiv as Russian forces retreat

    Ukrainian forces retake ‘key terrain’ around the capital Kyiv on April 5, a day after Russian troops completely retreated from the area and headed north. Putin’s men also continue to retreat in Chernihiv as ‘low level fighting’ continues in the northern region. 

    US intelligence claims Russian forces are withdrawing to refocus the invasion’s attention on Donetsk, a separatist region of eastern Ukraine, which sees increased attacks. Nearby in Rubizhne a nitric acid tank is hit by Russian shelling and locals are warned to stay indoors. 

    Russian forces maintain their stranglehold on Ukraine’s second city Kharkiv with a sustained shelling campaign overnight and sink a civilian ship in the besieged port city of Mariupol after hitting it in a rocket strike. 

    Moscow allegedly uses banned cluster munitions on civilian buildings in the encircled southern city Mykolaiv, killing at least 10 people and wounding 46 in the city centre.   

    April 6th, day 42: Russia ‘shoots down two helicopters carrying military leaders in Mariupol’

    Shells and rockets are landing regularly in the industrial city of Severodonetsk, the easternmost city held by Ukrainian forces on the eastern frontline, as Putin refocuses his brutal campaign in the Donbas after suffering major losses further west.

    Russia says it has shot down two Ukrainian helicopters that were trying to evacuate leaders of the controversial nationalist Azov battalion from besieged Mariupol, adding that Kyiv’s soldiers have refused an offer from Moscow to lay down their arms and leave the city ‘via an agreed route’. 

    Mariupol city council have accused Russians of setting up mobile crematoriums to remove any evidence of potential war crimes. Officials estimate the death toll in the port city is as high as tens of thousands, and the Kremlin is now trying to ‘cover their tracks’ after the international condemnation to the horrific scenes of Bucha where civilian bodies were piled high and buried in mass graves, they said.

    Meanwhile in Luhansk, residents have been ordered to evacuate today as a strike on a humanitarian aid distribution centre killed two and injured five. In Mykolaiv a fuel depot and factory were hit overnight in Russian shelling while Ukrainian forces retook ‘key terrain’ in the northern suburbs of Kyiv.