As hard as it is to believe, it’s been one year since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his army to cross an international border and invade the sovereign nation of Ukraine. It was Europe’s most extensive invasion since World War II. Every Ukrainian man, woman, and child will remember where they were and what happened to their homeland on February 24th, 2022.

Preamble

This satellite image, taken on January 22, 2022, shows the build-up of Russian military assets near the Ukrainian border. Image courtesy of war.ukraine.ua, the official website of Ukraine.

February 2022

It was the 24th day of the month. In an address to his nation, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his intent to launch a “special military operation” in neighboring Ukraine.  He said his goal was the “demilitarisation and denazification” of his neighbor. In a world-class act of blame-shifting, Putin stated, “all responsibility for possible bloodshed will be entirely on the conscience of the regime ruling on the territory of Ukraine.” As part of this speech, he said that Russia had no plans to occupy Ukraine and that the people of Ukraine would maintain the right to choose their leaders.

Mere minutes after ending his talk, explosions rang out in many of the largest cities in Ukraine, including the capital of Kyiv.

Putin also made this nonambiguous statement. Screenshot from YouTube and CBC News.

Russian forces crossed the border from all directions. Mercenaries from the Wagner group left Africa and made their way to Ukraine. Ukrainian President Zelensky was filmed walking brazenly through multiple areas of Kyiv. He obviously was not hiding. Zelensky had a message for Putin and the rest of the world. “I am here. We will not lay down any weapons”.