Death, destruction, weapons and war crimes: the shocking numbers of the year of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine

On February 24, 2022, Vladimir Putin gave the order to invade Ukraine (Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS) (SPUTNIK/)

During the second half of 2021, Ukraine alerted the world that Vladimir Putin was planning a full-scale invasion. Despite the fact that Russian troops began to mobilize near the border, Moscow denied these allegations. Complaints that were taken seriously by some countries, but not so much by others. Finally, on February 24, 2022, the head of the Kremlin gave the order to invade Ukraine.

Putin aspired to launch a short and effective invasion. At that time, the difference between the military power of Russia and that of Ukraine was abysmal. In addition to being the second world military power, Moscow far exceeded the Ukrainian forces both in number of troops, and in quantity and quality of weapons. That made the former KGB agent foresee that his incursion into the neighboring country would only last a few weeks -perhaps a few months-.

But his calculations failed him. The Russian president did not take into account the enormous fighting spirit that would emerge in the Ukrainian military – and civilians. Neither did he imagine the forceful military, financial and humanitarian assistance that kyiv would receive from the international community.

This Friday, February 24, marks one year since the start of the war. In these 12 months of war, Putin has failed to achieve his goals and is facing more and more obstacles in his attempt to overthrow President Volodimir Zelensky and, in his place, install a Russian satellite government.

The brutal Russian invasion only left thousands dead, millions of refugees and displaced persons, and destruction.

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According to the UN Human Rights Office, Since the beginning of the war, 7,110 civilians have been killed in Ukraine and another 11,547 have been wounded. However, the actual number of victims is believed to be “considerably higher”.

Likewise, the exodus of Ukrainians was the fastest and largest in Europe since World War II. According to data updated by UNHCR up to January 31, 18,136,866 people left the Ukrainian territory. That is, more than 44.2% of the population -estimated at almost 41 million in 2021-. The main countries receiving refugees are Poland (9,329,169); Hungary (2,151,419); Romania (1,903,853); Slovakia (1,127,957); Moldova (755,368) and Belarus (16,705).

About 3 million went to Russia. However, many of them, according to Ukraine, were sent against their will by the invading troops. kyiv further argues that more than 14,000 Ukrainian children were forced to be adopted in Russia.

The number of internally displaced persons, meanwhile, stands at around 5.3 million.

On February 1, the General Prosecutor of Ukraine, andriy kostininformed that the regional authorities have registered more than 65,000 war crimes perpetrated by Russian troops. That figure, however, is estimated to be much higher.

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Rape, torture, bombing of hospitals, kidnapping of children and the risk of a nuclear disaster are some of the many war crimes committed by Putin’s forces in Ukraine.

Last December, the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU) reported that between February 24 and October 21, it had documented 86 cases of sexual violence, most by Russian forces, including rape, gang rape, forced nudity, and forced nudity in public in various regions of the country and in a Russian prison. Women, including the elderly, and girls made up the majority of reported victims.

For his part, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported more than 700 attacks against health facilities, personnel and transport vehicles, in which more than 200 people were killed and injured. Until November 29 of last year, the Ministry of Health reported that “144 medical infrastructure objects” had been destroyed and another 1,013 damaged.

Putin’s troops also damaged and destroyed educational facilities. According to a situation report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science reported that more than 300 educational centers have been destroyed since the war began.

Between homes, schools and hospitals, more than 75,000 buildings were reduced to rubble, according to Kostin. Between February and July of last year, Human Rights Watch documented the use of cluster munitions in at least 10 of Ukraine’s 24 regions, including Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, and Donetsk.

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Since the start of the invasion, Putin has hinted on more than one occasion about the possibility of carrying out attacks with nuclear bombs, which has caused great concern worldwide. Although so far they have not used such weapons, Russian troops have taken control of the main nuclear power plants in Ukraine, such as the one in Zaporizhia, the largest in Europe. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has tried to mediate to prevent a nuclear catastrophe in that area.

In these 12 months of war, it is estimated that foreign countries and international organizations – with the US and NATO countries at the forefront – They sent kyiv aid worth more than 150.8 billion dollars, including military, humanitarian and financial assistance.

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In the military area, the largest contributor is the United States, with 29.3 billion dollars. They are followed by the European Union (12 billion), Germany (3 billion), the United Kingdom (2.6 billion), Canada (1.3 billion) and Australia (250 million).

From the beginning and up to the present day, President Zelensky stressed the importance of sending weapons to counter the offensives of the Russian troops. Germany and the United States recently approved the shipment of the Leopard 2 and Abrams tanks, highly requested by kyiv, which will be delivered in the coming weeks. However, in these months the West contributed other combat vehicles such as Stryker (USA), Bradley (USA), Challenger 2 (United Kingdom), Marder (Germany), and AMX 10-RC (France). Poland and the Czech Republic also delivered more than 200 T-72M1s.

The main drones used by the Ukrainian forces are the Switchblade (USA) and the Bayraktar TB2 (Turkey).

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Among the air defense systems, meanwhile, stand out the S-300 (Slovakia), Patriot (USA, Germany and the Netherlands), and the STARStreak MANPADS (UK).

Likewise, local forces also received thousands of NLAW (UK) and Javelin (USA) anti-tank missiles. While the main rocket launchers provided by the West are the Himars (USA), MLRS (UK), and the Stinger (USA and Germany).

The supply of weapons from the West proved vital to the defensive campaign of the Ukrainian troops. According to data from Ministry of Defence ukrainian, The number of fallen Russian soldiers – between dead and wounded – has already exceeded the 100,000 barrier.

The exact figure reported by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry is 141,260 fallen Russian soldiers. But the list of losses of the Russian Army also includes the destruction of 6,520 APV tanks, 5,187 armored vehicles, 2,322 artillery systems, 2,013 drones, 871 cruise missiles, 467 rocket launchers, 298 combat aircraft, 287 helicopters, 241 anti-aircraft defense systems, 221 special equipment, and 18 boats.

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In addition to military, economic and humanitarian assistance, the Western powers also applied heavy sanctions to isolate the Putin regime. Australia, Canada, the European Union (EU), France, Japan, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States imposed the sanctions first over Russia’s recognition of the breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, and then over its invasion of Ukraine. Since then, sanctions have been applied against 8,984 individuals, 1,811 entities, 92 vessels, and 14 aircraft.

Infographics: Marcelo Regalado

Keep reading:

A year of Russian invasion in Ukraine: a month-by-month timeline of a war that shakes the world