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One year of war in Ukraine: The startling images that show the brutality of Russia’s invasion

Ukraine – a year of war: The Independent presents a selection of the most striking images of the conflict

Alex Hickson
Thursday 23 February 2023 19:42 GMT
Destruction and defiance: Inside Putin’s year-long war on Ukraine
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The 12 months of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – which was launched on 24 February 2022 –has left a trail of death and destruction. The war has touched the daily lives of everyone across the country and the economic and diplomatic reprecussions have been felt around the world.

Here, The Independent, lays out some of the most significiant images charting year of war. From Russia’s initial failed attempt to take control of Kyiv and the surrounding area; through Moscow taking control of a swathe of territory in the south and east of the country; the counter attack from Ukraine’s forces to take parts of that territory back and up to the current war of attrition in eastern regions.

24 February, 2022 (Getty)

Inhabitants of Kyiv leave the city following pre-offensive missile strikes of the Russian armed forces and Belarus.

24 February, 2022 (Reuters)

People wait in a traffic jam as they flee Kharkiv in northeast Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin authorised a military operation in eastern Ukraine.

24 February, 2022 (Anadolu Agency/Getty)

A wounded woman is seen as airstrike damages an apartment complex outside of Kharkiv.

25 February, 2022 (AP)

Natali Sevriukova is overcome with emotion as she stands outside her destroyed apartment building following a rocket attack in Kyiv.

25 February, 2022 (Reuters)

Servicemen of the Ukrainian National Guard take positions in central Kyiv, after Russia launched its invasion

26 February, 2022 (Reuters)

People take cover as an air-raid siren sounds, near an apartment building damaged by recent shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine.

1 March, 2022 (AFP/Getty)

Emergencies personnel carry the body out of the damaged local city hall of Kharkiv, destroyed as a result of Russian shelling.

4 March, 2022 (AFP/Getty)

A woman breaks down after shelling in the town of Irpin, outside Kyiv.

4 March, 2022 (AFP/Getty)

People remove personal belongings from a burning house after a Russian attack in Irpin.

4 March, 2022 (AFP/Getty)

Destroyed Russian armored vehicles line the street in the town of Bucha, outside Kyiv – where Russian troops have been accused of a brutal occupation before it was freed by Ukrainian forces.

7 March, 2022 (EPA)

People cross a destroyed bridge as they flee from Irpin.

7 March, 2022 (AP)

Ukrainian emergency personnel and police officers evacuate injured pregnant woman Iryna Kalinina, 32, from a maternity hospital that was damaged by a Russian airstrike in Mariupol, southern Ukraine. The port city faced a long seige by Russian forces.

9 March, 2022 (Reuters)

Olga hugs her boyfriend Vlodomyr as they say goodbye prior to Vlodomyr’s deployment closer to the front line, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at the train station in Lviv, western Ukraine.

12 March, 2022 (Getty)

People queue to board a train back to Ukraine across the border from Hungary in Zahony.

14 March, 2022 (Reuters)

Rescuers work to get a woman out of a residential building that was struck, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv.

27 March, 2022 (Reuters)

First responders work at a site of fuel storage facilities hit by cruise missiles in Lviv, Ukraine.

3 April, 2022 (Reuters)

An aerial view shows residential buildings that were damaged in Mariupol.

4 April, 2022 (AFP/Getty)

Ukainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, centre, speaks to the press in Bucha, outside Kyiv, after it was liberated by Ukrainian forces.

5 April, 2022 (Reuters)

A woman carries her cat as she walks past buildings that were destroyed by Russian shelling, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine in the town of Borodyanka, outside Kyiv.

12 April 2022 (EPA)

A picture taken in Mariupol showing the destruction inside the destroyed Drama Theatre. The theatre was hit by missiles, with Ukraine saying hundreds of those using the building for shelter were left dead. Russia denied attacking the building, blaming Kyiv, but human rights organisations have been clear it was a Russian attack.

18 April, 2022 (Getty)

Destroyed houses are seen next to heavily damaged apartment buildings in Irpin.

21 April, 2022 (Getty)

In this drone image, a grave digger prepares the ground for a funeral at a cemetery in Irpin. Mass graves have been found across the outskirts of Kyiv in towns like Irpin and Bucha – with Russia accused of war crimes in their push to take the area at the start of the war. The graves weer discovered by Ukrainian troops as they pushed Russian forces back.

25 April, 2022 (Getty)

Local resident Oksana surveys the destroyed second floor of her multi-generational home while searching for salvageable items in Hostomel, outside Kyiv.

29 April, 2022 (Getty)

A young refugee child from eastern Ukraine grins as she walks on the arms of a group of traditionally-dressed local children as they play Ukrainian children's games in Lviv, western Ukraine.

6 May, 2022 (Getty)

Oksana Balandina poses for a portrait in her hospital room where she continues to receive treatment and therapy in Lviv.

27 May, 2022 (Getty)

Ukrainian boys Andrii, aged 12 and his friend Valentyn 6, pose as theyplay at being soldiers and man their makeshift checkpoint in their village next to a school crossing. The two boys have become well known to passing motorists in Stoyanka, outside Kyiv.

31 May, 2022 (AP)

Nila Zelinska holds her granddaughter's doll found in her destroyed house in Potashnya on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine.

5 June, 2022 (AFP/Getty)

An eldery woman sits in front of destroyed houses after a missile strike, which killed an old woman, in the city of Druzhkivka (also written Druzhkovka) in the eastern Ukrainian area of the Donbas. The Donbas contains the industrial heartland of Ukraine, the two regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. One of the major aims of Vladimir Putin’s invasion is to take control of the Donbas.

10 June, 2022 (Getty)

A ballet dancer is seen backstage during the performance of Giselle in Lviv, Ukraine. Citizens have tried their best to continue activites that take their minds of the realities of the war.

11 June, 2022 (Reuters)

A Ukrainian serviceman looks on from inside a tank at a position in Donetsk region.

15 June, 2022 (Getty)

A girl swings on a swing next to a shelled apartment building in Borodianka, outside Kyiv.

30 June, 2022 (Reuters)

The funeral of Volodymyr Kochetov, 46, who was recently returned having killed in a battle against Russian troops in eastern Ukraine. The funeral was held in the village of Babyntsi, outside Ukraine.

6 July, 2022 (Getty)

Participants dance around the main bonfire as it is lit at the Shypit festival in the Carpathian Mountains near Podobovets, western Ukraine. By the sumer of last year, the threat from Russian troops had lessened in the west of the country as the fighting concentrated on the south and east.

21 July, 2022 (Reuters)

Ukrainian service members fire a shell from a M777 Howitzer at a front line, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine.

22 July, 2022 (Reuters)

A destroyed Russian tank is seen in a back garden in the village of Velyka Dymerka, outside Kyiv.

10 August, 2022 (AFP/Getty)

Ukranian soldiers take rest away from the frontline in the Donbas in eastern Ukraine.

17 August, 2022 (Getty)

Burnt cars with painted sunflowers are seen in Irpin, Ukraine, some months after Russian troops were forced out.

18 August, 2022 (Getty)

Piles of grain are seen on board the Osprey S vessel anchored in the Marmara sea during an inspection by representatives working with the joint inspection team in Istanbul, Turkey. Grain ships finally left port in Odessa, Ukraine at the start of August after the end of a weeks-long blockade by Russia.

1 September, 2022 (AP)

Cadets practice with gas masks during a lesson in a bomb shelter on the first day of school at a cadet academy in Kyiv.

7 September, 2022 (Reuters)

A service member of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic. The region and neighbouring Luhansk has been annexed illegally from Ukraine by Russia

21 September, 2022 (EPA)

Russian policemen move in to detain participants of an unauthorised protest in St Petersburg against an increase in Russian troops to Ukraine, ordered by Vladimir Putin. Families did not want their sons being sent to the frontlines.

25 September, 2022 (AFP/Getty)

This image shows empty graves after exhumation of bodies in the mass grave created during the Russian's occupation in Izyum, near Kharkiv, another area that had been held by the Russians until Ukrainian forces pushed them out.

27 September, 2022 (EPA)

Russian conscripted men say goodbye to relatives at a recruiting office during a military mobilisation in Moscow.

8 October, 2022 (AFP/Getty)

Black smoke billows from a fire on the Kerch bridge that links Crimea – illegally annexed by Moscow from Ukraine in 2014 – to Russia, after a truck exploded.

10 October, 2022 (Reuters)

A medical worker walks near a burned car after Russian military strike, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in central Kyiv. Russian missile barrages have been a constant feature of the war.

17 October, 2022 (Reuters)

A Ukrainian serviceman takes cover as an air-raid siren sounds during a Russian drone strike, which local authorities consider to be Iranian-made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) Shahed-136, in Kyiv.

21 October, 2022 (Getty)

At the Bez Obmezhen Rehabilitation and Prosthetic center Olexandr Savchenko, 34, a double amputee learns to walk after a recent operation as Mariia Yeremenko, psychical therapist, assists with his posture in Kyiv, Ukraine. Many tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers have been injured in the fighting across the country.

25 October, 2022 (EPA)

Sergiy and Lina present her destroyed living room at the recaptured village of Osokorivka, Ukraine in Kherson region in southern Ukraine. The city of Kherson was abandoned by Russian forces in November as they retreated across the Dnieper river.

3 November, 2022 (EPA)

A woman reacts as she smells on a loaf of bread distributed in a village close to frontline in the southern city of Mykolaiv.

8 November, 2022 (AFP/Getty)

A Ukrainian soldier of an artillery unit fires towards Russian positions outside Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine. The Donetsk city has been at the centre of intense fighting for months that is continuing – with Russia wanting control of the city as a stepping stone into the wider Donestsk region.

13 November, 2022 (AFP/Getty)

A man hugs a Ukrainian soldier as local residents gather to celebrate the liberation of Kherson.

13 November, 2022 (AP)

Ukrainian family members reunite for the first time since Russian troops withdrew from the Kherson region in the village of Tsentralne, southern Ukraine.

29 November, 2022 (Reuters)

A view shows remains of the artillery shells used by Russian troops for military strikes of the city and collected by sappers in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

3 December, 2022 (EPA)

Residents of the Moscow region take part in a military training at the military-patriotic club 'Yaropolk' in Krasnogorsk.

21 December, 2022 (Reuters)

Then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi receives an Ukrainian flag from Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky, as US Vice President Kamala Harris looks on, during a joint meeting of the US Congress to hear Mr Zelensky speak.

24 December, 2022 (Reuters)

Ukrainian servicemen with the Dnipro-1 Special Tasks Patrol Police regiment Raphael Karapitian 45 and Roman Kapinus 39, walks with with weapons beside a decorated Christmas tree in the trenches on the frontline, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, on Christmas Eve in Bakhmut, Ukraine.

4 January, 2023 (AP)

A woman transporting the coffin holding the body of her son, a soldier who was killed in fighting with Russians, sits in a boat crossing the Siverskyi Donets River near Staryi Saltiv, Kharkiv region.

14 January, 2023 (Reuters)

People dance to music as they take shelter inside a metro station during massive Russian missile attacks in Kyiv.

15 January, 2023 (Getty)

Emergency workers search the remains of a residential building that was struck by a Russian missile in Dnipro, a city on the Dnieper River.

26 January, 2023 (Getty)

A woman waves as she stands in a crater following the Russian missile attacks the village of Hlevakha, outside Kyiv.

10 February, 2023 (EPA)

People take shelter in a subway station during an air raid alert in Kyiv.

12 February, 2023 (Getty)

Husband and wife Kolya and Olya, 57, walk through a snowstorm as the sound of artillery booms around them in Chasiv Yar, Ukraine in the eastern Donbas.

17 February, 2023 (EPA)

Ukrainian serviceman fires a mortar towards Russian positions, at an undisclosed location, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine. Fierce fighting continues across the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, with Russia sending thousands more troops to the frontlines. Russia is aiming to break what has become a war of yards, as Ukraine calls for more Western weapons to defend its land and then push forward with a counter offensive.

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