An attack against peace and democracy
A year ago, on 24 February 2022, Russian forces began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. So far, Russia’s war of aggression has been spreading death and destruction in Ukraine.
When Russian troops attacked Ukraine, there were widespread fears that the country would not be able to withstand the onslaught of the invaders for long and would fall. What has happened over the past year is precisely the opposite. The legendary bravery of the Ukrainian people stunned the world and resistance against the invader continues and is unwaveringly supported by the European Union.
Due to Russia’s barbaric attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure and civilian population, many Ukrainians have been forced to find shelter in basements without electricity, gas, or running water. In addition, schools all over the country have been heavily bombarded, stopping children from attending class.
The war's impact on everyday life
At first, when Russia’s bombs started to rain down on towns and cities all over Ukraine, civilians tried their hardest to maintain a semblance of normality. But a few months into the war, mundane experiences of everyday life, such as going to a local bakery, or simply taking children to school, became no longer possible amid the unrelenting violence.
Paying tribute to the courageous Ukrainians
Numbers and statistics are not enough to tell the full story. To better understand the situation on the ground we have collected testimonies from some of those bearing the brunt of Russia's atrocities.
- Read the story of Nina Biletska, who kept a diary during active hostilities in Chernihiv
- Living inside the school. Kharkiv in times of war
- Read the story of Viktor Tkachov, the owner of the bakery who managed to give some of the bread free of charge to hospitals, elderly people, and the military
- Tonya fled Odesa and found refuge in the EU. She recounts the support she received over the past year and shares her hopes of rebuilding Ukraine
When the war started, Yulia was 36 weeks pregnant. It was difficult for her to decide on evacuation at such a late stage of pregnancy. And she didn't want to leave her husband, who joined the territorial defence. She wanted him to hold their new-born baby in his arms at least once.
Standing with Ukraine for as long as it takes
From the first day of Russia’s unjustified and illegal war against Ukraine, the European Union and its allies have made the collective decision to support Ukraine. Since the war began, the European Union has provided Ukraine with €67 billion in economic, humanitarian and military support.
As such, assistance will continue to flow to Kyiv for the duration of the war and beyond.
Read more about EU assistance to Ukraine
On the other hand, the European Union will keep the pressure on the Russian government through a mixture of diplomacy and a strict set of sanctions.
Close political cooperation
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, travelled to Kyiv on 2 February 2023, accompanied by 15 Commissioners, for the first ever meeting between the EU’s College of Commissioners and the Ukrainian Government, sending a strong signal of the EU's unwavering commitment to help Ukraine.
The political cooperation with Ukraine is stronger than ever:
- with ongoing work on accession
- access to the Single Market
- synchronisation to the European electricity grid
- access to roaming
- protection of children
The war's impact in Europe and beyond
Russia's war of aggression has global effects, which are particularly impacting the most vulnerable. The damage done to Ukraine's infrastructure has had a perilous impact on food security for millions of people around the world.
The European Union is taking steps to ensure that global food security is restored through international cooperation. It is also mobilising humanitarian aid and support to the most affected farmers.
Preparing a brighter future for Ukraine
The EU's solidarity with Ukraine and its people will remain steadfast. We are deeply aware that at stake is not just the future of the Ukrainian people, but the future of the whole European continent. Freedom and democracy are at the very core of the European spirit, and on those we will never compromise.
We strongly believe Ukraine will come out victorious because justice is on its side. And when that day comes, the European Union will be there standing side by side with Ukraine to help the country get back on its feet and support its recovery and reconstruction.
We have the political will to hold the perpetrators of the crimes being committed accountable, including for the crime of aggression. While continuing to support the work of the International Criminal Court, we are ready to work with the international community on setting up an ad hoc international tribunal or a specialised ‘hybrid’ tribunal to investigate and prosecute Russia’s crimes of aggression. To help coordinate the collection of evidence, we will establish an International Centre for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression in Ukraine in The Hague.