Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” on February 24, 2022, at 5am, to conquer Ukraine. The Kremlin strongman hoped to take the capital Kyiv in a few days and overthrow President Volodymyr Zelensky, without the West reacting. Far from being welcomed as liberators, the Russian soldiers were rapidly stopped and repelled. What was supposed to be a ‘blitzkrieg’ has turned into brutal trench warfare. Whole cities have been destroyed and millions of Ukrainians are now refugees. According to varying casualty tolls, tens or even hundreds of thousands of people have been killed or wounded on both sides. FRANCE 24 looks back at this brutal conflict.