Russo-Ukrainian War

The Russo-Ukrainian War[68] (Ukrainian: російсько-українська війна, romanized: rosiisko-ukrainska viina) is an ongoing and protracted conflict between Russia and Ukraine that began in February 2014. The war has centred on the status of the Ukrainian regions of Crimea and Donbas.

Russo-Ukrainian war
Part of Post-Soviet conflicts and Ukrainian crisis

Military situation in October 2014
     Areas held by the insurgents and Russia
     Areas under the control of Ukraine
Date20 February 2014[lower-alpha 1] – ongoing
(7 years and 7 months)



Russian Federation


Commanders and leaders

Vladimir Putin
Sergey Shoygu
Valery Gerasimov
Igor Korobov
Aleksandr Vitko
Denis Berezovsky
Alexander Lentsov[31]

In Crimea
Sergey Aksyonov
Denis Pushilin
(since 2018)
Dmitry Trapeznikov
(August–September 2018)
Alexander Zakharchenko
Alexander Borodai
(May–August 2014)
Leonid Pasechnik
(since 2017)
Igor Plotnitsky
Valery Bolotov
(May–August 2014)
Volodymyr Zelensky
(since 2019)
Petro Poroshenko
Oleksandr Turchynov
(February–June 2014)
Viktor Yanukovych
(February 2014)
Yuriy Ilyin
Mykhailo Kutsyn
Viktor Muzhenko
Ruslan Khomchak
Pavlo Lebedyev
Ihor Tenyukh
Mykhailo Koval
Valeriy Heletey
Stepan Poltorak
Andriy Zagorodniuk
Andriy Taran
Serhiy Korniychuk
Units involved

Ground Forces

Airborne Troops[36][37][38][33]



Armed Forces

Ministry of Internal Affairs (militarized component)

Security Service

Volunteer units

Forces in Crimea:
25,000–30,000 (2014)[47][48]
Black Sea Fleet
11,000, including Marines
30+ warships, including Russian submarines B-871
4 squadrons of fighter aircraft, 18 planes each
Reinforcements: 16,000 (March 2014)[49][50][51][52] to 42,000[53]
In Donbas
4,000–5,000 (UK estimate, August 2014)[54] 7,500 (Ukrainian estimate, November 2014)[55] 12,000 (US estimate, November 2015)[56] 9,000 (Ukrainian estimate, June 2015)[57]
Armed Forces: 232,000
Casualties and losses
5,660 killed[58]
12,500–13,500 wounded[58]
4,431 killed[59][60][61]
9,500–10,500 wounded[58]
70 missing[62]
2,768 captured[63][64][65]
9,268 joined Russian forces after annexation[66]
300+ tanks[67]
3,350 civilians killed; over 7,000 wounded[58]
13,000–13,200 killed; 29,000–31,000 wounded overall[58]

Following the Euromaidan protests and the 22 February subsequent removal of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, and amidst Russia instigated wide unrest across southern and eastern Ukraine, Russian soldiers without insignias took control of strategic positions and infrastructure within the Ukrainian territory of Crimea. On 1 March 2014, the Federation Council of the Russian Federation unanimously adopted a resolution on petition of the President of Russia Vladimir Putin to use military force on territory of Ukraine.[69] The resolution was adopted several days later after the start of the Russian military operation on "Returning of Crimea". Russia then annexed Crimea after a widely criticised referendum which was organized by Russia after the capturing of the Crimean Parliament by the Russian "little green men" and in which the population of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea voted to join the Russian Federation, according to Russian official results (it was reported about 95.5% of participating voters in Crimea (turnout was 83%) were in favour of seceding from Ukraine and joining Russia).[12][70][71][72] In April, demonstrations by pro-Russian groups in the Donbas area of Ukraine escalated into a war between the Ukrainian government and the Russian-backed separatist forces of the self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics. In August, Russian military vehicles crossed the border in several locations of Donetsk Oblast.[34][73][74][75][76] The incursion by the Russian military was seen as responsible for the defeat of Ukrainian forces in early September.[77][78]

In November 2014, the Ukrainian military reported intensive movement of troops and equipment from Russia into the separatist-controlled parts of eastern Ukraine.[79] The Associated Press reported 40 unmarked military vehicles on the move in rebel-controlled areas.[80] The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission observed convoys of heavy weapons and tanks in DPR-controlled territory without insignia.[81] OSCE monitors further stated they observed vehicles transporting ammunition and soldiers' dead bodies crossing the Russian-Ukrainian border under the guise of humanitarian aid convoys.[82] As of early August 2015, OSCE observed over 21 such vehicles marked with the Russian military code for soldiers killed in action.[83] According to The Moscow Times, Russia has tried to intimidate and silence human rights workers discussing Russian soldiers' deaths in the conflict.[84] OSCE repeatedly reported that its observers were denied access to the areas controlled by "combined Russian-separatist forces".[85]

The majority of members of the international community[86][87][88] and organizations such as Amnesty International[89] have condemned Russia for its actions in post-revolutionary Ukraine, accusing it of breaking international law and violating Ukrainian sovereignty. Many countries implemented economic sanctions against Russia, Russian individuals or companies, to which Russia responded in kind.[90]

In October 2015, The Washington Post reported that Russia has redeployed some of its elite units from Ukraine to Syria to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.[91] In December 2015, Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin admitted that Russian military intelligence officers were operating in Ukraine, insisting though that they were not the same as regular troops.[92] As of February 2019, 7% of Ukraine's territory is under occupation.[93]