Among other objectives, the Russian military operation in the Donbass seeks to contain the "fundamental threats" prompted by the expansion of NATO towards Russian borders.
After months of diplomacy failing to resolve the crisis generated by Ukraine and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Russia decided to support the Donetsk and Luhansk republics through a special military operation in Donbass. The main events leading up to the ongoing military actions are presented below:
-- The Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) Head Denis Pushilin assured that captured Ukrainian military who signed an agreement not to participate in hostilities will be able to return with their families after the end of hostilities.
-- Russia restricts the use of its airspace for aircraft owned, leased, or in service by any person linked or registered in the United Kingdom in response to the economic sanctions imposed by the government of that country.
-- Russian troops took complete control of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant area in northern Ukraine. The Russian Defense Ministry reached an agreement with the soldiers of the defense battalion of the power plant to provide security to the reactors.
-- Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky indicated that his country needs "an anti-war coalition" and called on the Bucharest Nine to support its defense.
-- Ukrainian bombing in Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) kills two Civilians and injures 12 people.
-- The Russian Federal Air Transport Agency replied to the decision of the British authorities to restrict the flights of Russian airlines in the United Kingdom airspace.
-- EU imposed new economic sanctions against Moscow. "The measures will affect about 70 percent of the banking market and Russia’s major state-owned enterprises, including those in the defense and energy sector," its President Ursula von der Leyen stated.
-- Canadian authorities announced sanctions against Russia’s Central Bank and Finance Ministry and canceled export permits for this Eurasian country.
-- Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced new sanctions against Russia. The coercive policy comprises controlling exports of semiconductors used for military purposes and freezing Russian financial institutions’ funds.
-- Citizens in Kyiv take refuge in subway stations and bunkers before the possibility of airstrikes.
-- Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that his country will provide "non-lethal" military aid, medical supplies, and financial assistance to Ukraine in response to Russia’s military operation.
-- Two strong cruise missile explosions resounded on early Friday morning in downtown Kyiv.
-- The Ukrainian government announced that it regained control of Antonov Airport in Hostomel City. “We have achieved our first great victory in this war,” Interior Minister adviser Anton Gershchenko stated, recalling Rusia infiltrated the airport up to 200 parachutists.
-- Putin on Thursday authorized "a special military operation" in Donbass.
"Our plans do not include the occupation of Ukrainian territories. We are not going to impose anything on anyone by force," Putin said, noting that Russia's move is in response to "fundamental threats" of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) which has expanded to eastern Europe and brought its military infrastructure closer to Russian borders.
-- The Russian Armed Forces are destroying "military infrastructure, air defense facilities, military airfields, aviation of the Ukrainian Armed Forces" with high-precision weapons, not targeting Ukrainian cities.
-- Ukraine on Thursday severed diplomatic relations with Russia. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared martial law in the country following Russia's military operation.
-- The Russian Security Council held an extraordinary meeting, when the country's top officials supported the recognition of Lugansk and Donbass.
-- Putin signed two decrees recognizing Lugansk and Donbass as independent and sovereign states. He also inked the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between Russia and Lugansk and Donbass respectively.
-- Through a statement attributable to his spokesperson, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for "peaceful settlement" of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, in accordance with the Minsk Agreements, as endorsed by the Security Council in resolution 2202 (2015).
-- At the Security Council emergency meeting on Ukraine, China's permanent representative to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, called on all parties concerned to seek "reasonable solutions" to the Ukraine issue.
-- An explosion occurred close to "DPR government building." Local armed groups in eastern Ukraine ordered the evacuation of civilians to Russia, citing the danger of a possible military offensive.
-- The Ukrainian military claimed that local armed groups in eastern Ukraine launched shelling on the area controlled by government forces. Local armed groups in eastern Ukraine accused the Ukrainian government forces of first using heavy weapons to attack areas under their control. Tensions in eastern Ukraine continued to escalate.
-- The United States decided to deploy additional troops to Europe, including 1,000 troops to be repositioned to Romania and another 2,000 troops to be sent from the U.S. to Germany and Poland, in preparation for what it claimed to be an "imminent" Russian invasion of Ukraine.
-- U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the United States has delivered a written letter to Russia addressing Moscow's concerns amid escalating tensions on Ukraine's border.
-- The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said the first shipment of military aid from the United States arrived in Kiev.
-- The latest round of talks aimed at defusing tensions between Russia and the West within the framework of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe ended without a breakthrough as both sides warned of potential escalation.
-- The Russian Foreign Ministry demanded "legal guarantees" that NATO wouldn't expand eastward.
-- The Ukrainian parliament passed a constitutional amendment stating Ukraine's commitment to joining NATO.
-- The leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France announced a peace deal in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, which envisaged a ceasefire between Ukrainian government troops and local armed groups in eastern Ukraine.
-- The Ukrainian parliament renounced Ukraine's "non-aligned" status with the aim of deepening cooperation with NATO.
-- Then Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and local armed groups in eastern Ukraine signed a ceasefire protocol in Minsk, where envoys from the two warring sides as well as Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe held talks for a possible political solution to the crisis.
-- Unrest erupted in eastern Ukraine, where protesters seized government buildings, demanding a referendum on autonomy and closer ties with Russia.
-- Amid rising protests, Ukraine's parliament voted to dismiss then President Viktor Yanukovych and set early elections.
-- The Ukrainian government suspended the signing of partnership agreements with the European Union (EU) to avoid straining ties with Russia, triggering widespread protests, which soon snowballed into a violent nationwide movement against the authorities.