On 24 February 2022, Russia launched a large-scale invasion of Ukraine, its neighbor to the southwest, marking the largest escalation of the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian War that began in 2014.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, claiming that post-1997 enlargement of NATO was a security threat, demanded that Ukraine be legally prohibited from joining the military alliance, and presented irredentist views.
A prolonged Russian military build-up and crisis starting in early 2021 preceded the invasion. Days prior to the invasion, Russia recognized two self-proclaimed states within Ukraine’s borders: the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic.
On 21 February, the Russian Armed Forces entered the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, and on 22 February, the Russian Federation Council unanimously authorized Putin to use military force outside Russia.
Here are some of the most heartbreaking videos and photos from the Ukraine War Zone.