(Paris) The most important development since the beginning, five weeks ago, of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has already killed hundreds of civilians and driven more than 10 million Ukrainians on the run from their homes.
Posted at 06:49
The beginning of the invasion
On February 24, at dawn, Russian President Vladimir Putin, who according to Washington had gathered more than 150,000 troops around Ukraine, announced a “military operation” to defend the separatist “republics” of Donbass in eastern Ukraine. whose independence he had recognized three days before.
In the morning, Russian land forces enter Ukrainian territory.
The offensive sparked an international outcry.
Putin exercises “deterrent power”
On the 26th, the Russian army received orders to expand its offensive against Ukraine.
The next day, Vladimir Putin announced that he was putting his “deterrent force” into alert, which could include a nuclear component. The White House condemns an “unacceptable” escalation.
The European Union announces the purchase and delivery of arms to Ukraine, the first.
At the same time, the West imposes increasingly stringent economic and financial sanctions on Russia, leading to the collapse of the ruble.
Airspace is closed, big companies are cutting ties with Russia, which is excluded from sporting and cultural events. Russian state media is banned in Europe.
On the 28th, negotiations began between Russia and Ukraine.
Vladimir Putin demands recognition of Crimea as Russian territory, a “neutral status” for Ukraine and its “denazification”. For several months, Moscow has wanted the guarantee that Kiev will never join NATO.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, praised for his courage around the world, urges the EU to integrate its country “without delay”.
Cities under Russian fire
On March 2, Russian airborne troops arrived in Kharkiv (north), the country’s second largest city, close to the border with Russia.
To the south, Kherson, close to Crimea, fell into Russian hands.
The prices of hydrocarbons, wheat and aluminum, of which Russia is a major exporter, are sky-high. The stock markets are shaking.
On the 3rd, the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly for a non-binding resolution calling for an end to the Russian offensive.
Moscow severely punishes the spread of “false information about the army” and blocks access to certain social networks and independent media.
Evacuation of civilians
On the 8th, the evacuation began via “humanitarian corridors” of civilians from the besieged cities of Sumy (northeast) and around Kiev. Other convoys are organized in the following days from Mykolaiv (south) and Mariupol, a strategic port on the Azov Sea.
US President Joe Biden decrees an embargo on Russian gas and oil.
The leaders of the 27 rule out any rapid accession of Ukraine to the EU, while opening the door to closer ties.
“Major war crime” in Mariupol
On the 19th, Moscow claims for the first time to have used a “Kinjal” hypersonic missile to destroy an underground weapons depot.
The EU condemns “a major war crime” in Mariupol, besieged. Tens of thousands of residents who are missing everything are stranded in the ruined city, where a maternity hospital, then a theater, where women and children shelter, were bombed.
“Liberation of the Donbass”
The 24th brings together three summits – NATO, G7 and EU – Western Heads of State and Government in Brussels. The Atlantic Alliance decides to equip Ukraine against the chemical and nuclear threat after announcing the strengthening of its defenses on its eastern flank.
The next day, Moscow announced that it was concentrating on the “liberation of the Donbass,” and appeared to be revising its war goals downward.
On a visit to Warsaw, Joe Biden violently attacks Vladimir Putin, calling him a “butcher” and assessing that he can not “stay in power”.
Ukraine’s “neutrality” on the table
On the 29th, the Russian and Ukrainian negotiators reported on “significant discussions” at the end of a new round of negotiations in Istanbul. In particular, Ukraine proposes to remain neutral if it reaches an “international agreement” guaranteeing its security.
But the day after, the Kremlin shed hope for peace given that the talks had not resulted in anything “very promising”.
Ceasefire in Mariupol
On the 31st, the Ukrainian government sent 45 buses to evacuate civilians from Mariupol, after Moscow announced a ceasefire to allow their departure.