(Bloomberg) -- As Russia’s war in Ukraine enters a third year, President Vladimir Putin’s forces have shifted to the offensive and captured the eastern city of Avdiivka after months of fighting. In a conflict where momentum has ebbed and flowed, the mood is now noticeably darker in Kyiv.President Volodymyr Zelenskiy changed his military leadership amid disputes over conscription of new soldiers and battlefield strategy. His troops are running low on ammunition and weapons, with political infighting in Western capitals holding up deliveries and aid.

Millions of Ukrainians are still displaced from their homes. The death toll has been the highest in any European conflict since World War II, but Russia and Ukraine are treating their losses as state secrets.

Here’s a timeline of key events.


Avdiivka Falls 

Feb. 17, 2024

Ukraine’s military withdrew from Avdiivka, giving the advancing Russian forces a major battlefield victory. Troops will move to the defensive “on more favorable lines,” army chief Oleksandr Syrskyi said.

Navalny Dies in Prison 

Feb. 16, 2024 

Russian activist Alexey Navalny, who had come out strongly against the war, fell ill and died at a maximum-security camp, Russia’s prison service said, triggering global outrage. 

His death sent an unmistakable signal of the dangers of standing up to Putin’s increasingly repressive regime.

Military Chief Replaced 

Feb. 8, 2024 

Zelenskiy replaced army chief Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, ending weeks of speculation over a deepening rift in Ukraine’s leadership and stoking uncertainty over the direction of the war. 

EU Approves Ukraine Funding 

Feb. 1, 2024

European Union leaders clinched a deal on a €50 billion ($54 billion) financial aid package for Ukraine after Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban caved to their demands and lifted his veto. 

The agreement proves “that we stand by Ukraine and I think it will be an encouragement for the US also to do their fair share,” Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission president, said as US funding remained stalled in Congress. 

Massive Attack Across Ukraine 

Dec. 29, 2023

Russian forces pounded mostly civilian targets in Ukraine with the largest missile and drone barrage of the invasion to date — days after Moscow blamed Kyiv for a strike on a military ship in Crimea. 

Homes, schools, a shopping mall and a maternity center were among the targets. At least 33 people were killed.

EU Opens Membership Talks With Kyiv 

Dec. 14, 2023

EU leaders agreed to open membership talks with Ukraine in a historic win for the nation.

“A clear signal of hope for their people and for our continent,” European Council President Charles Michel wrote in a post on X. 

Putin Makes Bid for Fifth Term  

Dec. 8, 2023 

Putin said he’d run for a fifth term, kicking off a widely expected campaign in which the Kremlin will seek to show he retains broad popular support for the war. 

Zaluzhnyi Declares Stalemate 

Nov. 1, 2023 

Zaluzhnyi, then still Ukraine’s top military commander, told The Economist the war had reached a stalemate and made a comparison to World War I trench warfare.

The comments irked Zelenskiy, who publicly contradicted the characterization.

Biden Vows Funding Fix  

Oct. 2, 2023

President Joe Biden urged House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to follow up quickly with funding for Ukraine hours after Congress passed a spending bill without it to avoid a US government shutdown. 

The standoff foreshadowed a long battle in Congress over financing for Kyiv, leaving the US with no money to finance more weapons deliveries to Ukraine.

Skepticism Grows in Washington 

Sept. 22, 2023 

Zelenskiy said Ukraine would continue its counteroffensive through the autumn and into the winter, during a trip to Washington, vowing to keep the pressure up on Russian forces despite slow progress.

In contrast with his visit during the first months of the war, the Ukrainian leader faced growing skepticism, particularly from Congressional Republicans. 

Grain Ship Leaves Ukrainian Port 

Sept. 19, 2023 

The first grain ship in over two months left one of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, as Kyiv defied Russia’s effective maritime blockade following the collapse of a safe-passage deal. 

Zelenskiy Fires Defense Minister 

Sept. 4, 2023

Zelenskiy announced a significant wartime cabinet shakeup as he ramped up an anti-graft crackdown.

Kyiv Cites Progress on Southern Front 

Aug. 28, 2023

Ukrainian forces pierced the first line of Russian fortifications in the nation’s southeast. The defense ministry said Ukrainian soldiers had made slow progress in clearing heavily mined areas to create approach corridors for a larger force to fight through the first main line of Russian trenches, bunkers and tank traps.

Russia Raises Threat Level in Black Sea 

Aug. 5, 2023

Ukraine attacked an oil tanker it said was supplying Russian forces and warned that ports, including commodity hubs, could be at risk in the escalation in the area around the Black Sea. 

Russia Ends Grain Deal

July 17, 2023 

Russia quashed the Ukraine grain-export deal nearly a year into the agreement, heightening uncertainty over global food supplies and escalating tensions in the region. The deal had marked a rare example of cooperation during Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The corridor’s shutdown hit key buyers like China, Spain and Egypt.

Prigozhin Revolts 

June 24, 2023

Putin condemned leaders of the Wagner mercenary group as traitors to Russia in a late-night speech to the nation, after Yevgeny Prigozhin's mercenaries came within 200 kilometers of Moscow. Prigozhin's men turned back after their leader struck a deal with Putin and the Wagner chief died two months later when a private plane crashed, killing everybody on board.


Ukrainian Counteroffensive Begins

June  9, 2023

Ukraine’s new NATO-standard tanks and fighting vehicles appeared in battlefield images as Kyiv’s long-awaited counteroffensive got underway.

Kakhovka Dam Destroyed

June 6, 2023

Ukraine accused Russia of blowing up a giant dam and unleashing an environmental catastrophe, with floodwater sweeping across the south of the country. The Kremlin denied responsibility and said Ukraine was behind the breach at the Kakhovka hydroelectric plant. 

Russia Picks Up Missile Barrage 

May 29, 2023

Russia ramped up air strikes on military facilities and infrastructure across the country, as Ukraine prepared a counteroffensive to try to take back territory. Russia hit an airbase in western Ukraine, damaging five aircraft and the runway, and targeted the nation’s capital with ballistic missiles.

Bakhmut Falls 

May 21, 2023 

Ukrainian forces lost control of Bakhmut after months of fierce fighting. Russia claimed that the Wagner mercenary group had taken the embattled eastern city.

Kyiv Shoots Down Hypersonic Missile 

May 6, 2023 

Ukraine’s military confirmed the interception of a Russian Kinzhal hypersonic air-launched ballistic missile after it deployed Patriot air-defense systems obtained from Western allies.

IMF Changes Rules, Approves $15.6 Billion 

March 31, 2023 

The International Monetary Fund’s board signed off on a $15.6 billion aid package for Ukraine, the final approval for the institution’s first-ever loan to a nation at war.

A group of Ukraine’s creditors supported the unprecedented deal, which required the IMF to change its lending rules, with assurances that they’d extend a debt-repayment standstill for the duration of the program. The creditors — Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the UK and the US — urged other bilateral and private lenders to help restore debt sustainability for Ukraine. 

Read More:  IMF Board Approves $15.6 Billion Loan for Ukraine Amid War

ICC Issues Arrest Warrant for Putin 

March 17, 2023 

The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Putin for war crimes related to the alleged abduction of children from Ukraine, a largely symbolic move that the Kremlin shrugged off. A year earlier, atrocities committed by Russian troops were discovered after they retreated from areas near Kyiv and in the north.

US, Germany Announce Tank Deliveries 

Jan. 25, 2023 

The US announced it would send Ukraine 31 M1 Abrams battle tanks, adding to a German commitment to supply some of its top-line armor and infusing the country with a major new capability as it looked to pry Russian forces from the east.

Zelenskiy Goes to Washington 

Dec. 22, 2022 

On his first trip outside Ukraine since the war began, Ukraine’s president delivered an address to the US Congress, pressing Washington for planes and more money, portraying the war as a battle of democracy against tyranny.  

US Sends Patriots 

Dec. 14, 2022 

The US opted in favor of sending Patriot air and missile defense batteries to Ukraine, fulfilling a key demand from Kyiv. Zelenskiy had urgently sought the system, saying it was needed to counter the relentless barrage of Russian missiles targeting Ukraine’s military as well as civilian and energy infrastructure.

NATO Defuses Standoff After Missile Hits Poland 

Nov. 16, 2022 

NATO and Poland said there was no evidence that a missile which struck Polish territory was an intentional Russian attack as governments in the military alliance moved to defuse the incident. Biden informed G-20 counterparts that the strike was a result of Ukrainian air defense. The dial-back meant NATO wouldn’t invoke Article 4 of its charter, which would trigger consultations on a military response. 

Ukraine Retakes Kherson 

Nov. 11, 2022 

Ukrainian troops entered the southern city of Kherson after Russian forces abandoned the regional capital which they had taken during the first months of the war and fled across a major waterway — marking a significant setback for Moscow as the two sides dug in for winter. 

Russia Claims to Annex Occupied Territory 

Sept. 30, 2022 

Putin vowed his annexation of four occupied regions in Ukraine was irreversible, as he formalized Europe’s biggest land grab since World War II, and accused the West of trying to subjugate his country.

Grain Corridor Established 

July 22, 2022 

Russia and Ukraine agreed to a deal aimed at releasing millions of tons of grain through Ukraine’s Black Sea ports that aimed to help shore up global  food supplies. 

Mariupol Falls 

May 18, 2022 

Russian authorities said nearly 1,000 Ukrainian fighters defending Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant “surrendered” after a months-long battle. Moscow captured the important port, where Russian forces established a land bridge between Crimea and separatist republics in the Donbas.

The resistance of the Azovstal fighters against overwhelming odds brought them heroic status among Ukrainians.

Russia Attacks 

Feb. 24, 2022 

Russian forces attacked targets across Ukraine after Putin vowed to “demilitarize” the country and replace its leaders. The government in Kyiv called Russia’s actions a “full-scale invasion” as it declared martial law, called for international support including harsher sanctions and for citizens to take up arms.

--With assistance from Demetrios Pogkas.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.