March 2: Kherson has fallen
Low morale
Over one million
Condemnation
March 1: State of the Union
The Ukrainian people
Refusal of service
February 28: No agreement
Heading to the capital
Freefall
Fuel to the fire
February 28: The battle for Kharkiv
Solidarity with Ukraine
Blue and yellow
Unconditional meeting
Not many hopes
February 27:  Nuclear high alert
The EU fights back
Increasingly isolated
'I need ammunition, not a ride'
February 26: Your money's no good here
February 25: The Russians are coming
Left alone
Antiwar protests in Russia
February 24: Enemy at the gate
'Russia alone is responsible'
February 23: State of emergency
Asking for military assistance
Tension in Kyiv
'The beginning of an invasion'
Financial pain
Unanimous agreement
Fears of a refugee crisis
Britain pledges military support
Oligarchy in the UK
Solidarity for a price
February 21: Sending in the troops
'A direct threat to the security of Russia'
Condemnation
Germany cuts the gas
Nord Stream 2
A foretold war
2014: Annexation of Crimea
Donetsk and Luhansk
The Donbas War
2019: Zelensky and NATO
Not quite a membership
East Vs. West
Biden
November 2021: Escalation
Sanction threats
December 2021: Demands
Responses
'Decisively'
January 2022: Diplomats leave, soldiers arrive
Sitting down at the big table
February 5: Gearing up
February 10: Russia and Belarus
February 12: Not seeing things eye to eye
February 16: Looking for a way out
February 20: Evacuation
Imminent
February 21: Looking for a way out
Oil and politics
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March 2: Kherson has fallen

Heavy fighting continues in Ukraine. Russian troops have started an offensive over Kharkiv (pictured), the second-largest urban center in the country. They also have captured the port city of Kherson, near Crimea, with a population of over 280,000 people.

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Low morale

However, The New York Times informs that the invasion has not gone so smoothly. Russian troops have been affected by food and fuel shortages, which has caused discontent among the ranks and forced more than a few soldiers into surrendering.

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Over one million

At the same time, neighboring countries have started to receive displaced Ukrainians fleeing the country. The United Nations reports that the number of refugees has surpassed the one-million mark and could reach to four million if the conflict rages on.

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Condemnation

141 countries have backed a UN resolution condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Russia voted against the measure, supported only by Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea, and Syria. Among the 34 countries that abstained are China, Cuba, Iran, and India.

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March 1: State of the Union

US President Joe Biden dedicated some harsh words against Russian President Vladimir Putin during his State of the Union address of 2022. Biden highlighted his country’s “unwavering resolve that freedom will always triumph over tyranny”.

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The Ukrainian people

“[Vladimir Putin] thought he could roll into Ukraine, and the world would roll over. Instead, he met a wall of strength he never anticipated or imagined: he met the Ukrainian people,” stated the US president during his speech.

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Refusal of service

DW reports that Apple, ExxonMobil, Disney, American Express, and Boeing are some of the latest international companies that cut ties with Russia. According to Investopedia, the country is the 12th largest economy in the world, just behind Canada and South Korea.

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February 28: No agreement

The first round of talks between the governments of Russia and Ukraine on the Belorussian border ended without results.

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Heading to the capital

Russian forces began circling Kyiv, according to Pentagon sources cited by The New York Times.

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Freefall

Meanwhile, the Russian Central Bank imposes emergency measures to deal with the blow of the sanctions. The Russian ruble fell 25% against the US dollar in a single day as the national stock exchange remained close.

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Fuel to the fire

Gas prices in the United States and elsewhere surged as the oil barrel skyrocketed to over 100 US dollars per barrel.

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February 28: The battle for Kharkiv

Russian troops seem to have started to stall after early victories from a quick, sudden invasion. Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city and a major military target, saw heavy fighting over the weekend. The local government claims the control of the city has been fully regained.

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Solidarity with Ukraine

Also during the weekend, people around the globe went out to protest in solidarity with Ukraine.

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Blue and yellow

Landmarks from major European capitals covered themselves in blue and yellow to show their rejection of the Russian invasion.

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Unconditional meeting

Meanwhile, representatives of the Ukrainian and Russian governments have agreed on an unconditional meeting on the Belarusian border.

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Not many hopes

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky didn't sound hopeful about the meeting. “Let them try so that later not a single citizen of Ukraine has any doubt that I, as president, tried to stop the war,” he stated, as quoted by The Guardian.

Photo: Presidency of Ukraine

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February 27: Nuclear high alert

Vladimir Putin put Russia’s nuclear force on high alert, something which was deemed unthinkable not long ago that brings back memories from the Cold War.

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The EU fights back

“For the first time ever, the European Union will finance the purchase and delivery of weapons and other equipment to a country that is under attack,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen declared on Sunday, according to Al Jazeera.

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Increasingly isolated

The European Commission president also pointed out that the EU is considering closing its airspace to Russian aircraft, including private jets.

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'I need ammunition, not a ride'

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky rejected the offer of the US government to evacuate him from Kyiv and claimed he will stay in the country and fight to the end. “I need ammunition, not a ride”, declared Zelensky, as quoted by CNN.

Pictured: Ukrainian volunteers sleep in a bunker in Kyiv.

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February 26: Your money's no good here

The United States and the European Union agree on a set of sanctions that include banning Russian institutions from the SWIFT banking system, effectively cutting off the country’s main banks from the rest of Europe.

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February 25: The Russians are coming

Thousands attempt to leave Ukraine’s capital as Russian troops continue to attack the city. The Guardian reported that the invading troops are 32 kilometers from Kyiv.

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Left alone

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky declared that at least 137 people have died and that his people “have been left alone” to fight against Russia. Still, he insists that he won’t leave the capital.

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Antiwar protests in Russia

Meanwhile, antiwar protests erupt all across Russia, prompting hundreds of arrests. Hundreds take the street to show that not all Russians completely agree with the government’s actions in Ukraine.

Image: Demonstrators in St. Petersburg in an unsanctioned protest on February 24.

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February 24: Enemy at the gate

Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, has authorized the beginning of military operations in Eastern Ukraine. Western media, in the meantime, reported on attacks across the country, including Kyiv.

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'Russia alone is responsible'

The White House didn't take long to react to what many have considered a foretold war. “Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring,” declared US president Joe Biden. “The United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way. The world will hold Russia accountable.”

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February 23: State of emergency

Ukraine declared a national state of emergency, according to The Guardian. The government headed by Volodymyr Zelensky has limited travel, established a curfew, and started evacuating people located in dangerous areas.

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Asking for military assistance

Meanwhile, the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk have formally requested assistance from Russia to combat attacks from the Ukrainian military.

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Tension in Kyiv

The Kremlin, per AP, also began evacuating the Russian embassy in Kyiv, while a wave of cyberattacks has affected several Ukrainian government websites.

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'The beginning of an invasion'

The US government has decried Russia’s latest actions as “the beginning of an invasion” and imposed what have been considered some of the most severe economic sanctions yet.

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Financial pain

“We’ve cut off Russia’s government from Western financing. It can no longer raise money from the West and cannot trade in its new debt on our markets or European markets either,” declared US president Joe Biden, according to Al Jazeera.

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Unanimous agreement

At the same time, the European Union has unanimously agreed to impose sanctions on Russia. Among them is banning visas and freezing the assets of the 351 members that make up the Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament.

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Fears of a refugee crisis

Also, the EU has started to prepare for a possible influx of Ukrainian refugees.

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Britain pledges military support

According to the BBC, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised a “further package of military support to Ukraine”.

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Oligarchy in the UK

Leader of the Opposition, Keir Starmer, retorted that the Conservative government could do more to avoid Russian oligarchs buying property in the UK.

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Solidarity for a price

Elsewhere, countries such as Cuba and Venezuela have stated their solidarity with Russia. Spanish newspaper El País reports that following the statement the Russian parliament extended Cuba’s debt to Moscow til 2027.

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February 21: Sending in the troops

On February 21, 2021, Vladimir Putin recognized the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk, breakaway provinces in eastern Ukraine. Following this, the head of state sent Russian troops in to defend the separatist regions.

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'A direct threat to the security of Russia'

In his statement, as quoted by Al Jazeera, Putin highlighted the historical bond between the two countries. Also, that Ukraine “never had a tradition of real statehood” and claimed that if Ukraine joined NATO, it would be “a direct threat to the security of Russia”.

Image: Soldiers in Donetsk on February 22.

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Condemnation

The European Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom quickly condemned Russia’s actions. US President Joe Biden signed an executive order bringing sanctions to anyone investing in the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.

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Germany cuts the gas

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, meanwhile, halted the approval of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline connecting Russia and Germany.

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Nord Stream 2

DW reports that the gas pipeline has been completed but has not been able to operate without Berlin’s certification.

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A foretold war

Russia’s military operation to defend Donetsk and Luhansk has been considered by many experts a watershed moment in a conflict that has been brewing in the past years.

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2014: Annexation of Crimea

In March 2014, amid social unrest in Ukraine, the Russian Federation invaded and annexed the Crimean Peninsula.

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Donetsk and Luhansk

That same year, the administrative regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, which make up the easternmost part of Ukraine and have a large ethnic Russian population, declared independence from Kyiv.

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The Donbas War

This low-intensity conflict, called the Donbas War, has been raging on for almost a decade.

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2019: Zelensky and NATO

This took a turn in mid-2020. Ukraine, under president Volodymyr Zelensky, joined NATO’s enhanced opportunity partner program. A comedy actor turned politician, Zelensky was elected president in early 2019.

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Not quite a membership

Although the organization stated that being part of the program doesn't mean a nation is pre-selected to be a part of NATO, becoming a member state of the organization has been a priority of Zelensky’s policies.

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East Vs. West

The Kremlin has stated several times that an eastward NATO expansion would be a threat to its influence in the region.

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Biden

Meanwhile, the election of Joe Biden in November 2020 also meant a change in international policy from one of NATO’s biggest partners.

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November 2021: Escalation

Al Jazeera reports that in November 2021, Russian troops could be seen building up on the Ukrainian border. Kyiv claims that Moscow has mobilized over 100,000 soldiers.

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Sanction threats

The Biden Administration retaliated with a threat to impose “sweeping” economic sanctions if Russia invades Ukraine.

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December 2021: Demands

In December 2021, Russia demanded that NATO stop all military activity in Eastern Europe and that the alliance would not accept former Soviet countries as members.

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Responses

NATO responds to Putin by late January, stating that they have an open-door policy and can’t bar Ukraine to join in if they meet the requirements.

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'Decisively'

Around the same time, Biden and Zelensky hold phone conversations. The US president guarantees that his country will “respond decisively” if Russia invades Ukraine.

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January 2022: Diplomats leave, soldiers arrive

The US government, by late January, also removed family members from its embassy staff in Kyiv and ordered 8,500 troops to be ready for deployment.

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Sitting down at the big table

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz traveled to Moscow and Kyiv in late January and early February in an attempt to find a diplomatic exit to the crisis.

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February 5: Gearing up

According to NPR, The US mobilized on February 5 1,000 troops from Germany to Romania and deployed 2,000 more soldiers to Germany and Poland.

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February 10: Russia and Belarus

Russia and its ally Belarus began joint military exercises on February 10, stationing 30,000 troops on Ukraine’s northern border.

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February 12: Not seeing things eye to eye

Biden and Putin held conversations on February 12. The US president highlighted that an invasion would bring human suffering, while the Russian leader reiterated his wish that NATO would compromise to never accept Ukraine.

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February 16: Looking for a way out

France’s Emmanuel Macron and China’s Xi Jinping (pictured) made a call for a political resolution to the conflict on February 16.

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February 20: Evacuation

Al Jazeera reported on February 20 that Russia and Belarus extended military drills at the same time that it began evacuating the civilian population of Donetsk and Luhansk to Russia.

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Imminent

Around the same time, US State Secretary Anthony Blinken met with other foreign ministers from the G7. He argued that Russia is getting ready for an invasion.

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February 21: Looking for a way out

On February 21, Biden and Putin agreed to talk in a summit, brokered by Macron. However, the US government warned that this would only happen if Russia didn’t invade first. With Putin's recognition of the breakaway republics, now, it's hard to say what will happen.

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Oil and politics

Meanwhile, oil prices go up, and the rubble goes down the day after Putin recognizes Donetsk and Luhansk as independent of Ukraine.

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