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Russian invasion of Ukraine: Timeline

Timeline of Ukraine History

9th Century - Founding of Kievan Rus, the first major Eastern Slavonic state.

10th Century - Rurik dynasty established, and the rule of Prince Vladimir the Great (Prince Volodymyr in Ukrainian) heralds the start of a golden age.  in 988 he accepts Orthodox Christianity and begins the conversion of Kievan Rus, thus setting the course for Christianity in the east.

11th Century - Kievan Rus reaches its peak under Yaroslav the Wise (grand prince 1019-1054), with Kyiv becoming Eastern Europe's chief political and cultural center. 

1237-40 - Mongols invade the Rus principalities, destroying many cities and ending Kievan Rus' power.  The Tatars, as the Mongol invaders became known, establish the empire of the Golden Horde. 

1349-1430 - Poland and later the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth gradually annex most of what is now western and northern Ukraine. 

1441 - Crimean Khanate breaks free of the Golden Horde and conquers most of modern southern Ukraine. 

1596 - Poland establishes Greek-Catholic or Uniate Church, in union with Rome, which comes to predominate in western Ukraine.  The rest of Ukraine remains overwhelmingly Orthodox.

1648-1657 - Cossack uprising against Polish rule establishes Hetmanate, regarded in Ukraine as the forerunner of the modern independent state. 

1654 - Treaty of Pereyaslavl begins the processing of transforming Hetmanate into a vassal of Russia.

1686 - Treaty of Eternal Peace between Russia and Poland ends 37 years of war with the Ottoman Empire in what is now Ukraine, and partitions the Hetmanate. 

1708-09 - Mazepa uprising attempts to free the eastern Hetmanate from Russian rule, during the prolonged Great Northern War that ranged Russia against Poland and Sweden at the time. 

1764 - Russia abolishes the eastern Hetmanate and establishes the Little Russia governorate as a transitional entity until the full annexation of the territory in 1781. 

1772-1795 - Most of western Ukraine is absorbed into the Russian Empire through the partitions of Poland. 

1783 - Russia takes over southern Ukraine through the annexation of Crimean Khanate. 

19th Century - National cultural reawakening sees the development of Ukrainian literature, education, and historical research.  Habsburg-run Galicia acquired during the partitions of Poland, becomes a center for Ukrainian political and cultural activity, as Russia bans the use of the Ukrainian language on its own territory. 

1917 - Central Rada council set up in Kyiv following collapse of the Russian Empire.

1918 - Ukraine declares independence.  Numerous rival governments via for control for some or all of Ukraine during ensuing civil war.

1921 - Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic established when Russian Red Army conquers two-thirds of Ukraine.  Western third becomes part of Poland. 

1920s - The Soviet government encourages Ukrainian language and culture within strict political bounds, although the process is reversed in the 1930s.

1922 - Russia and Ukraine become two of the founding members of the Soviet Union. 

1932 - Millions die, mainly ethnic Ukrainians, in a man-made famine during Stalin's collectivization campaign, known in Ukraine as the Holodomor. 

1939 - Western Ukraine is annexed by the Soviet Union under the terms of the Nazi-Soviet Pact. 

1941 - Ukraine suffers terrible wartime devastation as Nazis occupy the country until 1944.  More than five million Ukrainians die fighting Nazi Germany.  Most of Ukraine's 1.5 million Jews are killed by the Nazis.  

1944 - Stalin deports 200,000 Crimean Tatars to Siberia and Central Asia following false accusations of collaboration with Nazi Germany.

1954 - Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev transfers the Crimean peninsula to Ukraine.  Armed resistance to Soviet rule ends with the capture of the last commander of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. 

1960s - Increase in covert opposition to Soviet rule, leading to repression of dissidents in 1972. 

1986 - A reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power station explodes, sending a radioactive plume across Europe.  Desperate efforts are made to contain the damaged reactor within a huge concrete cover. 

1990 - January - more than 400,000 people join hands in a human chain stretching some 400 miles from the western city of Ivan-Frankivsk to Kyiv, many waving the blue and yellow Ukrainian flag which had been banned under Soviet rule. 

1990 - July 16 - The Rada, the new Ukrainian parliament formed out of the previous Soviet legislature, votes to declare independence from the Soviet Union.  Authorities recall Ukrainian soldiers from other parts of the USSR and vote to shut down the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in northern Ukraine. 

1991 - August 24 - Ukraine declares independence, a second time, following attempted coup in Moscow.  This date is still celebrated as Ukraine's official Independence Day. 

1991 - December - Ukrainians vote to make their independence official when they approve the declaration by a landslide 92% of votes in favor.  The Soviet Union officially dissolves on Dec. 26th. 

1990s - About 250,000 Crimean Tatars and their descendants return to Crimea following collapse of Soviet Union. 

1992 - NATO allies contemplate adding central and Eastern European members for the first time.  Ukraine formally establishes relations with the alliance, though it does not join. 

1994 - Presidential elections: Leonid Kuchma succeeds Leonid Kraychuk, conducts policy of balancing overtures to the West and alliance with Russia.

1994 - December - After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine is left with the world's third-largest nuclear stockpile.  In a Budapest Memorandum treaty, Ukraine agrees to trade away its intercontinental ballistic missiles, warheads, and other nuclear infrastructure in exchange for guarantees that the three other treaty signatories - the US, UK, and Russia - will "respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine."

1996 - New, democratic constitution adopted, and hryvnya currency introduced. 

2000 - Chernobyl nuclear power plant is shut down, 14 years after the accident. 

2002 - March - General election results in hung parliament.  Parties opposed to President Kuchma allege widespread electoral fraud. 

2002 - May - Government announces decision to launch formal bid to join NATO. 

2004 - November - Opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko launches mass protest campaign over rigged elections that gave victory to pro-Russian candidate Viktor Yanukovych.  Supreme Court later annuls poll result. 

2005 - January - Viktor Yushchenko becomes president after winning December election re-run.  Yulia Tymoshenko becomes prime minister.  Relations with Russia sour, leading to frequent disputes over gas supplies and pipeline transit fees. 

2006 - July - Socialist Party abandons Orange Revolution allies to form coalition with Viktor Yanukovych's Party of Regions and the Communists. 

2008 - Yushchenko and Tymoshenko formerly request that Ukraine be granted a "membership action plan," the first step in the process of joining NATO.  President George W. Bush supported Ukraine's membership, but France and Germany oppose it after Russia voices displeasure. 

2008 - October - Global financial crisis leads to decline in demand for steel, causing the price of one of the country's main exports to collapse. Value of Ukrainian currency falls sharply and investors pull out. 

2009 - January 1 - Gazprom, the state-owned Russian gas company, suddenly stops pumping natural gas to Ukraine, following months of politically fraught negotiations over gas prices.  Eastern and central European countries rely on pipelines through Ukraine to receive gas imports from Russia, the gas crisis quickly spreads beyond Ukraine's borders. 

2009 - January 20 - Under international pressure to resolve the gas crisis, Tymoshenko negotiates a new deal with Putin, and gas flow resumes.  Much of Europe still relies on Russian gas today.

2010 - February - Viktor Yanukovych is declared winner of second round of presidential elections.  He declares Ukraine should be a "neutral state," cooperating with both Russia and Western alliances like NATO. 

2010 - June - Parliament votes to abandon NATO membership aspirations.

2011 - October - A court jails former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko for abuse of power over a gas deal with Russia in 2009.  Her seven year sentence prompts concerns in the West that Ukrainian leaders are persecuting political opponents. 

2013 - November - Tens of thousands of protestors take to the streets to protest at the government's sudden decision to abandon plans to sign an association agreement with the EU, blaming Russian pressure.   Protesters begin camping out in Kyiv's Maidan, also known as Independence Square, and occupy government buildings, including Kyiv's city hall and the justice ministry. 

2014 - February - Security forces kill at least 77 protesters in Kyiv.  President Yanukovych flees to Russia, opposition takes over.  Ukraine's parliament votes unanimously to remove Yanukovyc and install and interim government which announces it will sign the EU agreement and votes to free Tymoshenko from prison.  Charges Yanukovych with mass murder of the Maidan protesters and issues a warrant for his arrest.  Russia declares the change in Ukraine's government is an illegal coup.  Almost immediately, armed men appear at checkpoints and facilities in the Crimean Peninsula, Putin initially denies they are Russian soldiers, but later admits they are. 

2014 - March - Russian forces annex Crimea, prompting biggest East-West showdown since Cold War.  US and EU impose ever-harsher sanctions on Russia.  It remains the only time that a European nation has used military force to seize the territory of another since World War II.

2014 - April - 40,000 Russian troops gathered on Ukraine's eastern border, violence breaks out in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas - violence that continues to this day.  Pro-Russian armed groups seize parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions on Russian border.  Government launches military operation in response. 

2014 - May - Leading businessman Petro Poroshenko wins presidential election on pro-Western platform.  He promotes reform, including measures to address corruption and lessen Ukraine's dependence on Russia for energy and financial support. 

2014 - July - Pro-Russian forces shoot down Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine conflict zone, killing all 298 people on board. 

2014 - September - NATO confirms Russian troops and heavy military equipment entering eastern Ukraine. 

2014 - September 5 - Representatives from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany meet in Belarus to attempt to negotiate an end to the violence in Donbas.  First Minsk agreement is signed, in which Ukraine and Russia agree to quiet the violence under a fragile cease-fire.  The cease-fire soon breaks and the fighting continues into the new year. 

2014 - October - Parliamentary elections produce convincing majority for pro-Western parties. 

2015 - February - Germany and France broker a new Donbas deal at talks in Belarus, resulting in a tenuous ceasefire agreements known as the Minsk II agreement.  This agreement has also proved unsuccessful at ending the violence.  From 2014 through today, more than 14,000 people have been killed, tens of thousands wounded and more than a million displaced. 

2016-2017 - Fighting in the Donbas continues.  Russia repeatedly strikes at Ukraine in a series of cyber-attacks including a 2016 attack on Kyiv's power grid that caused a major blackout.  In 2017 a large scale assault affects key Ukrainian infrastructure, including the National Bank of Ukraine and the country's electrical grid.  These cyber-attacks have continued throughout the present with the latest major attack on government websites in January 2022).

2016 - Economy returns to fragile growth after two years of turmoil. 

2017 - July - Ukraine's association agreement with the EU is ratified by all signatories, and comes into force on September 1. 

2018 - May - Russian President Putin officially opens a bridge linking southern Russia to Crimea, and action Ukraine calls illegal. 

2018 - October - The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople agrees to allow Ukraine to set up its own Orthodox Church independent of Russian ecclesiastical supervision. 

2019 - April-July - Former television comedian Vologymyr Zelensky wins presidential election run-off in a landslide victory over incumbent Petro Porosheko Zelensky wins on a promise to restore Donbas to the country.  He takes office in May, and his Servant of the People party wins early parliamentary elections in July.

2019 - August - Parliament appoints President Zelensky's aide Oleksiy Honcharuk prime minster. 

2019 - September - Russia and Ukraine swap prisoners captured in the wake of Moscow's seizure of Crimea and intervention in the Donbas. 

2019 - October - Ukraine becomes embroiled in US impeachment row over allegations of President Trump attempting to put pressure on the country over investigating possible Democrat president rival Joe Biden. 

2020 - March - President Zelensky appoints former businessman Denys Shmyhal prime minister with a mandate to stimulate industrial revival and improve tax receipts. 

2021-2022 - Russian President Vladimir V. Putin seeks to prevent Ukraine's drift toward the US and its allies.  Putin demands "security guarantees" including an assurance by NATO that Ukraine will never join the group and that the alliance pulls back troops stationed in countries that joined after 1997.  Many Russians view the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, as the birthplace of their nation and cite the numerous cultural ties between the two countries.

2021 - April - Russia sends 100,000 troops to Ukraine's borders.  While few analysts believe an invasion in imminent, Zelensky urges NATO leadership to put Ukraine on a timeline for membership.  Russia says it will withdraw the troops, but tens of thousands remain. 

2021 - August - Zelensky visits the White House to meet with President Biden.  Biden emphasizes US commitment to "Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russian aggression" but repeats that Ukraine has not yet met the conditions necessary to join NATO.

2021 - November - Russia renews troop presence near the Ukraine-Russia border, alarming US intelligence officials, who travel to Brussels to brief NATO allies on the situation. "We're not sure exactly what Mr. Putin is up to, but these movements certainly have our attention." says US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. 

2021 - December - Biden speaks to Putin via phone and urges Russia not to invade Ukraine, warning of "real costs" if Russia does so.  Putin issues a contentious set of security demands, including asking NATO to permanently bar Ukraine from membership and withdraw forces stationed in countries that joined the alliance after 1997, including Romania and Balkan countries.  He demands a written response from the US and NATO.

2022 - January - leaders and diplomats from the US, Russia, and European countries meet repeatedly to avert a crisis.  Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov tells US officials that Russia has no plans to invade Ukraine.

2022 - January 23 - US State Department orders the families of embassy staff to leave Ukraine. 

2022 - January 24 - NATO places forces on standby, in the US ordering 8,500 troops in the US to be ready to deploy. 

2022 - January 26 - representatives from the US and NATO deliver their written responses to Putin's demands - officials say they cannot bar Ukraine from joining NATO, but signal willingness to negotiate over smaller issues like arms control. 

2022 - February - Diplomatic efforts pick up pace across Europe.  Biden orders the movement of 1,000 US troops from Germany to Romania and the deployment of 2,000 additional US troops to Poland and Germany. 

2022 - February 10 - Russia and Belarus begin joint military exercises, with about 30,000 Russian troops stationed in the country along Ukraine's northern border.

2022 - February 11 - US and UK urge their citizens to leave Ukraine.  Biden announces the deployment of another 2,000 troops from the US to Poland. 

2022 - mid-February - fighting escalates between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces in the two eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.  Separatists leaders call for evacuations.  Putin says "in our view, what is happening in Donbas today is, in fact, genocide" - a false claim that Western officials say Putin is using to create a pretext for an invasion.  Russia continues to build its troop presence on its border with Ukraine, with estimates ranging from 150,000 - 190,000 troops.  US officials including Biden, increase urgency of warnings, saying that Russia has decided to invade. 

2022 - February 21 - Putin formerly recognizes the independence of the Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic - including territory claimed by separatists but controlled by the Ukrainian armed forces.  He orders Russia's military to deploy troops there under the guise of a "peacekeeping" mission. - Biden declare the move "the beginning of a Russian invasion." The US, UK, and EU enact a broad set of sanctions targeting Russian banks and oligarchs.

2022 - February 25 - Russian forces launch a devastating assault on Ukrainian territory - the largest such military operation in Europe since the end of World War II. 

2022 - March 2 - Russia takes control of the southern city of Kherson

2022 March 16 - A theater in the port city of Mariupol, where civilians had been sheltering, is bombed by Russia,, killing hundreds, considering one of the wars deadliest attacks

2022 March 29 - Russia withdraws forces from Kyiv, in an effort to focus on the eastern industrial heartland of the Donbas

2022 - April 9 - A train station in Kramatorsk is bombed by Russia killing 52 civilians and wounds over 100

2022 April 13 - Missile Cruiser Moskva (flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet) is hit by Ukrainian missiles and sinks the next day

2022 May 16 - Ukrainian defenders of the Azovstal steel mill (last Ukrainian stronghold in Mariupol), surrender to Russian forces after a nearly 3 month siege, cutting Ukraine off from the Azov coast and secures a land corridor for Russia to the Crimea

2022 May 18 - Finland and Sweden submit applications to NATO - a major blow to Russia over the expansion of the military alliance

2022 June 30 - Russian troops pull back from Snake Island

2022 July 22 - Russia and Ukraine in mediation with Turkey and the United Nations agree to a deal to unblock supplies of grain struck in Ukraine's Black Sea ports, ending a standoff that threatened food security globally

2022 July 29 - prison in the Russian controlled Olenivka (where Ukrainian soldiers captured in Mariupol were being held), is hit with a missile, killing 53 - Russia and Ukraine blame each other for the attack

2022 August 9 - Ukraine strikes a Russian air base in Crimea, one week later a power station and ammunition depots are also hit - signals the vulnerability of Russian annexed Black Sea peninsula

2022 August 20 - Darya Dugina (daughter of Russian nationalist ideologist Alexander Dugin) dies in a car bomb explosion outside Moscow.  Russia blames Ukraine

2022 September 6 - a surprise counteroffensive launched by Ukrainian forces in Kharkiv forces Russia to pull out of broad areas they had held for months

2022 September 21 - Putin orders the mobilization of 300,000 reservists, a move that was unpopular and prompted hundreds of thousands of Russian men to flee a neighboring countries in order to avoid recruitment.  At the same time, Russia hastily states illegal "referendums" in Ukraine's Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions on whether to become part of Russia, the votes are widely dismissed as a sham by Ukraine and the West

2022 September 30 - Putin signs documents to annex the four regions at a Kremlin ceremony

2022 October 8 - A truck laden with explosives blows up on the bridge linking Crimea to Russia's mainland - an attack that Putin blames on Ukraine.  Russia responses with missile strikes on Ukraine's power plants and other key infrastructure

2002 November 9 - Under Ukrainian counteroffensive, Russia announces it is pulling back from the city of Kherson - abandoning the only regional center captured by Russia

2022 December 5 - Russian military claims that Ukraine used drones to target two bases for long-range bombers deep inside Russian territory 

2022 December 21 - Zelenskyy visits the United States on his first trip abroad since the beginning of the war, meeting with President Joe Biden to secure Patriot air defense missile systems and other weapons and addresses Congress.

2023 - January 1 - Just minutes into the New Year, a Ukrainian missile strike on the city of Makivika, kills scores of freshly mobilized Russian soldiers.  Russia's Defense Ministry reports 89 troops killed, while Ukrainian officials puts the death toll in the hundreds

2023 January 12 - Russia captures the salt-mining town of Soleday

2023 January 14 - Russia launches another wave of strikes on Ukraine's energy facilities, a missile hits an apartment building in Dnipro killing 45

Source Information

The timeline above was compilied using the following sources:

BBC. "Ukraine Crisis: Timeline." BBC News. Last modified November 13, 2022. Accessed February 28,2022.

BBC. "Ukraine Profile - Timeline." BBC News.  Last modified March 5, 2020. Accessed February 28, 2022.

Bigg, Matthew Mpoke. " A Timeline od the Tensions between Russia and Ukraine." The New York Times.  Last modified February 24, 2022. Accessed February 28, 2022.

Council of Foreign Relations. "A Historical Timeline of Post-Independence Ukraine." PBS NewsHour. Last modified Februrary 22, 2022. Accessed February 28, 2022.

Sullivan, Becky. "Russia's at War with Ukraine. Here's How We Got Here." NPR. Last modified February 24, 2022. Accessed February 28, 2022.

PBS, "1 Year After the Invasion Began a Timeline of Russia's War in Ukraine" PBS News Hour.