The before and after images that show the true extent of the devastation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, and the impact has been devastating

William Mata
Saturday 25 February 2023 09:42 GMT
Satellite imagery captures key areas of Ukraine before and after Russian invasion

Ukraine is paying tribute to fallen loved ones as we reach the anniversary of Russia’s invasion – but President Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed his country will fight on to victory.

Russia, having originally predicted what it calls a ‘special military operation’ would be finished in a matter of weeks, is now locked in a battle of attrition with Kyiv’s forces, with fighting concentrated in the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.

Mr Zelensky has said of the start of the invasion: “[It was] the longest day of our lives. The most difficult day in our recent history. We woke up early and haven't slept since.”

These before and after pictures show the devastation on cities that have been shelled and bombed as part of the Russian offensive.

St Basil’s Monestary, Mykilske, Donesk region


The imperious St Basil's Monastery is still standing but the surrounding Mykilske village has been reduced to burnt out rubble by Russian fire.

These photos show the difference between the area in February, when the invasion started, and June 2022.

Donesk region, in eastern Ukraine, has been one of the key areas of battle – with Russian President Vladimir Putin keen to gain control of both Donetsk and the neighbouring region of Luhansk.

Soledar and Bakhmutske villages, Donesk region


Comparison photos from August 2022 to January 2023 show a school and surrounding buildings have been destroyed in attacks.

Bakhmutske and Soledar are two villages also in Donesk region in Ukraine’s east and Russia claimed capturing them in January. The nearby city of Bakhmut is a strategic point as it is where the Ukraine army is supplied with weapons.

“The armed forces of the Russian Federation freed Bakhmutske,” a Telegram account loyal to the Kremlin wrote as of January 9.



Destroyed buildings and craters can be seen in January 2023 which were not there when the original photo was taken in August 2022.

The photo shows the east of the key city which has been the centre of a fierce battle.

Kherson bridge


The before and after shows the destruction of the Darivka bridge near Kherson.

There has been a bitter battle for the city in southern central Ukraine, which had been taken by the Russian army but has now been won back.

Kershon is one of four regions that Russia have claimed to have now taken. Luhansk, Donetsk, and Zaporizhzhia residents were also said to have overwhelmingly voted in a referendum to leave Ukraine. The vote was widely reported to have been a sham.

Snake Island


The burning pier and island could be seen from above in Snake, or Zmiinyi Island.

The strategic land was one of the first pieces of land invaded by Russia, who quickly took it in February 2022.

However, Ukraine took the island back in June - in what Russia described as a show of “goodwill”.



The coastal city was almost unrecognisable in May 2022 from how it looked before the war.

Mariupol was bombarded for more than 80 days by Russian fire, with even a maternity hospital being bombed. An estimated 350,000 have now left the city.

The city is now under Russian control.



The before and after effects of an airstrike on the Grande Pettine Hotel.

Odessa is a coastal city in the south west, firmly in the control of the Ukraine government.

However, it has not been out of the firing line during Russia’s offensive.



Bucha, outside Kyiv, faced the brutality of a Russian assault and occupation – with mass graves discovered and stories of torture from residents after the area was liberated by Ukrainian forces at the end of March 2022.

Bucha remains under Ukrainian control.

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