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2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine facts for kids

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2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine
Part of the Russo-Ukrainian War (outline)
2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.svg
Military situation as of 23 May 2024
       Controlled by Ukraine          Controlled by Russia
(Detailed map)
Date 24 February 2022 (2022-02-24) – present
(2 years and 3 months)
Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus
Status Ongoing (list of engagements · territorial control · timeline of events)
Supported by:
Commanders and leaders
Units involved
Order of battle Order of battle
169,000–190,000 (including military, paramilitary, and 34,000 separatist militias)
Since September 2022:
+ 300,000 mobilized
+ 50,000 mercenaries (including Wagner Group)
196,600 military
102,000 paramilitary
In July 2022:
700,000 (active strength)
Casualties and losses
Reports vary widely, see § Casualties for details.

On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. It has caused tens of thousands of deaths on both sides. The invasion is part of the Russo-Ukrainian War that started in 2014. The invasion in 2022 started after the 2021–2022 Russo-Ukrainian crisis. Russia supported the Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic in the days before the invasion.

More Russian soldiers came to the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine on 21 February 2022. The invasion was condemned (strongly criticised) by many countries. In Russia, many opposition groups formed anti-war protests. Many of the protesters were arrested.

Announcement of war

At about 06:00 Moscow time (UTC+3), Russian president Vladimir Putin announced a military operation in eastern Ukraine. Minutes later, missile strikes began at locations across the country, including in the capital Kyiv. The Ukrainian Border Service stated that its border posts with Russia and Belarus were attacked.


Minutes after Putin's announcement, explosions were heard in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odessa and the Donbas. Ukrainian officials said that Russia landed soldiers in Odessa and Mariupol and launched cruise and ballistic missiles at airfields, military headquarters, and military depots in Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Dnipro. It is the largest attack by one country against another in Europe since World War II.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said that there would be martial law in Ukraine. Later he ordered the Ukrainian Army to kill as many Russian invaders as possible.

February 2022

Moments after the invasion on 24 February, the Ukraine government said that Russia took Chernobyl and Pripyat. The US government said that the Russians were holding the workers of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant hostage. At 22:00 (UTC+2), Russian forces captured Snake Island after a naval and air attack of the island. The thirteen border guards on the island were thought to have been killed in the bombardment after refusing to surrender to a Russian warship. President Zelenskyy announced that the border guards would be posthumously granted the title of Hero of Ukraine, the country's highest honor. However, it was found out later that the border guards were alive and captured by Russian forces.

On 25 February, while Russian soldiers approached Kyiv, Zelenskyy asked residents to create Molotov cocktails to "neutralise" the enemy. Putin meanwhile called on the Ukrainian military to overthrow the government. Ukraine gave 18,000 guns to Kyiv residents who wanted to fight. Some Russian soldiers did enter northern Kyiv.

On 26 February, heavy fighting was reported to the south of Kyiv, near the city of Vasylkiv and its air base. A Ukrainian Sukhoi Su-27 fighter had shot down a Russian Il-76 transport plane carrying paratroopers near Vasylkiv. Hundreds of deaths were reported in Kyiv during this battle. That same day, Russia claimed to have captured Melitopol, near the Sea of Azov.

On 27 February, President Putin ordered Russia's nuclear deterrent forces to be on "special alert" because of "aggressive statements" by NATO. That same day, President Zelenskyy announced that the Ukrainian and Russian officials had agreed to meet, without conditions. That same day, a Russian airstrike killed over 70 Ukrainian soldiers at a military base in Okhtyrka. Russian soldiers have been accused of killing civilians and the using of cluster bombs on civilians - which may be seen as war crimes.


On 1 March, Ukrainian sources said Belarus joined the invasion, sending its soldiers to the Chernihiv region in Ukraine's north. Belarus said this had not happened. On the same day, there was at least one rocket attack on Kyiv; With AFP as a source, media wrote that "Russian strike stirs symbolism at Kyiv Holocaust site". The next day, Russia claimed to have captured its first large city, the Black Sea port of Kherson, as fighting intensifies across many parts of Ukraine, including civilian areas. That same day, the International Criminal Court began an investigation into possible war crimes committed in Ukraine.

On 3 March, Ukraine passed a law that states captured Russian military equipment and tanks does not need to be declared and tax will not be applied on them. The next day, Russian forces attacked and bombed the Zaphorizhzhia nuclear power plant. The main reactor was not hit and fallout did not occur. That same day, foreign news outlets including the BBC, CNN, and many others stopped their reporting in Russia, after new legislation threatened 15-year jail terms for spreading "fake news".

On 5 March, Russia announced a temporary ceasefire to allow civilians to leave the cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha. The next day, Vinnytsia International Airport was destroyed by Russian missiles, as President Zelenskyy called for a no-fly zone to stop future attacks in Ukraine.

On 7 March, Ukraine rejected a proposal by Moscow to open refugee passages after Russia said refugees would only be allowed to reach Belarus or Russia.

Putin had denied on February 7, that Russian conscripts were used in the invasion, because Russian law does not allow the use of conscripts in battle outside Russia. Russian media later admitted they had been used.

On 13 March, 30 Russian missiles hit the Yavoriv military base, used for NATO training and close to the border with Poland, killing 35 and injuring 134 others.

On 24 March, NATO announced that four new battlegroups totalling 40,000 soldiers will be sent to Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, along with enhanced readiness for potential chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.

On 29 March, Russia's deputy defense minister said that Moscow decided to "cut back" military activity near Kyiv and Chernihiv to increase mutual trust for future negotiations to agree and sign a peace deal with Ukraine".


On 2 April, Russia said that the country would not work with Western countries on the International Space Station until the "full and unconditional removal of illegal sanctions". The next day, Ukraine accused Russia and Putin of war crimes because of civilian killings such as the Bucha massacre. U.S. President Joe Biden called for Putin to be tried for war crimes. On April 7, Russia was suspended from the United Nations Council on Human Rights. This followed a vote which was backed by 97 nations.

On 8 April, Russia attacked the Kramatorsk train station with missiles, which killed many civilians trying to evacuate, including children. On 13 April, the Russian flagship cruiser Moskva, the largest naval vessel to be sunk since the end of World War II, sank after an explosion off of the Ukrainian coast.

On 19 April, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced that Russia's military operation had entered a new phase, focused on the entire front line of Eastern Ukraine with the city of Kreminna reportedly the first to be captured.


On 2 May, Russia announced it may be pulling out of the International Space Station in two years, because of the economic sanctions imposed on the nation because of the invasion. On 14 May, Russian forces withdrew (or did leave) from Ukraine's second-largest city Kharkiv, in the north-east of the country.

On 16 May, the Siege of Mariupol ended in a Russian victory as Ukrainian soldiers are evacuated from Mariupol.


The Battle of Sievierodonetsk is going on, as of June's first week.

On 27 June, the Russian Armed Forces fired missiles at a mall in Kremenchuk, Ukraine, which killed sixteen people and injured over 50 others.


On 3 July, Russia and the Luhansk People's Republic took control of the entire Luhansk Oblast after seizing Lysychansk. On 14 July, a Russian missile attacked Vinnytsia in central Ukraine, which killed at least 22 people, including 3 children, and injured at least 100 others.


According to the Kyiv School of Economics, the conflict has caused $113.5 billion in damages and destruction in Ukraine. Transportation infrastructure and housing is the main reason for these damages.


On 30 September 2022, Vladimir Putin announced the annexation of Ukraine's Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions in an address to both houses of the Russian parliament. Ukraine, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations all condemned the annexation.


On 8 October, the Crimean Bridge partially collapsed due to an explosion. Russia accused Ukraine of being behind the blast and launched retaliatory missile strikes against Ukrainian civilian areas.


On 9 November, Russian troops began to withdraw from Kherson, the only regional capital they captured since the start of the invasion. Afterwards, Ukrainian forces recaptured the city two days later, on 11 November.


In early December, heavy fighting was still going on near Bakhmut and south of Bakhmut (Battle of Bakhmut).

January 2023

Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank patrolling outside Basra, Iraq MOD 45148325
Challenger 2 (picture taken in Iraq)
Tank Leopard 2A7 NATO Days 2022
Leopard 2

The British government said on 14 January 2023 that Ukraine would get 14 Challenger 2 tanks. These tanks are the first Western main battle tanks given to Ukraine.

On January 25, 2023, the German government said that Germany will send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine; The government will also allow other countries to do the same. German authorities can say if countries have permission to send those tanks. Later that day, the United States government said that 31 Abrams tanks will be sent to Ukraine.

February 2023

Poland's prime minister said that Poland can give (some) F-16 (a kind of fighter aircraft) to Ukraine; That can happen if all the NATO member countries say yes to that.

Worldwide reactions

U.S. President Joe Biden said there would be sanctions on banks VEB.RF and Promsvyazbank.

On 24 February 2022, the Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison said there would be travel bans. There would also be financial sanctions against eight members of Russia's national security council.

The United Kingdom, United Nations, France, Germany, Spain, Japan, Sweden, Turkey, Norway, Canada, and Italy have also disagreed with the invasion.

On 24 February 2022, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said the group has allowed "massive" actions that would target technological transfers, Russian banks and Russian assets. That same day, President Putin said Western countries that take part in the actions "will face consequences".

On 26 February, the European Union, the United States and their allies say that they support in removing Russian banks from the SWIFT payment system. The next day, many European nations announced a ban on Russian flights in their airspace.

On 28 February, Switzerland, Monaco, Singapore, and South Korea put in place economic sanctions on Russia such as controlling exports and assets. These countries were once seen as neutral during global conflicts.

Tugan Sokhiev, the musical director and conductor of the Bolshoi Theatre [quit his job, or] did resign because he [wanted to stay neutral] or not take side in the conflict.

In response to the invasion, on 15 May 2022, President of Finland Sauli Niinistö says Finland would apply for membership in NATO. The following day, Sweden confirms it will apply to join NATO, after years of supporting being neutral.

Chinese authorities are stopping "Russian Boeing and Airbus aircraft, which foreign leasing companies own, from flying through or landing in its airspace"; That policy started in May 2022.

C. 60 military recruitment offices in Russia, have been attacked (as of January 2023); Some of those were set on fire; Some of the fires were a result of use of Molotov cocktails.


The EU has put sanctions on Putin and the Russian foreign minister, as of March 3, 2022.

AIIB, or Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, is stopping loans to Russia and Belarus, media said on March 4, 2022.

EU countries have closed their airspace for Russian aircraft; On June 6, 2022 Montenegro and North Macedonia closed their airspace for the plane that was supposed to fly - Russia's foreign minister - to Serbia.

Other protests

Pro-Ukrainian protests have happened in many Ukrainian and Russian embassies. There have been many protests in Armenia, Australia, Bulgaria, Belgium, Canada, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, Taiwan, Turkey, the UK, and the US. In the Czech Republic, some 3,000 people protested in the Wenceslas Square in Prague.

On March 14, 2022, a woman held a sign with an anti-war message on the set of a news program on Channel One Russia during prime time; The sign said: "NO WAR. Stop the war. Do not believe propaganda they tell you lies here"; The sign also said "Russians against war". Marina Ovsyannikova was arrested by police. She got a fine the next day, and was then free to go from jail.


On March 3, 2022, Lukoil's board of directors said that it supported a stop (right now) to the armed conflict. On 8 March, international brands (or global brands) including McDonald's, Coca-Cola and Starbucks stopped sales in Russia, in response to its attacks on Ukraine.

The production of Lada cars stopped - and was in suspension, media said in March 2022.

On 16 May 2022, McDonald's said that it will permanently shut down its fast food operations in Russia due to the "humanitarian crisis" and "unpredictable operating environment" caused by the invasion.

Adding soldiers to the Ukrainian forces

About foreign soldiers maybe getting Ukrainian citizenship if they fight for the International Legion: Yevhen Yenin (First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs) has said that the laws of Ukraine allow (or give permission) for that; The press agency Ukrinform said that [in March] 2022.

In March 2022, the Ukrainian Armed Forces published the first picture of International Legion soldiers; The picture showed some of those soldiers in a trench on the outskirts of Kyiv.

As of the same month, foreigners are given military training at Yavoriv military base.

Supplying weapons and other military equipment

The United States and European countries are taking supplies to an airport near the Ukraine border - but on the outside of Ukraine; Things that are being supplied are anti-tank rockets, Stinger rockets (can be used against aircraft, and can be fired while resting on the shoulder of a soldier), armoured vehicles, automatic weapons, ammunition, MREs (food for soldiers, and the food does not need [more] cooking before eating), and fuel. It does not take a long time for the rockets to be moved into Ukraine, media said.

Rebuilding infrastructure

10 bridges are being sent (and paid for) by Norway's authorities, media said in December 2022.


Ukraine has

Ukraine is using

  • M109 howitzer and shells with a range of 30 km.
  • HIMARS is an often used name for a kind of rocket launcher: M142 HIMARS.
  • M270, a multiple rocket launcher
  • Bayraktar TB2, a combat drone, or an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV), or battlefield UAV
  • Javelin anti-tank missile system
  • HARM, a missile that can find a radar system, and then blow up the radar
  • Hellfire (rockets or) surface-to-surface missiles; each of those missiles (in Ukraine) is fired from a tripod that is put on the ground; weight of the missile: 45 kg

Reuters said in January 2023 that U.S. officials have said that the United States will send more weapons to Ukraine in February; The officials have an expectation that Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (or GLSDB) is a kind of weapon that USA will send to Ukraine in February; That weapon has a range of 150 km (94 miles).

Russia is using

Tactical exercises of Radiological, Chemical and Biological Protection Troops units at Shikhani training ground (410-1)
TOS-1A rocket launchers on the ground and two rockets in the air (Picture from 2011)
  • TOS-1 (ТОС-1), a multiple rocket launcher that can also use rockets with thermobaric warheads; Those warheads kill thru "pressure wave, and more importantly, the subsequent [ decompression of air - sometimes called a vacuum ...], which ruptures the lungs. ... If the fuel [burns or] deflagrates but does not [... explode], victims will be severely burned and will probably also [... breathe] the burning fuel".
  • UR-77 Meteorit, mine clearing vehicle; It has also been used to clear a way - 6 metres wide and up to 90 meters long, for Russian forces to get into trenches that are held by Ukrainian forces.
  • Geran-2 and Shahed-136, a family of drones that can blow up (or explosive drone; see explosive)
  • T-90 tanks, and T-90S which is the kind which Russia sells to other countries (or export version)
  • Lancet, a drone.

Russia has

  • TOS-2, a thermobaric weapon (also called aerosol bomb, a vacuum bomb or a fuel air explosive (FAE))
  • Khinzal ('dagger'), missile, it has been used 3 times (as of 2023's first quarter)


Soldiers and other people in the military

  •  Ukraine:
    209,000 (armed forces)
    102,000 (paramilitary)
    20,000 foreign volunteers
  •  Russia:


  • Donetsk PR:
  • Luhansk PR:

In May 2022, Ukraine authorities says it has 700,000 servicemembers on active duty fighting the Russian invasion.

The number of women that have an enlistment contract (they are soldiers) to the Ukrainian Armed Forces: 50,000 (as of December 2022).

Reserves (or soldiers not on active duty):

  •  Ukraine:
    900,000 according to media in 2021

At the start of the invasion

  •  Russia:
    175,000–190,000 (armed forces)
    34,000 (separatist militias)
  •  Ukraine:
    196,600 (armed forces)
    102,000 (paramilitary)

Loss of weapons and equipment

Russia has lost at least 64 aircraft (as of January 6, 2023), according to Oryx (an organisation).


  •  Russia:
  • Acc. to Russia (25 March 2022):
    1,351 soldiers killed, 3,825 wounded
  • Acc. to NATO (23 March):
    30,000–40,000 soldiers killed, wounded, missing or captured (7,000–15,000 killed)
  • Acc. to the United States (25 March):
    15,000–22,500 soldiers killed and wounded
  • Donetsk PR:
  • Acc. to the Donetsk PR (17 March):
    349 soldiers killed, 1,930 wounded
  •  Ukraine:
  • Acc. to Ukraine (12 March):
    1,300 soldiers killed
  • Acc. to the United States (9 March 2022):
    2,000–4,000 soldiers killed

Treating wounded soldiers in other countries

No injured Ukrainian soldiers had yet been taken into Norway (as of May 31, 2022); On May 31, the (Norwegian) minister of justice was ordered (or told) to come to parliament, later that day to answer questions about that. That evening, the justice minister said that Norway will let injured Ukrainian soldiers come to Norway; Those soldiers will be part of a total of 550 injured Ukrainian civilians and soldiers. On June 12, 2022, the first wounded soldiers came to Norway.


  • The UN said that (January 15, 2023): at least 7,031 civilians have died, because of the war.
  • Acc. to Ukraine (partial figures; March 25, 2022):
    3,909–4,275+ civilians killed


  • Acc. to the UN (21 March 2022):
    4.3 million+ refugees and 6.5 million internally displaced person.

The President of Moldova, Maia Sandu, said over 4,000 Ukrainian citizens had crossed into Moldova since the invasion started. Poland [did get ready for] a large number of refugees to enter the country. To make border crossings easier, Poland lifted COVID-19 entry rules. Ukrainian refugees started crossing into Romania as well. Most of them entered through Siret in Suceava County. Romania said refugees did not need to quarantine or follow COVID rules.

Details about the warfare

Dead soldiers have been buried in graves; In some incidents, a body in a grave has been connected to a booby trap: when a grave is opened and a body is touched, then a grenade or other explosive weapon (see explosive), blows up.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Invasión rusa de Ucrania para niños

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