The Ukraine-Russia war conflict is explained in maps

Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It is the second-largest nation by area in Europe after Russia. The territory of contemporary Ukraine was a key center of East Slavic culture – Kievan Rus.

As a result of a series of historical processes, one part of the territory of Kievan Rus fell under the influence of Poland and Lithuania, and another formed from Golden Horde territory conquered after the Mongol invasion. Later first part became Ukraine, the second – Russia.

Ukraine received borders similar to today’s borders as a result of the formation of the Soviet Union in 1922 on the territory of the former Russian Empire.

The Early Days of the Soviet Union mapped
The Early Days of the USSR

After World War II, parts of the former territories of Poland, Romania, and Czechoslovakia were annexed by the Soviet Union to Ukraine.

Ukrainian territorial growth
The map of territorial evolution of Ukraine. Source:

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, relations between the former fraternal nations deteriorated.

In 2014, Russia occupied Crimea, and in 2022 Russia has undertaken aggression on Ukraine by air, land, and sea. Why have Russian troops attacked Ukraine?

Before beginning the invasion, Vladimir Putin claimed Russian-backed pro-Russian separatist-held areas were a constant threat from modern Ukraine.

Many of Vladimir Putin’s statements were irrational and untrue. He declared he intended to protect people exposed to genocide and desire for the “demilitarization and de-Nazification” of Ukraine. In reality, there has been no genocide in democratic Ukraine led by a Jewish president.

Moreover, Vladimir Putin was concerned about the talks about Ukraine joining NATO, which, according to Vladimir Putin, poses a threat to Russia’s national security.

After the USSR collapsed, NATO extended eastward, finally taking in most of the European countries that had been in the Communist sphere (Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Czechia), including the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, once parts of the USSR.

The map below shows NATO enlargement stages.

NATO enlargement stages mapped

According to Putin, NATO countries have violated verbal agreements by accepting the former Baltic republics into NATO.

As a result, NATO moved hundreds of miles closer to Moscow, literally bordering Russia. And in 2008, it declared that it intended to enroll in Ukraine, though that is nonetheless seen as a far-off prospect. In the Russian media, it was presented as a threat to national security.

Nazi propaganda justified the need to occupy Czechoslovakia before WW2
“A small state threatening Germany” – how Nazi propaganda justified the need to occupy Czechoslovakia before Second World War.

Vladimir Putin has also demanded that Ukraine and Belarus are fundamental territories of Russia, historically and culturally.

All of this was used as an argument for attacking Ukraine.

Late in 2021, Russia began to pull military forces to the border, constantly denying it would attack. The attack was preceded by recognizing the sovereignty of the eastern regions of Ukraine, occupied by pro-Russian forces since 2015.

Ukrainian airports and military bases were hit by Russians first, then troops and tanks moved into Ukraine from Russia, occupied in 2014 Crimea, and ally Belarus. The Russian invasion amounts to Europe’s most significant ground war conflict since World War II.

Within days, Russian troops occupied the northern and eastern lands of Ukraine and the Kherson Oblast portion of the Crimean peninsula. The map below created by Nathan Ruser shows the chronology of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Chronology of Russia's invasion of Ukraine mapped
Actions against Russian aggression

Most countries of the world have condemned Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

Sanctions against Russia

141 countries voted in favor of a United Nations General Assembly motion condemning the aggression against Ukraine, while just 5–Belarus, Eritrea, North Korea, Russia, and Syria–opposed it. According to the results of this vote and GDP data, Reddit user E2262V created the map that shows how nations voted on the UN motion to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but scaled according to GDP.

How did global GDP vote on the UN motion to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine mapped

Developed nations bring forward severe economic sanctions against Russia.

According to the BBC, Russian airlines face almost total airspace blockade to the West after a European Union official said most European nations set flight bans. Below is the Russia no-fly map created by Reddit user jackdawjones.

Russia no fly world map

Moreover, West is going to cut some Russian banks off from Swift. The map below illustrates the countries going to cut off Russian banks from Swift.

The countries about to cut off Russian banks from Swift

In the meantime, mass protests broke out in all Russian cities against the hostilities in Ukraine because most Russians perceive Ukrainians as brotherly people.

Protests in Russia against

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