Vladimir Putin started the invasion of his southwestern neighbour on February 24, 2022.
He told the Russian people his goal was to “demilitarise and de-Nazify Ukraine”.
Putin’s declared aim was to protect people subjected to what he called eight years of bullying and genocide by Ukraine’s government.
But this escalation came after years of rhetoric claiming that Ukraine rightfully belonged to Russia.
Putin also claimed the invasion was necessary to protect Russia from the possibility of Ukraine joining the Western defensive alliance NATO.