Russo-Ukrainian War

The Russo-Ukrainian War is an ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, which began in February 2014. Following Ukraine's Revolution of Dignity, Russia occupied and annexed Crimea from Ukraine and supported pro-Russian separatists fighting the Ukrainian military in the Donbas war. The first eight years of conflict also included naval incidents, cyberwarfare, and heightened political tensions. In February 2022, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine and began occupying more of the country. In early 2014, the Euromaidan protests led to the Revolution of Dignity and the ousting of Ukraine's pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych. Shortly after, pro-Russian unrest erupted in eastern and southern Ukraine, while unmarked Russian troops occupied Crimea. Russia soon annexed Crimea after a highly disputed referendum. In April 2014, Russian-backed militants seized towns in Ukraine's eastern Donbas region and proclaimed the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and the Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) as independent states, starting the Donbas war. The separatists received considerable but covert support from Russia, and Ukrainian attempts to fully retake separatist-held areas failed. Although Russia denied involvement, Russian troops took part in the fighting. In February 2015, Russia and Ukraine signed the Minsk II agreements to end the conflict, but they were never fully implemented in the years that followed. The Donbas war settled into a violent but static conflict between Ukraine and the Russian and separatist forces, with many brief ceasefires but no lasting peace and few changes in territorial control. Beginning in 2021, Russia built up a large military presence near its border with Ukraine, including within neighbouring Belarus. Russian officials repeatedly denied plans to attack Ukraine. Russian president Vladimir Putin expressed irredentist views and denied Ukraine's right to exist. He criticized the enlargement of NATO and demanded that Ukraine be barred from ever joining the military alliance. Russia recognized the DPR and LPR as independent states. On 24 February 2022, Putin announced a "special military operation" to "demilitarize and denazify" Ukraine, claiming Russia had no plans to occupy the country. The Russian invasion that followed was internationally condemned; many countries imposed sanctions against Russia and increased existing sanctions. In the face of fierce resistance, Russia abandoned an attempt to take Kyiv in early April. From August, Ukrainian forces began recapturing territories in the north-east and south. In late September, Russia declared the annexation of four partially-occupied regions, which was internationally condemned. Russia spent the winter conducting inconclusive offensives in the Donbas. In spring 2023, Russia dug into positions ahead of another Ukrainian counteroffensive, which failed to gain significant ground. The war has resulted in a refugee crisis and tens of thousands of deaths.

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