One Week After Russia Invaded Ukraine, Here's What You Need to Know Now

On Thursday February 24, Russia launched the biggest attack on another European nation since World War Two. Since then, 1 million have fled and Russian nuclear forces are on high alert.
Dipo Faloyin
London, GB

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a major military assault on Ukraine and threatened “instant” retaliation to any country that tried to interfere.

What's happened?

Russia launched a full invasion of Ukraine by land, air and sea in the early hours of last Thursday morning. It was the biggest attack by one country against another in Europe since World War Two.


Over the last week, Moscow has bombarded military installations, as well as Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, and Kharkiv, it’s second city. But, as of yet, the Russian military offensive hasn’t been as rapid as it had expected.

Read more: Western Military Observers Shocked at How Badly Russia’s Military Is Doing

How many people have died?

That depends on who you ask. 

The Ukraine State Emergency Service has said that over 2,000 Ukrainians have died, while the UN has the number closer to 500, though it cautions the actual number will be much higher. 

Russia admitted on Wednesday that around 500 Russian soldiers have died and 1,597 injured. President Zelenskyy, however, has claimed that nearly 9,000 Russian soldiers have been killed. Analysts believe the true casualty numbers will be higher than Moscow’s officially declared tally, which itself is already higher than the number of US troops killed in Afghanistan between 2001-2007.

Read more: These Powerful Photos Show the Start of Russia's Invasion of Ukraine

How many people have fled?

According to the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), 1 million refugees have fled Ukraine in just a week. 

“I have worked in refugee emergencies for almost 40 years, and rarely have I seen an exodus as rapid as this one,” the UNHCR’s commissioner, Filippo Grandi, said. “Hour by hour, minute by minute, more people are fleeing the terrifying reality of violence. Countless have been displaced inside the country.


And unless there is an immediate end to the conflict, millions more are likely to be forced to flee Ukraine.”

Read more: ‘They Hit Me’: African Nationals Have Been Assaulted Trying to Escape Ukraine.

Have any cities fallen?

Russia has managed to capture just one major city so far. 

The southern city of Kherson fell on Wednesday after heavy bombardment targeted civilian areas.

Read more: Weapons, Intel, and Insurgency: Here’s What the US Is Offering Ukraine

What's the international response been?

NATO has remained steadfast in its commitment not to engage with Russia militarily — though that doesn’t equate to doing anything. The international community has come together to implement a series of unprecedented economic sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government, which  have brought about the near-collapse of the ruble. The sanctions include banning some Russian banks from the SWIFT payment system and restricting the Russian central bank from using its $640 billion of foreign exchange and gold reserves to prop up its currency. 


Oil companies such as BP and Shell have also left the country. As a result, Russia’s currency has lost over 20 percent of its value and experts believe things could get a lot worse once the country eventually reopens its shuttered stock exchange. Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich announced on Wednesday that he plans to sell the club, no doubt fearing that his assets might soon be the target of international sanctions. 

Meanwhile, sporting institutions have also looked to punish Russian-back associations. FIFA has kicked Russia out of the qualifiers for the World Cup, while Russian and Belarusian athletes have been kicked out of the upcoming Beijing Paralympics. Formula 1 has also terminated its contract with the Russian GP. 

Read more: The Ruble Has Collapsed. Here’s What It Means for Russia.

What’s Russia's response been?

Russia has so far refused to change course. If anything, it has escalated its invasion. 

Three days ago, in response to the economic sanctions, Putin gathered his most senior military officials and put Russian nuclear forces on high alert, while calling the West the ‘empire of lies’. 

Read more: Video Shows Russia Bombing a TV Tower in the Middle of Kyiv

How is Ukraine repelling the invasion?


Ukraine has been well-armed by NATO forces, and it has utilised its resources and home advantage extremely well, such as by dispersing military and ambushing Russian forces as they advance, or denying Russians access to crucial bridges, has been effective in disrupting Russian President Vladimir Putin’s initial military plan.

But most impressive has been the leadership of President Zelenskyy – who has remained in Kyiv despite their being a bounty on his head – and the response of the Ukrainian people, who have literally stopped Russian tanks with their bare hands. 

But Russia’s extremely well-equipped military, which includes many long-range, high-tech missiles, gives it a big advantage. 

Read more: Russia Did Not Expect Ukraine to Fight This Hard, Western Officials Say