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Russia’s War on Ukraine

Note: This page, which is now updated weekly, tracks recent news and events related to the Russian war on Ukraine. The situation in Ukraine is very serious. If the subject brings up questions or worries for you, be sure to discuss them with an adult you trust.

     After World War II, Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union (USSR). The USSR was made of Russia and many smaller countries. Ukraine became independent in 1991, but many people in the country still have close ties to Russia.
     Russia has already invaded Ukraine once. In 2014, Russia invaded and took control of Crimea, a peninsula in southern Ukraine. In response, the US and many European countries put sanctions on Russia, but the sanctions haven’t had much effect.
     Also in 2014, with Russian support, two areas of Ukraine claimed they were independent of Ukraine. These areas – Donetsk and Luhansk, known together as “Donbas” – have strong ties to Russia. These are the regions that Russia has now recognized as countries. There has been fighting in and near Donbas since 2014, with Russia giving military support to the rebels.
      On February 24, Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.

Monday, June 27, 2022
On Friday, Ukraine ordered its soldiers to leave Severodonetsk. That leaves the key city in the hands of Russian forces. On Saturday, Russia took complete control of the city, including the Azot chemical factory, where many Ukrainian soldiers and civilians had been hiding out.

Russia is now increasing its efforts to take control of the nearby city of Lysychansk. Lysychansk is the last part of the Luhansk region that is controlled by Ukraine. Luhansk and Donetsk are two regions in eastern Ukraine known as “Donbas”. Fighting over this area has gone on for years, and many people living in Donbas support Russia. Taking full control of Donbas would be a huge win for Russia.

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Over the weekend, Russia launched missile attacks on targets across Ukraine. At least 14 missiles struck in or near the capital, Kyiv. It was the first missile strike on Kyiv in three weeks. Above, an apartment building in Kyiv destroyed by one of the missiles.

Over the weekend, Russia launched missile attacks on targets across Ukraine. Many of the targets were far removed from the heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine. At least 14 missiles struck in or near the capital, Kyiv. It was the first missile strike on Kyiv in three weeks.

Last Thursday, Ukraine was approved as a “candidate” to join the European Union (EU). This is the first official step that could lead to Ukraine becoming a full member of the EU. The complete process is still expected to take years.


Monday, June 20, 2022

Russia continues to use heavy weapons and bombs to pound Severodonetsk and the nearby city of Lysychansk. Almost all of Severodonetsk is now controlled by Russia. Most of Ukraine’s soldiers have been forced into an area in and near the Azot chemical factory. Around 500 civilians are also hiding out there.

Russia is getting closer to completely surrounding the city. But Russia’s advances have come at a high price. It has lost many soldiers and weapons.

Western military experts are warning that the war in Ukraine could last for years. Jens Stoltenberg, the leader of NATO, said, “We must not let up in supporting Ukraine, even if the costs are high.”

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Russia continues to use heavy weapons and bombs to pound Severodonetsk and the nearby city of Lysychansk. Almost all of Severodonetsk is now controlled by Russia. Above, destroyed cars and damaged buildings in Lysychansk on Saturday.

Kaliningrad is an area that belongs to Russia, but is completely surrounded by Poland and Lithuania. The area gets most of it supplies from Russia. These supplies usually come in by train, through Lithuania. As part of the European Union’s sanctions on Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine, Lithuania is now blocking some items, including building materials, metal, and coal, from traveling through Lithuania by rail.

Russia has complained loudly about the sanctions, which will mean that many important supplies now can only be brought into Kaliningrad by boat. A member of Russia’s government says that “Russia will certainly respond to such hostile [unfriendly] actions.” He suggested that Russia’s response would have “serious” effects on the people of Lithuania.

At the same time, Russia continues to block roughly 20 million tons of grain from leaving Ukraine. The European Union (EU) has called Russia’s blocking of Ukraine’s ports a “real war crime”. Josep Borrell, of the EU, said, “One cannot imagine that millions of tons of wheat remain blocked in Ukraine while in the rest of the world people are suffering hunger.”


Thursday, June 16, 2022
On Thursday, several European leaders visited Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv to show their support for Ukraine in its battle against Russia. The leaders included French President Emmanuel Macron, German leader Olaf Scholz, and Italy’s prime minister Mario Draghi. In the past, Mr. Zelensky has criticized these leaders for not supporting Ukraine strongly enough. Romanian President Klaus Iohannis also visited.

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On Thursday, several European leaders visited Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv to show their support for Ukraine in its battle against Russia. Above, from left: Mr. Iohannis, Mr. Draghi, Mr. Zelensky, Mr. Macron, and Mr. Scholz.

The visit was also meant to show support for Ukraine in its efforts to join the European Union (EU). The European Commission is expected to discuss the question of whether Ukraine can join the EU later this month. Having the support of important EU members like France, Germany, and Italy is likely to be very helpful. But it could still take years for Ukraine to fully join the EU.

Russia continues to slowly make progress in the key city of Severodonetsk. In its efforts to take complete control of the Donbas regions, Russia is bringing more and more soldiers to the area. Ukraine is having a hard time fighting back against these increasing numbers. Though both sides are suffering losses, Ukraine has said that as many as 200 of its soldiers are killed every day.


Monday, June 13, 2022

The battle for Severodonetsk still continues. Russian forces are believed to now control roughly 70% to 80% of the city. The heavy bombing has forced Ukraine’s soldiers to pull back. Many of Ukraine’s soldiers have been pushed back into an area of the city where there are lots of factories. At least 500 Ukrainian civilians are hiding out in a chemical factory, which is being bombed constantly.

Russia is hoping to completely surround Severodonetsk. All of the bridges into the city have now been destroyed. This will make it far harder for Ukrainian forces to get the supplies they need to keep fighting. It will also make it extremely difficult for the civilians who are left in the city to escape.

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Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the fighting in Donbas “will surely go down in military history as one of the most brutal battles in Europe.” Above, destroyed houses in Pryvillya, a town just a few miles from Severodonetsk.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky has continued to ask for more heavy weapons – including rocket launchers and tanks – from Western countries. He says the weapons are extremely important to Ukraine’s efforts in the Donbas regions. Mr. Zelensky said that the fighting in Donbas “will surely go down in military history as one of the most brutal battles in Europe.”

Russia has continued to use long-range missiles to hammer Ukrainian cities, especially in eastern Ukraine. Russia claims that one of its missiles hit a weapons storage area in the Chernihiv region. Ukraine says that its air defense systems were able to shoot down two long-range missiles aimed at the port city of Odesa.


Thursday, June 9, 2022

The fighting in the streets of Severodonetsk is still extremely intense. Russian forces now control most of the city. But Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky says that Ukrainian troops are “holding on” in Severodonetsk and Lysychansk.

The two cities, separated by the Seversky Donets River, are under constant attack. They are considered the key cities in the Donbas regions. Around 10,000 civilians are believed to be trapped in Severodonetsk.

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Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky says that Ukrainian troops are “holding on” in Severodonetsk and Lysychansk. The two cities are under constant attack, and are considered the key cities in the Donbas regions.

Mr. Zelensky says Ukraine still needs more long range weapons from Western countries to win the important battles. Mr. Zelensky described the Russian invasion as being like Covid-19. He said that “weapons and sanctions are…a vaccine.”

One challenge facing Ukraine as it gets more Western weapons is that it takes time to train its soldiers to use the new weapons. Western countries are shipping more and more high-tech weapons to Ukraine, but the weapons aren’t useful until Ukrainian forces learn how to use them. It takes time for Western forces to teach Ukrainian military trainers how to use the weapons. These trainers must then teach the Ukrainian soldiers.


Monday, June 6, 2022
Intense fighting is still going on in the streets of the important city of Severodonetsk in Luhansk. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky says that there are many more Russian soldiers in the city, but that Ukrainian forces are still holding their positions. In some areas, Ukrainian soldiers have taken back land that had been taken over by the Russians.

Ukraine claims that its navy has pushed Russia back from its coast along the Black Sea. Russia has been cutting off Ukraine’s coast for several weeks. Now Ukraine’s navy says it has pushed back the warships blocking the coast by more than 62 miles (100 kilometers). Outside sources haven’t confirmed this yet.

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Intense street fighting is still going on in the important city of Severodonetsk. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky says Ukrainian forces are still holding their positions, and have even taken back some areas. Above, Mr. Zelensky (center) visits soldiers near Severodonetsk on Sunday.

The United Kingdom (UK) says it will send long-range rocket systems to Ukraine. The new systems can precisely hit a target nearly 50 miles (80 kilometers) away. The UK’s offer comes soon after the US promised to send similar weapons.

Russia is upset about Western countries giving these weapons systems to Ukraine, and has promised to try to destroy the weapons systems before they can be used. Russian President Vladimir Putin says Russia may “strike targets we haven’t hit before.”

On Sunday, Russia hit the Ukrainian capital Kyiv with at least five missiles. Russia hasn’t targeted Kyiv in over a month.


Thursday, June 2, 2022
On Tuesday, the European Union (EU) announced a plan to partially ban Russian oil. The EU had been discussing a ban on Russian oil for weeks, but was stopped by countries like Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. Those three countries have been left out of the ban for now, but the rest of the EU plans to end its use of most Russian oil in the next six to eight months. The ban is a big blow to Russia, but it will also be very hard on the EU.

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On Tuesday, the European Union announced a plan to partially ban oil from Russia. Most of the EU plans to end its use of Russian oil in the next six to eight months. Above, EU representatives announce the plan on Tuesday.

Ukraine reports that more than two-thirds of the key Luhansk city of Severodonetsk is now under Russian control. Russia’s heavy bombing and violent street battles have forced Ukraine’s soldiers to draw back.

The intense fighting in eastern Ukraine is hitting Ukraine’s forces hard. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky now says that as many as 500 Ukrainian soldiers are being injured and up to 100 are being killed every day.

The US has agreed to ship medium-range missile systems to Ukraine as part of a new weapons shipment. The missiles can precisely hit a target roughly 45 miles (72 kilometers) away. That’s much farther than Ukraine’s weapons can currently fire. Russia has had weapons like these for a long time, and has been using them.

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The US has agreed to ship medium-range missile systems to Ukraine as part of a new weapons shipment. The missiles can precisely hit a target roughly 45 miles (72 kilometers) away. Above, the medium-range missile system being tested in Morocco last year.

The US is only giving Ukraine four of these systems so far, and has told Ukraine it cannot use the weapons to hit targets in Russia. Russia is upset about the US giving these weapons systems to Ukraine and has suggested that the move could bring a “third country” into the war.


For more background and earlier reports on the situation in Ukraine, see these articles:
Russia’s War on Ukraine – May, 2022 Archive
Russia’s War on Ukraine – April, 2022 Archive
Russia’s War on Ukraine – March, 2022 Archive
Companies Protest Russia’s War on Ukraine
Fighting Continues In Ukraine, Despite Peace Talks
Russia Continues Attack on Ukraine
Russia Invades Ukraine, World Leaders Condemn Attack
Russia ‘Recognizes’ Areas of Ukraine, Sends Soldiers
Will Russia Invade Ukraine? Talks Could Lower Tensions
Biden & Putin Meet Over Tense Ukraine Situation


Note: The situation in Ukraine is very serious. If the subject brings up questions or worries for you, be sure to discuss them with an adult you trust.

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